Sean Penn will get off with a warning, but Toronto's Sutton Place Hotel, one of the key venues at the Toronto International Film Festival, faces more than $600 in fines for allowing the actor to light up during a press conference last weekend.
The hotel will be issued a $240 fine for failing to display signage about the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which bans smoking in enclosed places across the province. The hotel will also be fined $365 fornot informing Penn he could not smoke.
The fines can be fought in court, like a parking or speeding ticket.
Investigation found Penn was not informed
An individual is fined if there is proof that he or she was informedbut chose to ignore the bylaw. This was not the case with Penn, a spokeswoman for Toronto Public Health told CBC Arts Online Friday morning.
Toronto Public Health, which is responsible for enforcing the bylaw, initially conducted routine spot checks in hotels across the city in August, but the Penn incident drew them back to the Sutton Place Hotel this week, said spokeswoman Rishma Govani.
Public health inspectors investigated the incident and determined that, ultimately, responsibility lay with the hotel. But the acclaimed actor should still expect some mail from health officials.
"We're writing a letter to Sean Penn," Govani said. "We'd love to see him again in the city and to make sure he's aware of what the bylaws are. We also hope he's kicked the habit [by then]."
Smoking photos featured prominently in media
Many newspapers and media outlets, including CBC Arts Online, published images of the Oscar-winning actor lighting up during the press conference for his film All the King's Men, which had its world premiere in Toronto on Sunday evening and hits North American theatres Sept. 22.
The festival press conferences are held in a Sutton Place Hotel ballroom.
On Wednesday, Jim Watson, Ontario's Minister of Health Promotion, criticized Penn for the smoking incident and said festival organizers should remind their Hollywood guests about Ontario's smoking laws.