Spotlight Co-Writer Was Not Happy with Sean Penn’s ‘El Chapo’ Interview

'He doesn’t know what professional journalism is.'

Josh Singer Photo by Olga Khvan

Josh Singer Photo by Olga Khvan

Spotlight co-writer Josh Singer doesn’t mind seeing actors portray reporters on screen, but he draws the line when stars try to act like journalists in real life.

Following Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards, The Wrap’s editor-in-chief Sharon Waxman caught up with Singer to get his thoughts on Sean Penn’s controversial interview with Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán for Rolling Stone.

The producer and screenwriter didn’t seem too happy about the piece and thinks it’s sad that the journalism business has to resort to using a Hollywood A-lister instead of a seasoned reporter in order to get a story.

“I wish we didn’t need Sean Penn to interview people and act like a journalist,” Singer said. “I wish we had more real journalists on the ground doing that work. And sadly, the last 15 years has decimated the newspaper business and decimated reporters.”

Singer added that many professional journalists have lost their jobs in recent years, opening the door for people like Penn to act like reporters.

The screenwriter hopes that Spotlight–which chronicles the Boston Globe‘s investigation into the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal–highlights the importance of real journalists and the huge impact they can have on society.

“We’ve got Sean Penn interviewing people instead of professional journalists and I think that’s an issue,” Singer said. “He doesn’t know what professional journalism is… One of the things we’re trying to get out of [Spotlight] is how much more of that we need.”