Appearing on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” on Friday, the Oscar-winning actor said
Every day, this elected leader is called a dictator here, and we just accept it, and accept it, and this is mainstream media, who should — truly, there should be a bar by which one goes to prison for these kinds of lies.
Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said that apart from an immediate incitement of violence, Penn may say virtually anything he wants in the “political arena.”
“What he is saying is protected, as wacky and weird as it is,” said Napolitano. “But the substance of what he’s saying would be absolutely contrary to the First Amendment, which fully protects all political opinions. So if a journalist says Dick Cheney should go to jail, the journalist is privileged to say that.”
“Mr. Penn is calling for a communist-like regime in which journalists who criticize the government are sent to jail because of that criticism,” Napolitano said. “That is utterly un-American and hasn’t happened here since the Civil War.”
Penn also previously called the Chavez-crafted constitution of Venezuela, which gives the president the power to rule by decree, “a very beautiful document.”
It is unclear what Penn thinks of Chavez’s crackdown on the media –including the movie industry– in Venezuela. After local filmmakers protested Chavez’s plan to give taxpayers’ funds to the American actor Danny Glover to produce movies, Venezuela outlawed two local film guilds, Variety reported.