Images and videos of American actor Sean Penn outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Wednesday, sparked questions and rumors over the Hollywood star's aim behind the visit.
The two-time Oscar winner was seen standing outside the Saudi Consulate with bodyguards surrounded by cameramen and journalists who were following him.
Few hours later the Turkish state-run news service, Anadolu Agency, reported that the American actor is currently working on a documentary on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his country’s consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018.
Translation: “American actor Sean Penn arrives in Istanbul with a team of 10 people to produce a documentary on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”
According to Turkish media, the actor was also seen outside the consul-general’s residence where Jamal Khashoggi’s body was allegedly taken after the crime took place.
Translation: “American actor Sean Penn is currently working on a documentary on Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination and this is footage of him in front of the Saudi Consulate.”
Some media reports claim Penn also asked to meet with Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of the murdered journalist during his visit.
Meanwhile, opinion online has been divided over the topic, as some liked the idea.
On the other hand, some criticized the actor for trying to stir controversy by interfering in the politics and current affairs of the Middle East and the United States.
Many social media users, mostly pro-Saudi accounts, went to circulate old photos of Penn with former First Lady of Qatar Sheikha Mozah raising speculations the documentary is being funded by Qatar, a bitter rival for Saudi Arabia.
Translation: “Sean Penn, a close friend of Sheikha Mozah, mother of the Qatari Emir and wife of Hamad bin Khalifa, former Emir, is planning to star in a documentary on Khashoggi’s death story. Of course, now it is obvious who is going to fund the documentary.”
Among Americans Penn is reputed to be on the hard left.
This came after he and Mexican-American actress interviewed the Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman while he was on the run.
In response many defended him as he is trying to make a documentary on the Saudi authoritarian regime.
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