Spike Lee praises Sean Penn's work in Haiti

'That's his life now,' says director

Filmmaker Spike Lee is praising Sean Penn's efforts to help earthquake victims in Haiti. While discussing his latest HBO documentary at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Saturday, Lee stood up for the occasionally mocked actor: "Sean Penn doesn't live in the United States any more. He lives in Port au Prince."

Lee continued, "That's his life now, trying to get this country on its feet. I have to commend him for that. He's not living in a palace, he's living in a tent. I know because I slept three nights there. It's a tent-tent. He's put in his dues and time to speak about Haiti."

Penn is a co-founder of J/P HRO Haitian Relief Organization, a group that, following the country's Jan. 12 temblor, has distributed food, delivered medical supplies and constructed schools and medical facilities. An estimated 50,000 survivors live in a camp set up and now managed by Penn.

Penn has testified before Congress about Haitian situation and was recently critical of musician Wyclef Jean's plans to run for president of the nation.

Lee's documentary, "If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise," follows the progress of post-Katrina New Orleans. The program's fourth hour will be devoted to the impact of the Gulf Coast oil spill on the region.