The two unlikely movie stars to be permanently banned from Russia

In April, actor and director Sean Penn returned from Ukraine. He was shooting for a documentary about the ongoing war and invasion of Russia, per Hollywood Authentic. He met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and noted his bravery when the country was invaded. Zelenskyy also noted Penn’s “courage and honesty” as the director was determined to show the truth about the situation.

In June, actor and filmmaker Ben Stiller visited Ukraine as he was already serving as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations in Europe, per People. The ‘Meet the Parents’ actor mentioned how different it is to see everything that’s going on in real life as opposed to a TV screen. He also called President Zelenskyy his “hero”.

Penn and Stiller are two of many celebrities supporting Ukraine at this time. Dancing With the Stars graduate Maksim Chmerkovskiy announced on Instagram on March 20 that he was in Poland to help his home country and told people how they can help. In April, Marvel actor Benedict Cumberbatch spoke openly about housing Ukrainian refugees at his London home, telling Insider, “I want to give them some stability after the turmoil they’ve been through, and that’s at my house,” though Russia being two of many, it brought down the iron hammer on Penn and Stiller for their support of Ukraine.

Russia bans Ben Stiller and Sean Penn from entering the country

On September 5, Russia published a list of people banned from entering the country. The statement, released by the Russian government and translated by Variety, mentioned that the list consists of 25 people representing a conglomerate of “Members of the US Congress, senior officials, representatives of the business and expert community, and cultural figures” due to the “Principle of reciprocity.” Actors Ben Stiller and Sean Penn were among the 25 people on the list now permanently banned from entering Russia. The list also included several United States political figures.

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Stiller and Penn aren’t the only Hollywood stars to have been banned from Russia. However, in May, actors Rob Reiner and Morgan Freeman were banned after they were part of a video investigating the invasion of Russia, per Rolling Stone. Reiner produced the video and Freeman spoke for the project. The previous list also included US President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and other politicians and business figures.

Ukraine also issued its own ban in the conflict with Russia. According to The Guardian, the country banned actor Steven Seagal in 2017 after he openly supported Russia and Vladmir Putin and obtained Russian citizenship. The country stated that the actor’s remarks threatened the security of Ukraine. While Russia’s bans are permanent, Ukraine’s ban is only for five years.