Bono and Chris Martin, two of the most unfairly maligned rock stars of our lifetime, teamed up for something last night that was actually deserving of scrutiny. They were guest-starring on Jimmy Kimmel Live’s annual (RED) special to benefit the ongoing fight against AIDS—a worthy cause that often falls through the cracks. Bono effectively co-hosted the night, and presided over some fun, wacky hijinks to raise money. Then Sean Penn showed up.
“It’s time to get serious,” Kimmel said before announcing a performance of an American classic from “Bono and Friends.” He sang “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road),” the old standard which was popularized by Frank Sinatra, to Penn, who played a silent bartender. Then the camera pans to Martin on piano, switches to color, and the Coldplay frontman does that restrained Ballad Chris Martin stuff we know and love. It’s a poignant performance for the holidays, but why the hell did Sean Penn have to be involved?
Run a quick Google Image search, and you’ll find out that Bono’s been pals with the Oscar-winning actor for years. Run a quick regular Google search, and you’ll be reminded that Penn has been accused of horrifying acts of domestic abuse against Madonna (and has a history of assaulting men, too). Penn has denied segments of the murky and long-running Hollywood rumor that he beat up Madonna—and settled a defamation suit with director Lee Daniels in 2015 once he revived the claims. But in a time when we’re getting rid of all the Hollywood abusers at once (at least those accused of said acts after October 2017), Penn’s presence reminds us that there’s always more for us to reevaluate and purge.