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Sean Penn lashed out at employees of his nonprofit who are helping administer COVID-19 vaccines in Los Angeles after two of them complained about work conditions online.
The Oscar-winning actor wrote a scathing 2,200-word email to staffers Friday, in which he accused the unnamed pair of “obscene critiques” and said they should quit, The Los Angeles Times reported.
“To whoever authored these, understand that in every cell of my body is a vitriol for the way your actions reflect so harmfully upon your brothers and sisters in arms,” Penn wrote in the letter, which was leaked to the Times.
The missive came after two people who said they worked for Penn’s organization, Community Organized Relief Effort, commented on a Jan. 28 New York Times story that described a day at the Dodger Stadium mass vaccination site.
One self-described “CORE staff” member said the employees were overworked after LA Mayor Eric Garcetti switched the stadium from a virus testing site to a vaccination center.
The staffers work 18-hour days, six days per week, “without the opportunity to take breaks,” the person wrote.
The other anonymous scribe complained that the article said site workers got “Krispy Kreme for breakfast and Subway for lunch.”
“We usually DON’T get breakfast, just coffee,” the person wrote, adding that the lunch was “NOT” Subway but “the same old lettuce wraps every day. It’s free lunch for staff/volunteers so I’m not complaining but still… not Subway.”
In his seething email, Penn, 60, described his “grave concern” over the comments, which he bashed as a “broad betrayal of all,” the LA Times reported.
He said the “shameful entries” were “highly visible,” though they are part of at least 150 reader responses to the NY Times article.
Penn said that CORE — which he co-founded after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti — has “strong complaint procedures and endless other internal avenues for productive criticism” from staffers.
Anyone “predisposed to a culture of complaint” and “broad-based cyber whining” should just quit, he added.
“It’s called quitting,” Penn wrote. “Quit for CORE. Quit for your colleagues who won’t quit. Quit for your fellow human beings who deeply recognize that this is a moment in time. A moment of service that we must all embody sometimes to the point of collapse.”