Sean Penn’s Disaster-Relief Charity Ended Up a Money Mess

Sean Penn’s Disaster-Relief Charity Ended Up a Money Mess


CORE Labor violations and complaints

CORE staff complained that they were forced to work 18-hour days, six days a week, without the opportunity to take breaks. Responding to the staff concerns, Penn excoriated the employees, writing in an email that “in every cell of my body is a vitriol for the way your actions reflect so harmfully upon your brothers and sisters in arms”. Penn suggested that employees leave their work instead of complaining about conditions.[16] In October 2021, the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint that Penn and CORE violated federal labor law. According to the charge, Penn “impliedly threatened” his employees with reprisals.[17] A 2021 California lawsuit sought civil damages, claiming that CORE failed o pay overtime and minimum wges, provide rest periods, reimburse for business expenses, provide detailed wage statements, and timely pay employees. [18]

In 2022, a former CORE worker who provided support during COVID relief efforts in Georgia sued CORE for unpaid wages. According to the complaint, CORE deliberately misclassified staff as contractors to avoid paying overtime. CORE’s contracts require binding arbitration, which prevents a collective action by multiple employees and keeps the proceedings private.

Sean Penn’s Haiti relief charity paid $126,000 on travel in a single year including the actor’s first-class flights because of his ‘celebrity status’, tax records reveal


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