By all accounts, the Cannes Film Festival's Carnival for Haiti fundraising event did exactly what Sean Penn hoped it would.
The 51-year-old took advantage of the international spotlight to shine some light on the plight of the Haitian people, using a press conference before the gala to blast what he perceives as a lack of international support.
"It's not only celebrities that went (to Haiti) to help only for a day," said Penn. "It's the whole f-ing world. It's the entire media. It's all of you."
"The reason people get 'Haiti fatigue' is that they never commit in the first place," he added. "People have to understand this is not about diving into the water. You're going to have to swim."
Clearly, those celebs in attendance were inspired by Penn's words. According to early estimates, more than $2 million was raised, up from the $1 million donated last year at a similar function. The cash will be divided equally among Penn's J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO), Paul Haggis’ Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) and Petra Nemcova’s Happy Heart’s Fund (HHF).
Guests included Diane Kruger, Jessica Chastain, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Gerard Butler, Ewan McGregor, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tom Hardy, Sean Combs, Robert De Niro, Joshua Jackson, Michelle Rodriguez, Harvey Weinstein, Lyle Lovett (who performed three songs) and many more.
Some of the items auctioned off included a guitar previously owned by Bono ($215,000), a lunch date with a Victoria's Secret model ($115,000) and spending three days with Penn on the ground in Haiti. (Three bidders threw down $128,000 each for the opportunity to work with Penn.)
Giorgio Armani, who hosted the event, called Penn a "life changer."
"For this to come to fruition at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival marks a career milestone for me, and demonstrates what happens when you work with Sean, a world-class force of nature," he said.
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