Sean Penn Takes Activism to Cannes and Raises $2 Million for Haiti!

Tree of Life actor holds a fundraiser in the French Riviera to benefit the poverty-stricken country

By Alyssa Toomey May 21, 2012 1:00 AMTags
Sean Penn, Petra NemcovaGeorge Pimentel/Getty Images

Apparently, the French Riviera is exempt from Sean Penn's world (and in this case, that's a good thing). 

After Penn expletively scolded "the world" for abandoning Haiti after the country's devastating earthquake in 2010, the actor-activist hosted a fundraiser for the poverty-stricken country, raising over $2 million.

In addition to Penn's Haitian Relief Organization, the Haiti: Carnival in Cannes gala also benefitted Paul Haggis' Artists for Peace and Justice and Petra Nemcova's Happy Heart Fund.  

Penn's event was the first of its kind for the festival since 1996 when Cannes hosted benefit screenings. It also marked the first time three charities have united with the festival's support to raise awareness for one cause: relief in Haiti.

The French fundraiser drew an A-list crowd who came to show their support for Penn, Nemcova and Haggis—guests included Gerard Butler, Diane Kruger, Jessica Chastain, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Harvey Weinstein and many more.

A live auction took place and featured a slew of celeb-worthy items for guests to bid on. A three-day trip to Haiti with Sean Penn himself raised the most money—going to three bidders for over $128,000 each. Other big auction items included Bono's own guitar and a meet-and-greet with him backstage at one of his shows as well as lunch with a Victoria's Secret Angel and VIP access to their 2012 fashion show.

Not only did the event help raise money and awareness, but Penn also bought a little Haitian culture to the French Rivera with a concert featuring authentic Haitian music from Haiti's leading Racine group.

The Oscar winner was recently honored with the 2012 Peace Summit award for his continued aid to the earthquake-torn country.

Hey, if Petra and Sean really are a couple, they're shaping up to be the most active twosome in Hollywood.