Sean Penn no longer testing positive for COVID-19 after missing DGA Awards, says rep: 'He was never symptomatic'

·3 min read
Director Paul Thomas Anderson says Sean Penn has tested positive for COVID-19. (Photo: REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier)
Director Paul Thomas Anderson says Sean Penn has tested positive for COVID-19. (Photo: REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier)

Sean Penn is no longer testing positive for COVID-19, his publicist tells Yahoo Entertainment. During Saturday night's Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards in Los Angeles, the actor's Licorice Pizza director, Paul Thomas Anderson, announced that Penn had missed the ceremony due to a positive test. Penn's team now says that he was "never symptomatic" and has since tested negative.

“Sean Penn is not testing positive for COVID today," a statement from his rep reads. "He tested negative 48 hours after being tested in preparation for attending the DGA Awards. It may have been a false positive. He was never symptomatic.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the two-time Oscar winner, 61, was due to present Anderson with a medallion recognizing his DGA nomination at the ceremony, which required attendees to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test result. Actress Leila George, who filed for divorce from Penn last October, took on presenting duties in her estranged husband's stead.

“Sean tested positive for COVID, which is kind of crazy considering what he’s done for all of us,” Anderson said of Penn and his work toward establishing testing and vaccination sites in underserved L.A. communities in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “Like a World War I veteran coming home, slipping on a step. So, it’s a drag not to have him here. It’s a pleasure to work with him and all the actors. It’s the best part of this job that we all have.”

Penn, who told Yahoo Entertainment last August that COVID-19 vaccines "should be mandatory," is the co-founder of Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), a nonprofit which has provided free COVID-19 tests and administered more than 2 million vaccines. CORE's work has also involved responding to natural disasters and global emergencies, including Haiti and, currently, the Ukraine refugee crisis.

Penn's estranged wife, Leila George, appeared at the DGA Awards in his place. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Penn's estranged wife, Leila George, appeared at the DGA Awards in his place. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

It's the latter, and not his own health, that seems to be occupying Penn's mind. On Saturday night the actor and director, who until two weeks ago was in Ukraine shooting a documentary, took to Twitter to urge followers to watch the HBO series Chernobyl, describing it as a "X-ray snapshot of willful misinformation campaigns of the Russian government." Over the past month Penn has been speaking out about the Ukraine crisis, most recently calling on the United States and Poland to supply the country with jets.

Updated, 1:45 p.m.: This article has been updated to include a statement from Penn's representatives.