Penn has been praised by gay rights leaders for his portrayal of assassinated homosexual politician Harvey Milk, in new movie Milk.
But the star - a longtime supporter of Venezuelan President Chávez and Cuban leader Castro - was the centre of a scathing article in U.S. magazine The Advocate, in which a writer claimed Penn's political leanings counteract his good deeds - because the duo has been linked to alleged human rights violations.
But Penn's publicist, Mara Buxbaum, has hit out at the journalist who wrote the article, insisting James Kirchick's report is not accurate. She tells New York gossip column PageSix, "Kirchick's commentary about Sean Penn's cover story neglects to include that Penn in fact addressed the issue of oppression toward homosexuals in Cuba in his full essay which was printed on the Huffington Post (news website) on Dec. 1.
"(U.S. weekly magazine) The Nation printed an adapted excerpt only, but made it clear that the full article was on Huffington. James Kirchick didn't do his homework."