The Charlie Sheen Media Saga: Is Violence Against Women Really Okay?
March 3, 2011 Leave a comment
Perhaps the strangest aspect of the whole Charlie Sheen media storm, at least from my perspective, is that the furor has been about his drug use and his tirades against his producer. Don’t get me wrong, those aren’t good things, but physically and verbally abusing women, seem like activities that should be a bit higher on the outrage meter. Yet Sheen always appears to get a pass when it comes to those behaviors.
One would think that such actions against women would cause overwhelming media furor, some national outrage, maybe a few raised eyebrows on the part of CBS. And Sheen didn’t simply accost one woman, there were a number and he did it repeatedly over the years. Why was this behavior so forgivable, whereas drug abuse and name calling cause production to come to a halt? Much of this behavior started before his current TV show, but it has continued throughout the years. To give credit where credit is due, CNN did report on these issues with a report called: “Scandals Don’t Faze Charlie Sheen’s Career.” The segment echoed the fact that no one seemed to care.
Just to cover some of his history on this front, Sheen served two years’ probation for a 1996 assault on then-girlfriend Brittany Ashland. A year earlier he settled a case out of court with a woman who claimed he’d hit her when she refused to have sex with him. In 1990, in an incident deemed an accident; he shot his then fiancée Kelly Preston in the arm; not to mention the accounts by ex-wives Denise Richards’ and Brooke Mueller. Other accusations coming from hookers and porn stars have followed. His choosing to take drugs, or going off on a tirade against his employers just doesn’t seem to fall in the same category as physical abuse; yet it was his most recent actions that caused to (at least temporarily) pull the plug.
Granted Sheen was not overly polite to his producer. In a recent interview he said that he (Sheen) must have embarrassed him (Lorre) “in front of his children and the world by healing at a pace that his un-evolved mind cannot process.” He then ranted on calling Lorre a “turd” and a “clown” and later used an anti-semitic term while referring to Lorre’s name. None of that will win you high grades with your employer, but still it pales compared to some of Sheen’s other actions.
But, so seems to be the case. Now that Sheen has been chastised by CBS and his show has been halted, what moves can he make? First and foremost he needs to stop trying to control the media storm. Currently he’s basically trying to put out the fire with gasoline. From what I’ve seen, his recent interviews are only digging a deeper hole. He needs to understand he’s not the one to make the call in this situation. That’s obviously something that’s difficult for him. Right now it’s not clear if he fully understands the gravity of the situation. He’s in crash and burn mode and he might need to completely hit the wall before he can start to work on repairing the damage. It will take time. He’ll need to publicly own up to what he’s done. He’ll need to show true remorse and find ways to make amends. The public is forgiving. If they see that he has changed his ways, that he sees what he’s done and that he is truly sorry, he can start to win them back. He’s one of, the if not the, top paid actors on TV (or was until recently). He’s the star of a top rated network show. He can turn this around, but not by continuing his current behavior. An advisor needs to step in and take control of this free-fall. It can be reversed to some extent, but before the media damage can be repaired, the crux of the matter needs to be dealt with.
From my perspective, the real question isn’t whether Sheen can turn this situation around, but why this fiasco was allowed to drag on so long and why action wasn’t taken sooner. More importantly why were the acts of violence against women not deemed that important? In the end that might say more about us and the media than it does about Charlie Sheen.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011