Tuesday January 12, 2016
Sean Penn's interview with El Chapo is not journalism
It was a shocking story in itself when the Mexican authorities finally caught up with Joaquín Guzmán, a.k.a. El Chapo, last week.
But then, on Saturday came a truly cinematic twist. Actor Sean Penn had already caught up with El Chapo and sat down to interview him as part of a feature article for Rolling Stone magazine.
"I want to make clear that this interview is for the exclusive use of Miss Kate del Castillo and Mister Sean Penn." - Drug Lord 'El Chapo' talking into a camera for Sean Pean's piece in Rolling Stone
The article – headlined "El Chapo Speaks" – was an instant journalistic blockbuster, racking up millions of clicks for Rolling Stone... but also racking up concerns over the ethics and implications of the project.
- Craig Silverman is the editor of Buzzfeed Canada.
- Peter Edwards is a reporter with the Toronto Star and the author of several books on organized crime.
- Franc Contreras is a freelance journalist based in Mexico City.
We did ask Rolling Stone to provide comment on this story....but we did not hear back. Sean Penn's publicist also declined comment on his behalf.
Ethics aside, Sean Penn's article has inspired a couple satirical send-ups online:
This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino and Ines Colabrese.