Kate del Castillo accuses Sean Penn of using her as 'bait' to meet El Chapo, says his article was 'full of s**t'
The actress admitted to sleeping with Penn after the trip, but called him an 'a**hole'
Mexican actress Kate del Castillo has accused Sean Penn of using her as a pawn for his interview with drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. The actress was present at a meeting between Penn and the drug lord for a documentary the actress had intended to make about El Chapo's life. However, months after their meeting, Penn's interview with Guzman was published in the Rolling Stone.
Del Castillo opened about the incident while speaking on “Red Table Talk: The Estefans” on Facebook Watch, where she blamed Penn for putting her and her family in danger. She said that the published interview upended her life and left her with financial issues and anxiety. The actress, told Gloria Estefan, her daughter Emily Estefan and her niece Lily Estefan: "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."
When Lily mentioned Penn's claim in the article that the group went through a military "checkpoint" after soldiers spotted a son of Guzman's, the actress said that his claim was "not true." Del Castillo continued: "He's an a**hole. He just put it there to sparkle a little bit of his stupid story. There was never a checkpoint. I hated him for that." She also called Penn's article "full of s**t."
She recalls her nightmare started right after the interview. El Chapo himself took her to the room she would be staying in that night. "We didn't even know that we were gonna stay there," she remembered. "I thought I was gonna be raped, and definitely killed or something... he could have done whatever the hell he wanted, what can I do?" Guzman, instead, said goodbye to del Castillo, telling her she was not gonna see him again. Just hours after that, the actress was woken up in the middle of the night and told to evacuate. According to del Castillo, less than 24-hours later the military swarmed the compound.
After Penn's article was published, it made international headlines, but Del Castillo had to bear the brunt of it as the Mexican government launched an investigation into her meeting with the drug lord. There was a smear campaign against her in the media where she was branded as Chapo's accomplice and lover. The actress eventually fled to the United States to avoid persecution and received her American citizenship in 2015.
During the interview, the Estefans also questioned Del Castillo about previous reports claiming that she had a romantic relationship with Penn. The actress, however, chalked the meeting as only a physical encounter. She said: "When the story came out I never talked to [Penn] again. On the plane back, I was so excited for us. I had a champagne bottle. So we celebrated, both of us, and there was something there." The Mexican government claimed that tracking Castillo and Penn's trip was integral to finding Chapo.
The actress, however, added that she was left feeling "so stupid and naive that I didn't see the whole thing. If I didn't have the American passport, I would be in jail." She also explained how she still does not have any savings and is still paying the Mexican government. She stated that the pressure over the years has resulted in her developing anxiety.
"I still do [have anxiety] and I sleep with my gun next to me," the actress said, adding, "They asked me if I had something romantic, if I had a relationship. No, I only had sex. It just happened."
El Chapo, who famously escaped from two high-security prisons, is currently serving a life sentence at a supermax penitentiary in Colorado. An appeal on his sentence, however, was filed in September this year, which argued that a judge made the ruling in the drug lord's case by allowing a jury to hear faulty evidence at his trial. His lawyer, in the appeal presented to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, wrote: "Chapo Guzmán's prosecution was marred by rampant excess and overreach, both governmental and judicial – needless resorts, if he was really the kingpin extraordinaire his adversaries, insisted."