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Social Issues
Sean Penn Gives Up His Guns For Haiti
January 13, 2014
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(Photo: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for J/P Haitian Relief Organization)

Here's a fascinating story from the weekend: on Saturday, Sean Penn auctioned off his collection of more than 60 guns at a benefit he hosted for J/P Haitian Relief Organization. The final sale price? $1.5 million.

In a speech he gave to the crowd, Penn credited "a strong woman who happens to be from South Africa" with his change of heart over firearms — that "strong woman," presumably, being his new girlfriend Charlize Theron, who witnessed her mother shooting and killing her father when she was 15. (Theron told ABC News that the shooting took place in self-defence after her father and his brother returned home from a night of drinking and started opening fire in the house.)

"Being provoked by this aforementioned strong woman and considering how liberating of bullshit and ugliness it would be — not only to get rid of the guns I have in the continental United States but also to destroy them — Jeff Koons and I had a chat the other day," Penn said, according to E! News.

That chat with Koons resulted in Penn agreeing to hand over his firearms to the contemporary artist, who'll decommission them and turn them into a sculpture of some sort. You may know Koons for his $63.5 million balloon dog or his 1988 porcelain sculpture of Michael Jackson and his chimpanzee Bubbles.

The winning bidder at the auction was CNN broadcaster Anderson Cooper, who quipped to the New York Daily News's Confidential blog, "I don’t even know if I have the money to pay for it. Good thing my accountant was here." Cooper outbid fellow CNN host Piers Morgan for the artwork — Morgan, a strong advocate for gun control, gave up after $1.4 million.

The evening, which raised a total of $6.5 million for the charity, also saw Coldplay's Chris Martin pay $650,000 for a Banksy painting, as well as a surprise performance by U2 — that band's first in four years. It took place one day before the four-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that killed over 100,000 Haitians.

Via E! News

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