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Michael Russnow

Michael Russnow

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Charlie Sheen's Rant: Maybe it's Time to Stop Channeling Mel Gibson

Posted: 02/25/11 08:07 PM ET

Heretofore, I have never been a Charlie Sheen fan nor have I disliked him. I've been disappointed as have many others with his apparent shallow lifestyle and risk-taking with his career. A career he was blessed to have entree to thanks to his father Martin Sheen's acting success, not to mention association with his older brother Emilio Estevez, already working in features, who'd opted not to call attention to his father's fame.

Look, there are any number of actors and producers and writers and directors, as well as politicians and business leaders who've had a leg up on those of us who forged our attempts without such aid, knocking on doors, saying "Look at me. Gimme a chance, too."

Jeff and Beau Bridges, Liza Minnelli, Richard Zanuck, Donald Trump, the Kennedys, Bushes and Udalls all had the help of a family name. Some led almost flawless lives, others have had problems and still others like Jane Fonda had a career tarnished by her political stance. But whether or not you liked Jane Fonda's Vietnam views, she put them forth with her heart. She didn't squander her good fortune by absurd childish behavior and was always professional in her craft.

But this isn't even about Charlie Sheen's drug problems or his alleged mistreatment of his female partners. I'm writing to say "Enough is enough" of this ill-tempered man, who whether he really meant it or not sure looked like he was channeling Mel Gibson with anti-semitic remarks.

Look, I've never worked for Chuck Lorre, executive producer of Two and a Half Men, and have no idea what it's like to do so. I've always wondered about that ego-driven card at the end of his shows' credits, wherein he pontificates about this or that -- necessitating your recording the program and putting the slide on "pause" so that you could read it in the odd chance you were inclined to do so.

But whatever it's like to deal with Chuck Lorre and whether or not he has been fair to Charlie Sheen or particularly ungrateful, he has had a string of hits before Charlie Sheen and didn't need Charlie Sheen to pay off his mortgage.

Worse, however, was Charlie Sheen's reference to Lorre as "Chaim," though Lorre's name is Charles Michael Levine. The "Chaim" reference may or not be Lorre's Hebrew name, perhaps used at his Bar Mitzvah (mine was Matis Yaho -- have no idea if I've spelled it right), but as it's doubtful it was used in a playful manner, as if, let's say, it was common usage to do so on the set, it was shameful and should be condemned by one and all.

I'm not religious and don't wear my Judaism on my sleeve. I love ham and other non-kosher foodstuffs and I don't even observe Yom Kippur, although years of guilt make me aware of the day even as I'm in the air flying to Cologne, Germany as I was in 2008.

But I don't like bigotry. I don't like it when it's expressed about "my people" or Christians or in a ridiculous manner lumping all Muslims as terrorists category.

If Charlie Sheen has a real beef with Chuck Lorre, he should spell it out in professional terms and not get into the muck he has sadly descended by resorting to a quantification of Lorre with a slur. An attention call to those who are like minded to see what he's up against. Not a difficult producer, but a producer who's Jewish.

I'm not one for boycotts and mine won't be that significant since I rarely watched his show on CBS. But maybe boycotts are valid for people like Sheen. Not for the silly way they conduct their lives, but because I don't want to contribute to the success of an awful man.

Michael Russnow's website is ramproductionsinternational.com

 
 
 

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