LOS ANGELES — Filmmaker Sean Penn called for a boycott of the Academy Awards Sunday night if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy isn't on the program.
Penn, who has taken home two Oscars for Best Actor, said he'd publicly "smelt" his awards if Zelenskyy isn't given the opportunity to speak at the awards show.
“Now, it is my understanding that a decision has been made not to do it," Penn told CNN's Jim Acosta, adding that he wasn't commenting on whether or not Zelenskyy wanted to speak at the Oscars. "If the academy has elected not … to pursue the leadership in Ukraine, who are taking bullets and bombs for us, along with the Ukrainian children that they are trying to protect, then I think every single one of those people, and every bit of that decision, will have been the most obscene moment in all of Hollywood history,” he told CNN’s Jim Acosta.
Penn said he hopes that isn't the case -- but if it is, he called for a boycott and vowed to "smelt (my awards) in public".
Penn has taken home best actor awards for the films "Mystic River" (2003) and "Milk" (2008).
On "The Drew Barrymore Show" earlier this week, Oscars co-host Amy Schumer said she'd pitched an idea to have Zelenskyy on the show via recorded message or satellite. She implied it was unlikely to happen: "I am not afraid to go there, but it’s not me producing the Oscars."
Penn, who has been involved in numerous humanitarian and anti-war efforts over the years, has been in Europe filming a documentary about Russia's invasion. Ukrainian officials said in February that Penn attended press briefings, met with Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk and spoke to journalists and military personnel.
He was also there in late November to work on the project, which is being produced by VICE Studios. Photographs at the time showed him visiting the frontlines of the Ukrainian Armed Forces near the Donetsk region.
Penn also founded the non-profit disaster relief organization CORE in response to the 2010 earthquakes in Haiti, chronicled in the documentary “Citizen Penn.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.