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Why Charlie Sheen Got Away With Abusing Women -- but Galliano Didn't

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NEW YORK -- For eight years as a major TV star and chief macho maniac, Charlie Sheen threatened, abused and scared women in his life, including two wives and numerous escorts, call girls and starlets.

How did Sheen get away with it time and time again? Where was public opinion? Where were the female bloggers and columnists and the feminists groups who are usually ready to jump up and cry out against the smallest hint of sexism and abuse?

Celebrity usually trumps all. Sports figures, movie stars, big financiers may get a pass and even forgiveness and adulation when most people might not. It's not always so.

The fashion designer John Galliano, for instance, was fired on Tuesday by the French fashion house Christian Dior for making anti-Semitic remarks during an assault on a woman at a Paris cafe last week. Galliano paid a price, but that has not been the case for a long time with Sheen.

He was the darling of CBS with the network's top-rated sitcom, "Two and a Half Men." Women loved the show, though it's all about taking sexism to a new level of gross behavior. Men, of course, may have seen a little of themselves in the Sheen character. And the jokes were great.

Sheen, at the same time, built up an impressive list of sexual abuse charges, many of them front-page in the tabloids and featured on the entertainment and gossip shows.

Bedeviled by addictions to drugs and alcohol, Sheen was a serial abuser. He threatened to kill one wife, Denise Richards; tried to strangle and held a knife to the throat of his third wife, Brooke Mueller, on Christmas Day 2009; indulged in public relationships with sex film stars; went on a tear at the Plaza Hotel in New York last fall and threatened a hired call girl who hid in the bathroom.

He got away with it all. In fact, he got richer and more famous. Even after his guilty plea in the Christmas Day incident, the ratings for "Two and a Half Men" kept climbing -- along with his salary. Sheen was making approximately $1.8 million per episode, one of the highest paid actors on television.

But he finally went too far, even for CBS. On a recent radio show, he ranted against his executive producer, Chuck Lorre, calling him "a clown," suggesting he stole from him, and making an anti-Semitic remark against him.

CBS and Warner Bros. pulled the plug on "Two and a Half Men" immediately. An industry that overlooked and belittled Sheen's abuse of women drew the line when it came to insulting the boss.

Sheen appeared unhinged Monday on the "Today" show, saying he was at war with CBS, that it was out to destroy his family, that he was suing the network for $320 million.

There's a certain pattern that successful men in the public eye tend to get away with abusing women sexually, physically, emotionally.

Witness those two legendary quarterbacks, Brett Favre and Ben Roethlisberger.

Favre was at the center of allegations last year that he sent a young New York Jets hostess some provocative photos of himself and sexually suggestive messages. The accusations rippled through the sports world for a while, but Favre never publicly answered the accusation. The issue seemed to go away, and in December, Favre, a future Hall of Famer, retired.

Sex scandals -- mostly involving the abuse of women -- are nothing rare in sports. Early in 2010, the National Football League suspended Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, for four games after he was investigated for, but not charged with, sexually assaulting a woman at a bar in Georgia. He was back in the game in the fall, in time to lead his team to the Super Bowl in January.

In Hollywood, besides Sheen, there's Mel Gibson, who allegedly battered his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, who is the mother of his year-old daughter. He is accused of breaking two of Grigorieva's teeth at their Malibu home last year. Gibson has denied the allegations and faces four years in prison if convicted. But Gibson seems to have received more condemnation for his anti-Semitic rages.

Christian Bale, who won an Oscar for best supporting actor on Sunday night for his role as a crack-addicted has-been boxer in "The Fighter," was accused of assaulting his mother, Jenny, and his sister, Sharon, in 2008, allegations that landed him at a London police station before being released on bail.

A day later he attended the premiere of "The Dark Knight," which earned him raves for his brooding role as Batman/Bruce Wayne. His career has only gone up since "The Dark Knight," culminating with the Oscar on Sunday night. But his private business with his mother and sister apparently is not over, according to

In one of the more bizarre and inexplicable incidents of violence against a woman lately, Galliano was accused of grabbing a respected art historian's hair and calling her an "ugly, disgusting whore" with a "dirty Jew face" during an unprovoked attack in a bar in the fashionable Marais district of Paris.

Galliano, 50, a small-frame, mustachioed Parisian who is a friend of Madonna's and other fashion celebrities, was arrested and initially suspended from his job as the chief designer at Christian Dior. On Tuesday he was fired for his anti-Semitic outbursts contained in a video published Monday.

The video, posted on the website of the British tabloid The Sun, showed Galliano telling other people at the bar, La Perle, that "I love Hitler" and that "people like you should be dead," and "your mothers, your forefathers" would all be "gassed."

The actress Natalie Portman, who won the Academy Award for best actress on Sunday night and who has an endorsement contract with Dior for its Miss Dior Chérie perfume, said in a statement: "I am deeply shocked and disgusted by the video of John Galliano's comments. . . . As an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way."

This time, fame wasn't enough. Galliano didn't get away with it all.
Filed Under: Woman Up

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Ed Wiessing

The author writes, "Sheen, at the same time, built up an impressive list of sexual abuse charges, many of them front-page in the tabloids and featured on the entertainment and gossip shows."

