Charlie Sheen makes me uncomfortable.
And until Warner Brothers and CBS finally pulled the plug on Sheen's "Two And A Half Men" top-rated television show, they made me uncomfortable in their silence in recent weeks. For, as we know in our society and especially with celebrities, money talks. While Sheen kept up his rants, more and more viewers flocked to watch his sitcom, in which Sheen reportedly had been paid nearly $2 million an episode.
Since Warner Brothers fired Sheen, he has filed a $100 million lawsuit for lost wages for him and the crew for the last eight episodes of the show that were canceled. And how was your week?
Now we hear that Sheen is literally taking his "Sheen's Corner" on the road with live performances of his "shtick" beginning in Detroit and Chicago.
What seems to get lost in this debacle are the women and children left in his wake. Sheen is leaving a trail of domestic violence incidents involving weapons and threats and gloating statements portending alleged harm coming to female relatives of his former spouse and soon-to-be ex-wife.
Sheen's very public unraveling obviously delights some segments of the community, mostly male, but truly not those who work in the mental health field. He has his Greek Chorus that feeds his ego. He has his entourage of yes men and porn stars to fill any need, request or whim, whether it be the drink that he sips beneath camera range or the machete that someone hands him as he stands tall atop a building waving his weapon like a general in battle leading his army.
As with millions of viewers, I couldn't get enough of watching Sheen. Yes, he can be a very funny man, which is supported by the fact that he is the highest paid actor on television. However, disgust mounted when news reports indicated that advertisers were capitalizing on Sheen's success by cherry-picking some Sheenisms that the actor has splattered within his diatribe. These words include tiger blood and winning.
In a tweet, the American Red Cross said: "We may not collect tiger blood, but we know our donors and volunteers have fierce passion for doing good."
That makes my blood curdle. Using that phrase just condones Sheen's antics. Also, McDonald's reported tweeted the following: "Despite all the rumors there r no plans 2 bring #mclobster or mcsushi 2 the US menu. We r working on a new menu item called McWinning." You can just see and hear the "Mad Men" sitting around the conference table praising their own creativity.
Getting lost is that Sheen's public and private image is not very pretty when it comes to women. Any advertiser, television executive, producer or corporate entity who hires Sheen or capitalizes on his success whether it be in dollars, viewers or customers, just doesn't get it. Putting a "McWinner" or as someone else suggested a "Warlock" burger on the menu says to me and all women, that Sheen is a good man and let's praise and support him. The American Red Cross should know better. It doesn't matter that it is a tweet; such a reference degrades the organization and makes light of the good work that the Red Cross does.
Warner Brothers and CBS finally came to their senses. Despite past incidences of Sheen's alleged incidents of domestic violence, they continued to employ him on the show. Maybe, they didn't have enough just cause. As the weeks went by, and these producers, executives and CEOs continued to remain silent, I was wondering where the women's groups were in all of this. Unlike Sheen, they seem to have remained silent. If Sheen had been allowed to resume taping the last four or eight segments of this season's "Two and A Half Men," I would have suggested a full press boycott of the show's sponsors.
But, who am I?
I am just a woman, mother and grandmother who years ago identified with the rights for women that Betty Friedan sought for women. I am just a woman who remembers in high school the limited opportunity for women in sports, especially in intercollegiate competitive sports.
The women in Sheen's life have been quite silent. We hear comments like "that's Charlie" or "he's a good father." I understand they have a lifestyle and children to raise. Sheen has five children. And allegedly his ex-wife and soon-to-be ex-wife receive $55,000 a month in support.
As someone who has earned a living interviewing people, I've been fascinated watching how the TV journalists and talk show hosts have interviewed Sheen. Their styles have ranged from professional to downright "folksy." Piers Morgan certainly didn't gain any respect in my book for the way he interviewed Sheen, as he repeatedly reminded Sheen how "they went way back." In fact, I couldn't believe how many times Morgan interjected his own opinion, even going so far as to say that Sheen had a right to live his private life as he saw fit and that the way he led his private life had nothing to do with his performance in the sitcom. After all, he showed up for work and did his lines as expected.
Well, Piers, we viewers expect more from you as a host of a talk show, especially one in which you are stepping into Larry King's shoes. Morgan is so concerned about watching his own back that he basically quivers in the wake of anyone with stature or a pretty face. (Note, the Sharon Stone interview).
Kudos to NBC's Jeff Rossen, who has been doing as phenomenal job with his interviews, especially considering he is getting up in the middle of the night on the West Coast to meet the East Coast "Today Show" live broadcast.
Charlie Sheen may not be filming any more new TV segments for "Two And A Half Men," but it remains to be seen if and where he resumes his TV or movie career. In the meantime, I suggest we all keep watch.
Rita Papazian is a freelance writer who has covered Norwalk extensively. She can be reached at email@example.com.