The 53-year-old actor lost his cool this week at the Lobby Bar in San Francisco's St. Regis Hotel. According to TMZ, which obtained footage from the incident, he saw a camera phone flash in his direction while he was relaxing with friends and confronted the snap-happy patron.
"Do we look like f--king zoo animals?" the Oscar winner reportedly shouted at the man, who was not a paparazzo. He then grabbed the phone and threw it to the ground, yelling, "I'll make you eat the phone ... Get the f--k out of here!"
"The Gunman" star, who is apparently trying to compete with Alec Baldwin for the title of Hollywood's biggest hothead, has long been known for his outbursts, which have largely been directed at photographers, not fans. Let's look back at some of his other tirades...
1985: During his high-profile romance with Madonna, the "Milk" star was bothered by the constant media attention. In the parking lot of a Nashville hotel with the pop star that June, they were approached by a tabloid reporter and photog trying to score an interview. Penn became enraged and threw a rock at a photographer, grabbing the man's camera and using it to hit him. He then punched out the reporter. In addition to being arrested, the famous couple was later slapped with a $1 million lawsuit over the incident, with the plaintiffs describing Penn as a "mean and moody film star ... particularly prone to brawling and fighting in public."
Penn has been fighting with photographers since the 1980s. (WireImage)
January 1986: While shooting "Shanghai Surprise" with his then-wife Madonna in Macau, a photographer broke into their hotel room and Penn and his bodyguard became involved in a scuffle with the man. During the incident, they dangled the intruder over the ledge of the star's ninth-floor hotel room, according to his authorized biography, "Sean Penn: His Life and Time." Penn told the author he and his bodyguard were arrested for attempted murder and taken to jail. However, the cell door was left open and they escaped. "We took off, got out," he recounted, noting that they left Macau soon after. "A year later, I got in the mail at my house a pardon from the Portuguese government on a crime of which I was never convicted — no explanation, but I was pardoned, I guess, for flight and anything else that followed."
Penn ran into much of his trouble when he was with Madonna. (Wireimage)
April 1986: Penn freaked out when he thought he saw his wife kissing songwriter David Wolinski at a L.A. nightclub. He attacked the man, pushing him off his seat and repeatedly kicking him. He later pleaded no contest to battery and received a year of probation, 250 hours of community service, and a fine of $1,700.
1987: While filming "Colors," Penn assaulted an extra who was trying to snap some candid photographs of the star. The attack was a violation of his probation, so that — coupled with a reckless driving charge (during which he was over the legal drinking limit) — scored him a 60-day jail sentence.
1988: Over New Year's Eve weekend, Madonna filed an assault report stemming from an incident that occurred at their Malibu home. Contents of the report were never released, but he was charged with felony domestic assault. However, in January, she withdrew the complaint and prosecutors dropped the case. (The pair divorced the following year.)
2009: Penn was charged with battery and vandalism for punching a photographer and breaking his camera outside Brentwood Country Mart in Los Angeles in October. He was sentenced to three years of probation, 300 hours of community service, as well as anger management class.
Drama seems to run in the family for the Penn men. Earlier this year, his 20-year-old son Hopper, whose mother is the actor's ex-wife Robin Wright, was out with his father in Los Angeles when he had a dispute with a photographer and used a racial slur. In a statement issued after the incident, Hopper said he was "made to feel like an animal," a comment similar to what his dad yelled this week in San Francisco.
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