Actor Sean Penn wrote a furious letter to staffers at the Los Angeles coronavirus vaccination site run by his non-profit after two employees anonymously complained about the work environment.
The “Mystic River” star’s nonprofit CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) runs a mass vaccination site at Dodger Stadium with the support of 350 staff members and volunteers. Last week, two workers came out with allegations that they were being overworked and underfed in the comments section of a recent article.
One nameless employee claimed that LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s agenda to change the operation from a testing site to a vaccination center has caused staffers to work “18 hour days, six days per week,” without allowing for “the opportunity to take breaks.” The employee asserted that Garcetti “more or less ordered” violations of occupational safety rules.
Another called out the article’s claims that staff were treated to donuts at breakfast and Subway sandwiches at lunch, commenting that employees “usually DON’T get breakfast, just coffee,” and are provided “the same old lettuce wraps every day,” for lunch.
On Friday, Penn responded to the allegations in an email to CORE staff, writing: “Those comments, which claimed to be revealing of inaccuracies about our vaccine effort at Dodger Stadium in a news report, were in themselves not only a propagation of deeper inaccuracies but also indulged the personal opinions of those alleged CORE staffers in a way that violates everything that keeps us whole.”
Rather than complaining about their jobs, Penn wants the staffers to leave the company. “It’s called quitting. Quit for CORE. Quit for your colleagues who won’t quit. Quit for your fellow human beings who deeply recognize that this is a moment in time. A moment of service that we must all embody sometimes to the point of collapse. That’s my job. And that’s your job,” he said.
He blasted the staffers “whim of dissent in the low-hanging fruit of cyberspace,” for putting CORE’s partnerships at risk, and praised Garcetti as a “hero.”
So, let me make this EXCESSIVELY CLEAR: With all due respect to the Mayor’s official authorities and responsibilities, none give him authority to ‘order’ or impose directives directly on CORE staff. Full stop. His official authority is exercised at his initiative through a chain of command, that in the case of Covid vaccination programs, he directs through the highly structured and extraordinarily well-led Los Angeles Fire Department, with whom we partner on site,” Penn concluded.