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Is Harsh Judgment of Charlie Sheen Just Evidence of a Hollywood Double Standard?

Is Harsh Judgment of Charlie Sheen Just Evidence of a Hollywood Double Standard
Is Harsh Judgment of Charlie Sheen Just Evidence of a Hollywood Double Standard
Is Harsh Judgment of Charlie Sheen Just Evidence of a Hollywood Double Standard

By Hollie McKay

Published March 03, 2011


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In the past week, hard-partying “Two And A Half Men” star  Charlie Sheen has given explosive interviews and gone on a rampage against CBS with a string of news outlets ranging from The Today Show to 20/20, all while managing to capture 1 million followers on Twitter.

Amid the madness, he temporarily lost custody of his children and was even dumped by his longtime publicist, Stan Rosenfield, who felt he could “no longer work effectively” as his representative.

But is his seemingly nonsensical behavior really that unusual by Hollywood standards?

Let’s not forget that not so long ago, rock stars like Keith Richards and Steven Tyler were lionized for their bad behavior – substance abuse,  women, out-of-control partying.  Like Charlie, they, too, had kids and wives.

So why is Charlie Sheen being so heavily criticized? Is it just because he can’t play guitar or sing?

“By Hollywood standards, Charlie Sheen’s partying, drug taking, and groupie sex isn’t so uncommon.  It’s sort of the don’t ask, don’t tell of Hollywood: insiders know exactly what’s going on and participate in it, but don’t want the non-Hollywood folks to know,” New York-based psychotherapist, Jonathan Alpert, told FOX411’s Pop Tarts. “The problem is Charlie Sheen’s latest rants are doing just that: drawing attention to the bad behavior that runs rampant in Hollywood.”

And according to pop culture expert Scott Huver, Sheen doesn’t get a free pass because he was never really a member of that revered bad boy club of Hollywood hedonism.

“The most glamorized of the bad boy rockers existed in an era that was more permissive of their indulgence, and their stories were a part of an overall fantasy that goes hand in hand with rock and roll,” Huver said. “Charlie’s never really been part of that kind of fantasy mythos – at best his appeal came as a charismatic actor who seemed to eventually win out over his worst impulses.

“But the new, self-proclaimed ‘winner’ Charlie comes off as a huge disappointment, especially for a man of his age. And in an era of modern media, where every scandal and bonehead move is awaiting to be immortalized in blog posts and YouTube videos, Charlie’s indiscretions feel all the more real and unavoidable, rather than the naughty word-of-mouth tales that sprang up around rock stars.”

Sheen has also managed to make headlines based on his confession that he now has two live-in girlfriends that he refers to as his “goddesses” – yet the pioneer of multiple leading ladies, Hugh Hefner, has had as many as eight girlfriends residing in his famed Playboy Mansion and that never caused as much of a stir.

Nonetheless, Sheen’s fame and fortune came not from his ability to sell nude men’s magazines or sell out music venues and stadiums, but his ability to draw families to the television screen – and when you’re making headlines for all the wrong reasons, television advertisers are bound to back away.

And while there are Facebook groups dedicated to the very vocal actor and defending his wild personal pursuits, many experts believe this latest media blitz may very well have shot dead Sheen’s career as an entertainment industry professional.

“Many people loved and idolized Charlie Sheen and his bad boy ways because he represented the male adolescent who lives purely for pleasure; many men wrote on blogs how they wished they had his life of money, partying and girls – without rules or responsibilities; that’s why people had been so forgiving up till now,” said celebrity life coach and human behavior expert Patrick Wanis, Ph.D.

“Now, the limit has been reached as people witness the consequences of Charlie Sheen’s actions: he looks sickly, gaunt and extremely tired and overstressed; his show has been cancelled, he is becoming an outcast within Hollywood, he speaks with desperation and yet he is expressing narcissism and selfishness along with delusions and hallucinations of grandeur; his words, metaphors and speech are bizarre and frightening to the average person as he makes no sense, and seems to have lost control of his ability to reason.

“Even the adolescent alpha male must grow up and accept the responsibilities and accountabilities of life and become a real father.”

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