Take it from Sean Penn: Never discuss politics in polite company - or airport terminals. It'll end in tears.
Penn, 51, got into a heated verbal confrontation at Los Angeles International airport on Sunday with Cuban actress and onetime co-star Maria Conchita Alonso - after she confronted him about his support for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Alonso, 54, who was born in Cuba and raised in Venezuela, recounted the verbal spat in a radio interview with Washington radio station WMAL this week.
The actress (and former beauty queen), whose screen credits include The Running Man and Predator 2, explained that she first clapped eyes on Penn at the same carousel where she and her mother were waiting for their lost luggage.
Alonso, who starred as Penn's on-screen lover in 1988 film Colors, actually wrote an open letter to the actor in March 2010, saying she was "appalled" by his public support for Chavez.
"Being born in Cuba, a country where freedom of speech is nonexistent, it's startling to observe how Venezuela, where I was happily raised, is fast becoming Cuba's mirror image: Dismantling of fundamental democratic rights deserved by its people and citizens of the world," she wrote at the time.
"I was very calm," Alonso recalled of the verbal bust-up with Penn.
"I said, 'I would like to talk to you.' He said, 'Oh, it's you. I have nothing to say to you. You speak badly about me.' I said, 'No, I don't. I just say the truth. That you are a friend of Chavez and that he's a good man. And that's a lie. How can you do that?'"
And that's when it hit the fan.
"So I'm like, 'You are in favour 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," she said.
"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!'"
Actually, she went further.
"The second time I called him a communist, I said 'You're a communist a**hole," in front of a crowd of onlookers at LAX.
"I was so angry and I had all this built inside me for so many years, and he calls me 'a pig.' I just exploded."
"My mother was so happy, she wanted to clap," Alonso said. "I hope someone filmed it on their cell phones. The people were very quiet because it started not loud, but then it became loud."
The actress said she regrets calling Penn an A-hole, but that's as far as it goes.
"I am apologising for that word right now," she said. "But I'm not apologising for calling him a Communist, because that's what he is."
Penn, who was travelling from Haiti, recalled the exchange to the New York Post.
"I only knew that a hostile woman was nonsensically berating me," he said. "I didn't realise it was that actress. I think I worked with her once. But she looks really different. She was uninformed and impolite to all the other passengers."
Check out the audio of Alonso's interview below:
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