Actor Sean Penn says the Tea Party wants to “lynch” President Obama, launching the latest celebrity attack on the conservative grassroots movement that has grown into a political force.
During an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan on Friday in which Penn rambled about the need for more infrastructure spending, affordable health care, bolder actions from President Obama and an end to the Afghanistan war – all in the same answer -- he segued into what’s wrong with the Tea Party.
“And yet there’s another problem. You have what I call ‘the get the N-word out of the White House party,’ the Tea Party,” he said.
Asked about fellow actor Morgan Freeman’s claim that the Tea Party just wants to “get the black man out” – a claim that he made on the same show last month – Penn said, “I don’t think there’s any doubt about it.”
“If you ask a representative of the Tea Party, ‘OK Social Security, socialist. Get rid of it?’ They’re going to get very confused,” he said. “At the end of the day, there’s a big bubble coming out of their heads saying, you know, can we just lynch him?”
With his unprovoked attack, Penn has joined a growing list of Hollywood stars who have criticized and hurled racial accusations at the Tea Party.
Freeman said the Tea Party movement is a “racist thing,” adding that its agenda “just shows the weak, dark, underside of America. We’re supposed to be better than that.”
Other stars who have charged Tea Party with racism are Bill Maher, Joy Behar, Janeane Garofalo and Jon Stewart. Actress Eva Longoria said the movement is “very dangerous because it’s not the character of America.”
Despite the charges, black businessman Herman Cain, who is a favorite among Tea Party activists, is a frontrunner in the GOP presidential field, according to several polls.
He chided Freeman and others last month for accusing the movement of racism, saying it’s unlikely they’ve ever been to a Tea Party event.
“I just think it’s sad that they’re so short-sighted in really understanding what the whole Tea Party citizen movement is all about,” he told Neil Cavuto. “I’m not offended by it because it doesn’t slow down my momentum. It doesn’t slow down the reaction that I get from people.”