Ben Stiller and Sean Penn Are the Latest Actors Permanently Banned From Russia

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2013 AFI FEST - "The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty" - Credit: Getty Images for AFI
2013 AFI FEST - "The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty" - Credit: Getty Images for AFI

Ben Stiller and Sean Penn are among the latest Americans to be banned from Russia, as both actors were personally sanctioned by the Russian foreign ministry over their support of Ukraine during the current invasion.

Stiller and Penn joined Rob Reiner and Morgan Freeman — both sanctioned in May — on Russia’s ever-growing ban list, a club that also includes President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Attorney General Merrick Garland and more politicians, journalists, intelligence officers and professors.

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“In response to the ever-expanding personal sanctions by the Biden Administration against Russian citizens, against another group of persons from among members of the U.S. Congress, high-ranking officials, representatives of the business and expert communities, as well as cultural figures (25 people), a ban on entry into the Russian Federation on a permanent basis,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday (via Variety). “The following is a list of names of American citizens who are included in the Russian ‘stop list,’ based on the principle of reciprocity.”

Russia’s list also reunites Stiller and Penn for the first time since 2013’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Penn was witness to the onset of the Ukraine invasion, as he met with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy the day before Russian troops started their siege.

“We met with [Zelenskyy], a man in a suit, and the next morning the Russians invaded. We went back. We were with President Zelenskyy and waited for him at a meeting point. And the next time I saw him, he was in camos and the world had changed,” Penn said in April.

Stiller also met with Zelenskyy in June in his role as a goodwill ambassador of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

“I’m meeting people who have been impacted by the war, and hearing how it’s changed their lives. War and violence are devastating people all over the world,” Stiller said on social media. “Nobody chooses to flee their homes. Seeking safety is a right and it needs to be upheld for every person.”

According to NPR, other new additions to Russia’s sanctions list includes politicians from both sides of the aisle, as Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Rick Scott of Florida, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania were all banned from ever entering Russia.

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