Well, darn, it looks as if Sean Penn and Ben Stiller will have to cancel all the trips they were planning to make to Russia during the ongoing war. Per Variety, the two actors — who have both publicly expressed their support for Ukraine — are among 25 U.S. citizens who have been permanently banned from Russia.
Penn, who shot a documentary in Ukraine about the invasion, previously told Hollywood Authentic that he had considered “taking up arms against Russia” himself. According to Variety, Penn also went to press briefings and met with Ukrainian government officials during his visit. Stiller, meanwhile, is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He also traveled to Ukraine, where he met with president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and with people in occupied settlements who have been impacted by the conflict. “Nobody chooses to flee their homes,” he said in an Instagram video filmed in the country’s capital. “Seeking safety is a right, and it needs to be upheld for every person.”
Per Variety, Russia announced Monday that its “stop list” was created as a reaction to personal sanctions set by the Biden administration against Russian citizens. Penn and Stiller join several government officials, including Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Rick Scott, in being officially blocked. Apparently, Russia has categorized the banned individuals as “high-ranking officials, representatives of the business and expert communities, as well as cultural figures.” So congratulations to Penn and Stiller for being considered important people in American culture … at least in the Kremlin’s eyes.