LOS ANGELES – Sean Penn and Cuban actress Maria Conchita Alonso were once Hollywood co-stars -- but they had an angry bust-up at LAX airport, with Alonso branding Penn a "communist [bleep]hole" after he called her a "pig" in front of a stunned crowd.
It started when Alonso picked up her mother from a Miami flight and spotted Penn in an American Airlines lost luggage area Sunday.
Alonso, born in Cuba and raised in Venezuela, said that her "heart stopped" when she saw the actor, to who she had written an open letter last year to say she was "appalled" by his public support of Hugo Chavez.
She said, "I was very calm. I said, 'I would like to talk to you.' He said, 'I have nothing to say to you ... You have been saying a lot of things about me in the press.' I said, 'How can you defend Chavez?'"
The argument escalated from there. Alonso relates, "I said, 'You are a communist, Sean Penn.'
He said, 'You are a pig!' So I said, 'And you are a communist [bleep]hole! Is it great to live the way you do as a communist?'"
"I went back to my mother, and he started yelling at us," Alonso told us. "I yelled back, 'Communist [bleep]hole!' Nearly 60 people were watching, shocked. My mother wanted to clap, but she couldn't because she was in a wheelchair and she had a small dog in her lap."
Penn, traveling from Haiti, said, "I only knew that a hostile woman was nonsensically berating me.
I didn't realize 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."
The two starred in the 1988 film "Colors," as lovers on different sides of the gang war in Los Angeles.
Alonso, who first recounted the story to Steve Malzberg on Washington, D.C., radio station WMAL, added, "I do apologize for calling Sean Penn a [bleep]hole. He is an intelligent man ...
But if someone calls me a pig, I am not going to turn the other cheek. But I don't regret calling him a communist."