Chuck Ross

Reality Check: Life Is Not Fair. Nowhere Is That More True Than in Hollywood, Where Values Depend Upon Your Value to Hollywood

Oct 28, 2010

So let me get this straight.

Charlie Sheen, model citizen that he is, threatens his wife with a knife one Christmas Day. On probation for that nicety, most recently he allegedly picks up a porn star after boozing and doing coke. He brings her to his room at the Plaza Hotel in New York, while his ex-wife and two daughters are in another room across the hall. A naked Sheen then allegedly goes ballistic and starts tearing the room apart over either a watch he can’t find or his missing wallet. The porn star locks herself in the bathroom, cowering, and on her cell phone she tries to reach a girlfriend of hers who is also “working” in the hotel.

CBS and Warner Bros., for whom Sheen works, don’t really say anything about all this. In his hit sitcom, “Two and a Half Men,” Sheen “plays a jerk,” as L.A. Times staffer Scott Collins writes, also noting that the series made $155 million in ad revenues last season and so far no advertiser is pulling out of Sheen’s show.

And oh yes, “Two and a Half Men” has made a fortune in syndication.

Wait, I misspoke about Sheen’s employers. They have indeed made a statement. They gave Sheen a hefty raise.

Meanwhile, Juan Williams, one of the most thoughtful of news analysts, gets fired by NPR the other day for saying that since 9/11 he gets nervous when he’s at an airport and sees people in traditional Muslin attire waiting to get on the plane. In context, Williams, who is African American, also spoke about bigotry and that one should not regard all Muslims with suspicion.

I’m guessing that if Williams had said the remarks while naked, out of his head on booze and coke, with a naked porn star in the vicinity, and if, at the same time, Williams had an insanely popular TV show that he starred in—oh, let’s call it “All in the Family” where he played a loon racist—not only would Williams not have been fired, but he would have received a huge raise.

Ah, Hollywood …


  1. You are absolutely correct, Chuck. Problem is, that’s just the way it is in the biz these days. If you’re profitable, you can do (mostly) no wrong. I wonder, however: If Sheen made “disparaging” comments about Muslims, Jews, or homosexuals, how fast would he be paraded around as the next Mel Gibson, and thusly blacklisted / fired etc…

  2. Yes. Evidently the moral compass spins on command in Hollywood.

  3. The difference is in one’s expectations of the person at hand. No one is surprised with Sheen’s behavior. Hell I still love Zeppelin’s records but those guys were seriously morally dissipated in their heyday. But so what? They were rock stars and partied like rock stars do.
    The debacle over Mr. Williams is in a different arena: Politics vs. Journalism, which unfortunately have little to do with issues of morality or character. But they sure do make a nice juxtaposition for a blog post!

  4. Aah my town. Gotta love it.

  5. What a stupid article. Juan Williams is neither “thoughtful” nor a victim. I’m sure his $2 million a year will more than make up for the shame of being let go from NPR.

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