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An Open Letter to Charlie Sheen

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I don’t know if my words will actually reach you directly. But, I needed to write to you, Mr. Sheen.

Dear Mr. Sheen:


I've been accidentally following your exploits in the media, and I feel like I just walked in on my parents having sex—you know, where you try to look away as quickly as you can, but the image is burned into your frontal lobe for all eternity. I wanted to apologize for unintentionally intruding. Obviously, you don't know me... and I have little faith that my words will actually reach you directly. Regardless, I needed to write to you.

Your situation smacks of what happened to Judy Garland in the 1960's—with her multiple meltdowns on Jack Paar, Merv Griffin, and other variety shows—and most recently with Whitney Houston's on-again, off-again drug use and erratic behavior—not to mention the now-deceased Corey Haim's documented challenges. But I'm not here to recount and compare your recent outbursts and exploits... I'm merely making a correlation.

I wasn't alive yet when Judy Garland publicly fell from grace, experiencing drug-induced breakdowns... but I did witness both Whitney Houston's and Corey Haim's decline—and ultimate descent into the abyss of tabloid hell. And while the media ripped them apart (and continue to document Whitney's every note that falls flat, every concert she cancels, and her alleged drug relapse)... I find myself appalled. Don't get me wrong... I fully understand: When you're in the public eye, the spotlight is on 24/7. But the media blitz into your personal life, your now-estranged relationship with Two and a Half Men co-creator Chuck Lorre, your canceled contract.. none of this is newsworthy... and it's sad on so many levels:

You requesting $3M per episode—instead of the $2M per episode you're currently paid—isn't newsworthy... it's sad and demands pity. Is your show funny? Sure... but I have to ask you (if it's not too trite): What are you giving back to the world beyond a high-rated sitcom?
I've heard you calling into every radio show that will have you on the air, and booking every morning/late-night show that will have you on... but your rants unfortunately sound like delusions of grandeur... and my heart goes out to you. You have seeming created a false news story to fuel some vain attempt at 15 minutes of fame... which is both confusing and fascinating, as you are already famous.
You aren't making any sense. I wish I could reach you in a moment of clarity/lucidity and have you watch what we see... you would be mortified.

But you, in all your documented confusion and self-inflicted misery, are truly the tip of the iceberg with my sadness. As I write these words in as much non-judgmental English as possible, there are SO many people that are raising up their glasses in joyous celebration to toast another fallen Hollywood Hero... cheering you on as you join the ranks of other troubled movie stars. A simple search on Google produces endless articles and blog posts on your situation... the mere inclusion of your name in an article (coupled with "Today Show") not only drives up search results, but also the CPM rates of blog ads and online advertising. My ears are filled with radio and TV noise flooding the airwaves with soundbite after soundbite of your angry tirades. Curiously, you have seeming surpassed the Mel Gibson Anti-Semitic Rant Coverage and are now reminiscent of the OJ Simpson Helicopter vs Bronco Chase: Everyone knows you're going to crash or be stopped... and they want to see it in High-Def while listening in Surround Sound.

And therein lies my real issue: The combination of the press and the anonymous/ unanimous masses that are out to judge and blast you. These people walk in lockstep, never following a leader, merely following the sheep in front of them... readying their visceral stupidity, and preparing to unload their judgmental, nonsensical written rants, using words that they would NEVER have the guts to say to your face. Look, I get it... things aren't going so well for you right now. I see you on TV and you have the face of a man that believes what he is saying—denial is a powerful thing that way. But I could never bring myself to pass judgment on your situation (beyond my short list above, which is only humble feedback based on what you yourself have stated openly). I am not only too far removed from your situation to offer any kind of opinion (let alone an informed one), but I am not the type of man to sit on my proverbial high horse and judge someone clearly having trouble... and from that judgment somehow instantly feeling better about me, because someone so high is beginning their long fall. (And THAT is what pisses me off about the press covering this as a news story... gleefully outlining your issues. You KNOW that there's more than one reporter out there who woke up at his mistresses' house and rushed in to work to cover your demise. Something about rocks and glass houses is springing to mind...).

In closing, I'm hopeful you will remove yourself from this situation—for your sake and for the sakes of your children. Underneath it all, you are a human being... but right now you are in need of help, Mr. Sheen. While I marvel at your comedic skills, I shake my head at your lack of self-awareness concerning your present plight. I wish you speedy recovery and peace.

Sincerely,

Charles J. Orlando 

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