WASHINGTON -- An actress and former international beauty pageant queen had a heated run-in with actor Sean Penn at Los Angeles International Airport recently, in which she says he called her a pig and she responded by calling him a communist.
Maria Conchita Alonso, who is known for her role in the movies "The Running Man" and "Predator 2," was picking up her wheelchair-bound mother at LAX when she noticed fellow actor Sean Penn standing by the same luggage carousel. Alonso had not interacted with Penn since she wrote an open letter to him in March 2010 criticizing him for supporting socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. She says the meeting was meant to happen when the pair were waiting for information on Penn's and Alonso's mother's lost luggage.
"I go 'Hello,' and he smiles and says, 'Oh, you lost your bag too?" Alonso told Steve Malzberg on WMAL. "And I'm like, 'No, my mother (lost her bag).' And at that moment he recognizes me because he didn't recognize me before, and he goes, 'Oh, it's you.'"
Alonso says she calmly told Penn she wanted to speak with him about the tension over Chavez when Penn blew up at her.
"He goes, 'I don't want to talk to you. You speak badly about me. You insult me on TV," Alonso said.
Alonso says the conversation escalated when Penn accused Alonso's brother of attempting to assassinate Chavez, which Alonso says is not true.
"So I'm like, 'You are in favor of Hugo Chavez and [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad.' Because I also saw a picture of footage from TV where Chavez and Ahmadinejad are together and Sean Penn is next to them. And, you know, he's like 'I've never said that about Ahmadinejad. You're a pig.' And I go to him, 'And you are a communist, Sean Penn!'"
Alonso may have been referring to an interaction between Chavez and Ahmadinejad in September, when the Venezuelan President asked the Iranian President to release two detained American hikers at the urging of Penn.
The actress says the exchange of words in the airport caused a scene where others were looking on with amusement or shock.
"The second time I called him a communist, I said 'You're a communist a**hole," Alonso said. She added that she later regretted using profanity, but is not sorry.
"I'm not apologizing for calling him a communist because that is what he is," she told WMAL, adding that it's "sad" because Penn is "an amazing actor."
Alonso's criticism of Penn stems from comments he made on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" in which he painted Chavez in favorable terms for the nation's work with aid in Haiti.
"It was a sort of ironic collaboration that birthed our organization in Haiti between the support of Venezuela and the United States army," Penn told the HBO host in early 2010. "And we hope that those kind of collaborations can set an example for future approaches to many other issues. And today was a very productive day. So again I just want to thank President Chavez."
Alonso, who was born in Cuba, wrote an open letter to Penn condemning his comments. The interaction at LAX was the first time the two had met face-to-face since then.