Sean Penn and Ben Stiller were two of the Americans banned from Russia in a list including “high-ranking officials, representatives of the business and expert communities, as well as cultural figures,” announced Monday.
In the blacklist of 25 people, Senators Rick Scott, Mark Kelley, Pat Toomey, Kevin Kramer and Krysten Sinema were also barred from the country
This isn’t the only thing the actors have in common, however, as both Penn and Stiller made trips to Ukraine and met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier this year.
Penn traveled to Ukraine to capture the crisis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for a Vice documentary and had a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Chris Cuomo also joined the actor in Ukraine in June as Penn worked on a “film showing the reality and helping the hurting with relief org CORE,” according to Cuomo’s Instagram.
Stiller, a UN Refugee Agency Goodwill Ambassador, was also in Ukraine in June on World Refugee Day, and met with President Zelenskyy after previously visiting Ukrainian refugees in Poland.
“I’m meeting people who have been impacted by the war and hearing how it’s changed their lives,” he said in the UNHCR video posted to Twitter. “War and violence are devastating people all over the world. Nobody chooses to flee their home. Seeking safety is a right.”
"Seeking safety is a right."
UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador @BenStiller is in Ukraine for #WorldRefugeeDay. He's there to stand in solidarity with people displaced by war and conflict all around the world. pic.twitter.com/30bpn0dAFN
— UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) June 20, 2022
In August, Piers Morgan and former Prime Minister David Cameron joined a group of Brits that were banned as well, alongside 37 other businesspeople, reporters and politicians.
Morgan responded to being barred from the country with a tweet, saying “It wasn’t on my immediate vacation to-do list.”