Sean Penn On Green Card Joke Critics: 'If It Gives People Something To Do, I Suppose It's Not Worse Than Religion'

03/11/2015 07:02 pm ET | Updated Mar 11, 2015

Sean Penn stands behind his “no apologies” stance regarding the reaction his Oscar’s green card remark received, adding he felt the backlash did little more than allow bloggers to appease their vanity.

The Oscar-winning actor sat down with HuffPost Live on Wednesday to promote his latest film, “The Gunman,” and elaborated on why he wasn’t surprised at the social media firestorm when he said “Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?” before announcing Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Birdman” as the best picture winner.

Over the weekend, the actor told The Associated Press he was surprised by the “flagrant stupidity” of everyone that reacted negatively and had “absolutely no apologies.”

"In fact, I have a big (expletive) you for every... anybody who is so stupid not to have gotten the irony when you've got a country that is so xenophobic," Penn added. "If they had their way, you wouldn't have great filmmakers like Alejandro working in this country. Thank god we do."

While speaking with HuffPost Live’s Roy Sekoff, Penn said it took him a few days to find out what happened online because he doesn’t have a social media presence and was traveling.

“Look, am I surprised that I live in a idiocracy? No,” Penn told HuffPost Live of his thoughts when he finally found out. “When people seize a moment, they say ‘oh he talked about that thing that I can relate to that which identifies me as an activist or as a person with an opinion, hence I’ll jump on it and completely miss the irony of it.”

The remark had #Penndejo -- a combination of the actor’s last name and a Spanish term for stupid -- trending not long after the broadcast. Prominent immigration advocate Jose Antonio Vargas and Latino figures, like Mario Lopez and EW's Nina Terrero, were just some of the few who expressed their discontent at Penn’s words.

The actor, however, said individuals who expressed their outrage online had criticized him for the sake of it.

“What I do know of the blogosphere typically is that the upside of a town meeting is those few speakers in a town hall who have come in with some activity and the solution for things,” Penn said. “And [they] come to look for compromise and complement to those solutions that will allow for things to move forward. The downside of a town hall is people by and large come to hear the sound of their own voice and the worst part of that is that it’s not effective. You come out with nothing productive. Except that their vanity, as [with] the people who blogged about me, gets pacified."

“We have a town hall, everybody that does nothing with their life except masturbate and ask their parents if their socks are dry gets on this thing and has something to say,” the actor continued. “And so, you know, I mean if it gives people something to do, I suppose it’s not worse than religion."

The green card comment, in reference to the González Iñárritu’s Mexican nationality, was perceived by some -- including the “Birdman” director -- as a simple joke between two friends. Penn and González Iñárritu worked together on the 2003 film “21 Grams.”

But others argued that regardless of its intention the Oscar’s global platform, during one of the whitest years in the award show’s recent history, was not the time or the place for it.

Take a look at what Penn said on HuffPost Live in the clip above.

Earlier on HuffPost:

Oscars Red Carpet 2015
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