If he got away with ANYthing, where are the police reports? if there were legitimate complaints - not just allegations and innuendo (which, by the way, the author is perpetuating), then where ARE they??? The rhetoric of battling couples, paparazzi, and pseudo-journalists like Ms. Terregrosa is baseless, unless one lends credence to unsubstantiated allefations and rumors.

March 06 2011 at 6:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Charlie Sheen was accused of being abusive to women, but he wasn't convicted of it. In fact I don't think a single charge was prosecuted - they were all dropped. Even people accused of domestic violence deserve to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Men should not be automatically considered guilty of abuse just because they are accused! With Charlie Sheen, it is pretty much what she said against what he said and it is very wrong to assume that anything a woman says is right and anything a man says is a lie or wrong.

Violence against anyone is wrong and men are stronger than women, but women can also be violent and guilty of domestic violence and emotional abuse. It usually takes two to tango or fight and honestly, I have known plenty of women to contribute just as much to domestic violence situations as men, and even be the violent one. Don't get me wrong, I definitely think when there is clear evidence of abuse or assault, anyone, man or woman, should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but I have a big problem with the way women are encouraged to be victims and men are automatically blamed for every domestic violence situation. I have personally witnessed many women treat their men very badly including inflicting emotional and physical abuse. There are bad men and bad women, and good men and good women, but this idea that women are saints and men are evil is flat wrong.

Charlie Sheen may be an ahole, and maybe he is abusive, or just overly emotional and prone to saying stupid things. It is hard to know since I wasn't there, but since he is a popular celebrity and wealthy, I take the accusations with a grain of salt, especially since he was not prosecuted or convicted. The media is happy to jump all over Sheen's every action, and the more dramatic the better, because it attracts viewers and sells papers and commercials. What may have simply have been an ugly fight between a couple, quickly becomes hyped up national news when it happens to a celebrity. Also women are not above over dramatizing fights and situations to squeeze large amounts of money out of wealthy men. Personally, I find that disgusting and also having custody battles with your ex and using your children as pawns to extort large amount of money from them or to get attention. I don't know if CS exes are doing this or not. I am not up on the details of their situations. The point is women play an equal role with men in domestic problems including ones the end in violence. Since Charlie Sheen has not been convicted of a crime in any court that I am aware of, I consider him innocent until proven guilty, and since he makes me laugh, I keep watching his show. Relationships are hard for men and women. I don't expect or need TV actors and comedians to live saintly lives with perfect relationships. As for sleeping with lots of women, so what to that too. Women enjoy sex too and for every man having a one night stand, a woman is having a one night stand too!

March 06 2011 at 2:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Patrick Wanis PhD

PS. Galliano didn't get away with it for the same reason that Sheen is no longer getting away with it - they both made racial slurs and we view racism as worse than beating a woman!

March 04 2011 at 3:44 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Reading this blog absolutely disgusts me, our toleration for celebrity status is absolutely ridiculous. They live in America and should abide by the law just like a normal citizen just because they are a celebrity or a male one at that does not make them any greater of a human being where rules don't apply to them. It is almost unbelieveably what this country lets men get away with as long as they make a profit from it. Some changes definately need to be made and the tolerance for this kind of abuse sexually, emotionally, and physically has to stop.

March 03 2011 at 1:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sexism is just good, clean, sport in America. Feminists like myself have been writing anti-sexism retorts for ages and like women everywhere, we are simply invisible. "Oh. did you say something, I guess I just didn[t hear you, or see you or notice that you were even nearby."

And now the Republicans hav 83 anti-woman bills ready to vote on. Seems the Tea Party faction thinks it has a mandate to war on women even though they were elected to create jobs. They never mentioned their woman-hating ways and the Democrats apparently never pointed it out to the electorate. Pity, we are going back to the dark ages.

March 02 2011 at 3:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Being Human

Sociopath-Carlos "Charlie" Sheen is an insulting menace to women everywhere, an embarrassment to his family, and a huge shame for his parents (especially his poor mother)...They certainly don't deserve this, and for their sakes I hope the "shrinks" evaluate him, & find that he does have some kind of severe, latent mental illness/imbalance that would explain his bizarre, & abusive, behaviors. Perhaps then he could get the help he needs...Better that, then just a plain-old, selfish spoiled- rotten-Hollywood brat, turned contemptible-vile-human being...called Charlie Sheen.

March 02 2011 at 12:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Being Human's comment

I see him as just a slight exageration of everyman.

March 02 2011 at 3:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Honestly, I have never liked Charlie Sheen. I've always thought he was a chump, for years. His behavior has corroborated my sentiments. I guess his fans can only be seen as people worshiping a chump.

March 01 2011 at 7:55 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I noticed that the writer included "indulged in public relationships with sex film stars" among a list of possible crimes presented as evidence of his status as a serial abuser. It does not belong in that list.

March 01 2011 at 7:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sheen is just the type of man women should steer clear of entirely. I'm glad the show was cancelled. I don't care for him personally, nor the character he played on the show. In real life if he didn't have a dime, no woman would want him anyway. To play a playboy, you should have to at least look good!

March 01 2011 at 5:33 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Sheen got away with it the same way Roseanne got away with it at ABC. She abused everyone. But she made them money. It's Hollywood. No morals. So what's new.

March 01 2011 at 4:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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