Sean Penn questions Wyclef Jean’s motives on Haiti

2010-08-06 07:54

Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn has poured cold water on Wyclef Jean’s bid for the Haitian presidency, questioning the motives of the musician and those backing his campaign.

Penn, who has spent extended periods in Haiti since the devastating January 12 earthquake, told CNN in an interview that Jean had been a “non-presence” during efforts to rebuild the state in the months since the disaster.

“He has been virtually silent for those of us in Haiti. He has been a non-presence,” said Penn.

Penn has been running a 55 000-person tent camp through the J/P Haitian Relief Organisation he co-founded.

While acknowledging Jean was an “important voice”, Penn also accused the hip-hop artist of misusing more than $400 000 donated to his charity. “That has to be looked into,” he said.

“I’ve been there. I know what $400 000 can do for these people’s lives and for a 24-year-old girl right now who is dying.

So, I want to see someone who is really, really willing to sacrifice for their country and not just someone who I personally saw with a vulgar entourage of vehicles that demonstrated a wealth in Haiti which, in context, I felt a very obscene demonstration.”

Earlier this year, Jean broke down in tears after denying that his Yele Haiti Foundation had misused funds.

It followed publication of a 2006 tax return that showed that more than a third of the foundation’s revenue had been diverted to miscellaneous expenses. 

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