Right now the media is crammed with stories involving two well-off celebrities who have become poster guys for young people on how not to behave and for parents on how they don’t want their kids to turn out.
First, there’s Charlie Sheen, the enormously talented actor, who has seemingly canceled his own CBS show “Two and a Half Men” by his radio and Internet website interview rants against its producers and CBS. As you read this Sheen will be hitting the NBC and ABC morning news/talk shows. And, oh yes, he’s shopping around a $10 million book deal (the book is sure to be sold and will sell). Here’s just a little bit of the latest:
“I’m not angry, I’m passionate,” the “Two and a Half Men” star said in an interview that airs Monday on NBC’s “Today” show. “Everybody thinks I should be begging for my job back. I’m just gonna forewarn them that it’s everybody else that’s going to be begging me for their job back.”
Sheen shrugged off his partying and porn star-loving ways as “epic, epic behavior.”
In a separate interview, Sheen tells 20/20 he is high – on himself.
“I am on a drug. It’s called Charlie Sheen,” he chortled in an advance clip of an interview with ABC’s Andrea Canning that will run Tuesday.
“I’ve one speed, I’ve one gear, go! And I dare you to keep up with me.”
The interviews are Sheen’s first TV sit-downs since he lashed out last week at the sitcom’s producer, Chuck Lorre, calling him a “stupid, stupid little man,” and a “contaminated maggot.”
That rant prompted execs to nix production on “Men” for the remainder of the season.
“There’s some wrongs to be righted and some stories to tell,” he told 20/20. “People need to hear my side of it.”
Sheen’s main point in interviews seems to be that his private life has never interfered with his worklife and that he should be left alone. But this is separate from his verbal war against his show’s executive producer and what would happen to you or me or any other mortal who similarly dissed a boss or a client who we worked for as independent contractors.
And now there is the case of British fashion designer John Galliano who I take it doesn’t plan to go to too many bar mitzvahs:
FASHION guru John Galliano was filmed having a vile racist rant during which he declared: “I love Hitler.
The British designer – an alleged Jew hater – then tells a horrified woman: “People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f****** gassed.”
(Hey, John, let me clue you in: that’s not the best line to use to begin small talk.)
His tirade was videoed by a friend of the people he was insulting – who were French and Italian, but not Jewish.
Galliano, 50, was at the same Paris bar where he allegedly launched a vicious verbal attack on two people last week – which led to him being arrested and suspended by fashion label Christian Dior.
After stating he loves Hitler and making the gassing remark, a woman is heard to say, ‘Oh my God’ before asking slurring Galliano if he had a problem.
He said: “With you. You’re ugly.” Asked where he was from, he said: “Your a***hole.”
What’s going on here?
Sheen and Galliano — in cases that are indeed, yes, definitely, mixing bad apples and rotten oranges — are examples of what happens when people who have it all feel they don’t have it all. Even if they do.
They want more than all.
They want to have the chance to do and say whatever they want and to verbally abuse others without any consequences, particularly to their bank accounts.
While many people on this earth will never see the day when they have $200 or $2,000 in savings in their bank accounts, let alone $200,000, Charlie Sheen makes $2 million an episode for his well-crafted and well-acted TV show. Now he’s mad because he is paying a price for having made unwise comments as an independent contractor about the source of his show’s paycheck, which was concerned over aspects of his private life that could have impacted the money tied up in the show. From the production company’s viewpoint, Sheen now appears worse than a loose cannon: he’s an en route guided missle.
Now Sheen is angry and shocked that his wishes (that they don’t realize he has the power and they merely record his performances) are not being obeyed and that there are consequences for his words (his show yanked for at least the rest of the season which probably means forever) and his way in dealing with those who provide some of his income.
UPDATE: The New York Post now reports that Sheen plans “to return fire at CBS, Warner Bros. and “Two and a Half Men” creator Chuck Lorre — by slapping them with a $320 million “mental anguish” lawsuit…As part of his lawsuit, which a source said will be filed as early as today, Sheen is expected to demand payment for the ninth season of the sitcom, which has yet to be filmed.”
Galliano, meanwhile, is way, way WAY W-A-Y up there on the nasty scale: because he’s rich, famous, and drinking he apparently feels he can say what he wants and the world can take it or leave it.
In reality both Sheen and Galliano are unlikely to be down for the count.
If Sheen does a book it’ll sell. He’ll get some part in a movie and do his usual professional best and rightfully get good critical reviews for his work. Galliano will be on the outs for a while, then likely do a mea culpa or resurface in some capacity.
The way American culture now works is seen clearly in the Sheen story: NBC and ABC were immediatling scrambling to get him on their morning shows. Why? It’s a hot celebrity story. There’s interest. They could get huge ratings…which is why a future Sheen book or TV show or movie will likely get a big sampling from reading and view audiences. And, really, Sheen has not veered onto the one way career destruction road called Mel Gibson Boulevard despite some comments some deemed as anti-semetic.
He has a future designing Mel Gibson’s wardrobe.
But the bottom line is that our culture now rewards such celebrity excesses unless it crosses the line like a Gibson rant or a Michael Richards explosion. Yes, the rich get do richer and some are allowed to get more arrogant and wear their bigotry on their well designed sleeves.
I mean, why not?
How could we LIVE without their talent and us giving them all that money by patronizing their products?
Meanwhile, Charlie Sheen has begun to resemble this character from The Godfather:
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.