Sean Penn Breaks Silence About 'El Chapo' Interview: I Have 'Nothin' to Hide'

Sean Penn secretly interviewed the Mexican fugitive in October – before the criminal's recapture

Photo: Rebecca Blackwell;Steve Granitz/WireImage

Sean Penn has issued a brief statement following the publication of his controversial secret interview with Mexican drug cartel leader Joaquén “El Chapo” Guzmén Loera.

“I’ve got nothin’ to hide,” the actor wrote in an email to the Associated Press.

The AP reported that Penn, who has remained silent on the interview since the Rolling Stone article’s Saturday release, did not directly respond to questions regarding El Chapo’s advance approval of the piece and his protection of his source. The actor was also asked about images of him and the Mexican actress Kate del Castillo – who helped lead him to the criminal.

Penn conducted several interviews with Guzmén after the cartel head’s escape from federal prison in July, including an in-person meeting in October. Guzmén was recaptured on Friday, and a source told PEOPLE Penn’s piece helped create “openings to explore” that led to the criminal’s recapture nearly seven months after his prison escape.

On Monday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough declined to comment on whether the U.S. would make the actor available to Mexican authorities seeking to question him about the interview. He did, however, call El Chapo’s remarks in the story “maddening.”

While many issued their reactions to the interview online, actor Rob Lowe chose to share his opinion on the Golden Globes red carpet.

“Did Sean catch him?” Lowe asked Entertainment Tonight‘s Nancy O’Dell of El Chapo, before making a reference to Penn’s 1982 movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High. “To me, it almost seems like Jeff Spicoli trying to cut out the middle man.”

Lowe said he hadn’t yet read Penn’s interview, but praised his high school classmate (both men went to Santa Monica High School).

“Listen, it’s a big accomplishment from [a] fellow Santa Monica High [student],” Lowe quipped. “Look, the people who went to Santa Monica High – we get s— done. Let’s face it. We do! We find drug lords, we get nominated for Golden Globes, we do a lot of stuff.”

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