Penn calls paper 'lamebrain' over humor piece

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Sean Penn's days of writing for the San Francisco Chronicle may be over: The actor now calls the publication an "increasingly lamebrain paper."

Penn offered the critique in a letter published Tuesday, written in response to a tongue-in-cheek article that focused on celebrity interest in Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. It listed a number of potential matchups between celebrities and dictators or other authoritarian figures.

Penn objected to the characterization, saying Chavez is a democratically elected leader.

Chronicle Editor Phil Bronstein took the criticism in stride, calling Penn, "a great actor and a great director."

"People get riled up about a lot of things, particularly in this day and age; they get to express themselves. We were more than happy to print his letter," Bronstein said.

A call to Penn's publicist was not immediately returned.

Penn's past writings for the paper included a five-part series in 2005 about his experiences in Iran.

The 47-year-old actor won an Oscar for his role in 2003's "Mystic River." His screen credits also include "I Am Sam," "Sweet and Lowdown" and "Dead Man Walking."

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