Sean Penn Raises $6 Million for Haiti with Charlize Theron by His Side
The actor's celebrity friends flock to the 4th Annual Sean Penn & Friends Help Haiti Home Gala
“Do we have the doors locked now?” Sean Penn joked onstage at his Help Haiti Home gala in Beverly Hills on Saturday night. “We didn’t do all this for work for anybody in this room to come and not pledge!”
The Oscar winner, 54, pulled out all the stops at the Montage Hotel to help raise funds for his J/P Haitian Relief Organization, which has supported Haiti since the devastating earthquake in 2010.
“We’ll see a Haiti that will be able to stand on its feet in not too long. That’s an exciting thing,” Penn told PEOPLE before the show.
And what a show it was. Guests included Penn’s girlfriend Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon, Salma Hayek, new parents Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, and Josh Hutcherson and Pamela Anderson. They were treated to surprise after surprise throughout the evening, beginning with a solo performance from Coldplay frontman Chris Martin (who arrived at the event solo).
“Thankfully, the rest of the band won’t see what I’m wrecking,” laughed Martin before playing acoustic versions of their hit songs “Magic” and “That Was When I Ruled the World.”
Martin then donated a private concert to the evening’s live auction, and it sold for $400,000. Also up for bid was a Rachel Zoe fashion experience, which was quickly snatched up by Ben Stiller. “Sorry to break up the auction, but I have to go home and tell my wife I just spent $150,000,” Stiller told the crowd.
During dinner, which included filet and Chilean sea bass, Penn sat lovingly with his arm around Theron, while his children Hopper and Dylan sat at a table nearby.
“I think it’s very important for parents to be able to impart giving back to their children,” Penn told PEOPLE. “It’s one of the things that’s lacking in our culture and system. I think this should be mandatory.”
That sentiment is one shared by the evening’s guest of honor, former president Bill Clinton, whom even Harvey Weinstein and Adrien Brody waited in line to shake hands with.
The night was topped off with a surprise performance by the Red Hot Chili Peppers that got everyone on their feet, including Witherspoon and Theron, who rocked out by the stage.
In the end, the event raised over $6 million for the organization.
“I really respect that he’s stayed with it these years,” Hayek told reporters before the event. “Whenever there’s a disaster, it takes a long time to rebuild. He’s was the first one there. And he stayed with a level of such passion.”