The Two Unlikely Movie Stars Who Are Permanently Banned From Russia

In April, actor and director Sean Penn returned from Ukraine. He was filming for a documentary about the ongoing war and invasion with Russia, per Hollywood Authentic. He met the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and pointed out his courage as the country was being invaded. Zelenskyy also mentioned 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 in Europe already as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations, per People. The "Meet the Parents" actor mentioned how different it was to see everything that's going on in real life as opposed to on a television screen. He also called president Zelenskyy his "hero."

Penn and Stiller are two celebrities out of many who are supporting Ukraine during this time. "Dancing With the Stars" alum Maksim Chmerkovskiy took to Instagram on March 20 to announce that he was in Poland in order to help his home country and told people how they can help. In April, Marvel actor Benedict Cumberbatch opened up about housing Ukrainian refugees in his London home, telling Insider, "I want to give them some stability after the turmoil that they've experienced, and that's within my home." Despite being two of many, Russia has 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 issued a list of people who were banned from entering the country. The statement that was released by the Russian government and translated by Variety, mentioned that the list consists of 25 people that are a conglomerate of "members of the U.S. Congress, high-ranking officials, representatives of the business and expert communities, as well as cultural figures," due to the "principle of reciprocity." Actors Ben Stiller and Sean Penn were among the 25 people on the list who are now permanently banned from entering Russia. The list also included several United States political figures.

Stiller and Penn aren't the only Hollywood stars who have been banned from Russia. In May, however, actors Rob Reiner and Morgan Freeman were banned after being a part of a video that investigated Russia's invasion, per Rolling Stone. Reiner was producing the video and Freeman did voiceover for the project. The previous list also included U.S. President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as other political figures and businesspeople.

Ukraine has also done its own banning amid the conflict with Russia. According to The Guardian, the country banned actor Steven Seagal in 2017, after he had been openly supporting Russia and Vladmir Putin, as well as gaining Russian citizenship. The country stated that the actor's comments threatened the security of Ukraine. While Russia's bans are permanent, Ukraine's ban is only for five years.