The shine went off Sheen a long time ago
Does anything churn the stomach so much as news that Londoners are willing to part with more than $20 for a serving of ice cream made from breast milk?
Actually, yes. And he goes by the name Charlie Sheen. With a rap sheet dating back to the early 90s, the 45-year-old is no slouch in the “Bad Boy” department, as Sheen himself made abundantly obvious in a bizarre interview on A Current Affair last night.
Compared to a tally of Sheen’s misdemeanours even Matt Newton suddenly looks more wholesome than a character on Packed To The Rafters.
It was 21 years ago when the actor dropped the first clue that he might not qualify as stellar boyfriend material - when he managed to “accidentally” shoot his then-fiancee Kelly Preston.
Oddly enough the relationship failed to survive this careless dalliance with firearms. She went on to marry John Travolta, while Sheen embarked on his inaugural trip to rehab.
A few years later his name became synonymous with famous madam Heidi Fleiss, who’s little black book revealed his fondness for the company of call girls.
After a few pesky runs-ins with the law following various battery charges against a handful of women, Sheen’s first marriage ran aground. The decade drew to an inglorious close with him violating parole and reentering rehab after a drug overdose.
By 2005, Sheen was trying to clean up the debris of his second divorce, this time amid allegations he was plagued with gambling, drug and alcohol problems. Oh yes, and still had a weakness for prostitutes.
His subsequent marital experiment ended in eerily similar circumstances, with his soon-to-be-ex telling police he threatened her with a knife.
After a brief stint in jail, and another sojourn in rehab, the past two years have been filled with sordid tales of trashed hotel rooms, terrorised porn stars and unexplained hospital admissions.
Yet through it all, Sheen remained untouchable. Being the highest paid actor on TV with a key role in a top-rating sitcom clearly provides an immunity few mere mortals could comprehend.
And then, after years of turning a blind eye to their leading man’s off-screen offences, his employers miraculously located their conscience.
Late last week, US network CBS and Warner Bros Television announced their decision to discontinue production on Two And A Half Men.
Just like that, the party was over. But why? After failing to hold their meal ticket accountable for so long, what prompted the sudden turnaround?
Surely not just because this time Sheen wasn’t just slapping around an ex-wife or porn star, but had a powerful TV executive in his sights?
Just hours before the network issued a terse statement regarding the “totality of Charlie Sheen’s statements, conduct and condition” the actor went on a bizarre rant in a series of media interviews.
Most damning was his sledging of Two And A Half Men co-creator Chuck Lorre, who he insisted on referring to as Chaim Levine, in what was widely considered an anti-Semitic swipe.
“I embarrassed him in front of his children and the world by healing at a pace that this un-evolved mind cannot process,” rambled Sheen, who also claims to have singled-handedly conquered his demons with no help from that “bootleg cult”, Alcoholics Anonymous.
Clearly Lorre, whom Sheen later described as a “contaminated little maggot”, had finally had enough.
After a lifetime of evading responsibility with self-entitled ease, this was Sheen’s mistake: To verbally attack a well-connected (did I happen to mention male?) industry heavyweight.
His spray against Lorre achieved what two decades of assault allegations against a chorus line of women could not: it sounded the death knell for his career.
According to former talk show host Geraldo Rivera, Sheen’s fatal error was to attack Lorre’s Jewish faith.
“This man is a serial woman abuser,” Rivera says. “He has abused women in every regard in a violent way, injuring some of them and still he has been free to work his trade on the networks.
Everything is forgiven as long as he shows up for work, reasonably sober and he reads his lines… You can be a woman beater in Los Angeles, you cannot be an anti-Semite.”
Few will shed tears over Sheen’s relegation to the unemployment line. Certainly not viewers who have felt increasingly squeamish over his ability to bounce back from each new scandal unscathed, blaming everyone but himself.
Whatever their motivation, the powers-that-be have made the right decision in cutting Sheen loose. Now all that’s left to explain is why it didn’t happen years ago.
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