Last week, Sean Penn's controversial interview with Mexican drug cartel leader Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera was published in Rolling Stone magazine. Prior to this, news spread like wildfire over the fact that the 55-year-old actor had spent months organizing an a meeting with one of the most wanted men -- the leader of the Sinaloa cartel was once described by the US government as "the most powerful drug trafficker in the world."
Since his escape from federal prison in July 2015, El Chapo had been evading authorities and hiding in a remote location in the Mexican wilderness. In October, in a meeting brokered by Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, Sean Penn conducted a face-to-face interview with the drug lord.
On Friday, the fugitive was captured, with many pointing to Penn for facilitating "openings to explode" that led to authorities tracking El Chapo down. A Mexican official claimed that the Hollywood star helped law enforcement find the drug kingpin in Durango state.
On Monday, White House Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, refused to comment on whether the US would make the actor available to Mexican authorities for questioning. Instead, he simply referred to El Chapo's "maddening" remarks in the published interview -- for example, the notorious criminal told Penn that he did not consider himself a violent person:
"Look, all I do is defend myself, nothing more. But do I start trouble? Never."
Similarly, since the interview in Rolling Stone was published, Penn has kept pretty silent, especially since rumors have been circulating over whether he would be questioned over deals he seemingly struck with the drug lord.
"I've got nothing to hide"
Now however, he has issued a short and sweet statement in an email to the Associated Press dismissing criticism that he was under surveillance while meeting the actress who led him to El Chapo. When asked about the images that have surfaced of Penn arriving with del Castille at an airport from which they flew to the jungle, he said:
"I've got nothin' to hide."
Meanwhile, actor Rob Lowe offered his opinion on the situation at the Golden Globes on Sunday night by using a reference to Penn's 1982 movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High:
"Did Sean catch him? To me, it almost seems like Jeff Spicoli trying to cut out the middle man."
Here's the trailer for the movie he was referring to:
On Friday, in an operation called 'Black Swan,' El Chapo was arrested in a gunfire heavy raid that killed five guards. The drug lord is now back in prison as his lawyers fight his extradition to the US.