Kate del Castillo Says Sean Penn’s Rolling Stone Story of El Chapo Interview Was 'Full of S—'11/19/2020
Kate del Castillo claims portions of Sean Penn's Rolling Stone interview with the former Mexican drug cartel leader Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán were not true. Penn, 60, has previously disputed del Castillo's accounts of the interview.
The Mexican actress, 48, appeared on this week's Facebook Watch episode of Red Table Talk: The Estefans where she spoke to singer Gloria Estefan, her daughter Emily Estefan, and her niece and TV show host Lili Estefan about her journey to meet El Chapo, 63, with Penn and two producers in 2015.
Del Castillo, who facilitated the interview between the former cartel leader and the Oscar-winning actor, told the Estefans she wasn't aware of Penn's intention to do the interview for Rolling Stone.
"Suddenly Sean says, 'Tell him I want to interview him for Rolling Stone magazine,' " she recalled. "And I was [thinking] like, 'Wait this is not on the script.' "
A rep for Penn has not commented.
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The actress said she was cautious of showing her surprise at Penn's request, explaining, "I cannot do a face because [El Chapo] was going to notice that something’s wrong and this guy [Penn] is going to be dead in just a blink of my eye."
Del Castillo translated the questions and answers between both men before they left the compound where the group had met in Mexico.
Lili, 53, said Penn had "mentioned a checkpoint" in his article as the group left the compound, to which del Castillo said, "He’s an a—. That wasn’t true, he just put it there to sparkle a little bit of his stupid story."
"There was no checkpoint," del Castillo added. "I hated him for that but that’s why his article was full of s—."
Rolling Stone did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
The actress, who portrayed a powerful cartel leader in the telenovela La Reina del Sur (the original version of the English-language remake Queen of the South), said she was asked if she was romantically involved with Penn after his interview was published.
"I said, 'No, I only had sex,' " she said, adding, "It just happened."
She continued, "He used me as bait and then he never protected me. And risked my life, my parents' life, my sister's life and everybody surrounding me."
Del Castillo was under investigation by the Mexican government for her involvement with El Chapo after the article was published. The actress, who began interacting with Guzmán in 2012 by tweeting, "Today I believe more in El Chapo Guzmán than I do in the governments that hide truths from me, even if they are painful, who hide the cures for cancer, aids, etc., for their own benefit," was criticized for sympathizing with a dangerous drug trafficker.
"It hurt me that I was so stupid, so naïve," del Castillo said of the backlash she received from the meeting. "If I didn’t have the American passport, I would be in jail. That’s it."
In 2017, del Castillo participated in a three-part Netflix docuseries, The Day I Met El Chapo: The Kate del Castillo Story.
In October 2017, The New York Times reported a lawyer for Penn sent a letter to Netflix saying "blood will be on their hands if this film causes bodily harm."
Penn's spokesman at the time Mark Fabiani told PEOPLE, "This is not about one person’s safety. These producers are propagating false and reckless fabrications for their profit. This is nothing but a cheap, National Enquirer-esque tale spun by a delusional person whose hunger for fame is both tawdry and transparent."
That same month, the actress told PEOPLE Penn "was not happy about it but he had the chance. We reached out to him many times and he ignored us. Now he wants to be a part of it and it’s too late. I think he should do his own documentary of himself."
El Chapo was captured in January 2016 just months after meeting with del Castillo, whom he was a fan of, and Penn. He had previously escaped from prison in Mexico in 2001 before his capture in early 2016. He was extradited to the United States in January 2017.
He was arrested on 17 counts, including numerous murders and kidnappings while he allegedly oversaw the multibillion-dollar international Sinaloa cartel. In January 2019, he was sentenced to life in prison and was ordered to pay $12.6 billion in forfeiture, the New York Times reported.
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