Charlie Sheen’s lawyer says the star of CBS’s “Two and a Half Men” took to the airwaves to defend himself against comments by show producer Chuck Lorre, including “outrageous insults” that appear on TV after some episodes.
“Mr. Lorre has repeatedly made negative and derogatory comments about our client, and harassed Mr. Sheen on the set,” Martin Singer said in a letter yesterday to CBS and Warner Bros. “With Warner Bros. and CBS’s permission, Mr. Lorre has also disseminated outrageous insults and derogatory remarks targeting my client in vanity cards at the end of Mr. Lorre’s shows.”
Paul McGuire, a Warner Bros. spokesman in Burbank, California, declined to comment, as did Chris Ender, a spokesman for New York-based CBS Corp. Lorre’s publicist, Pam Wilson, didn’t respond to a request for comment. Sheen’s publicist, Stan Rosenfield, resigned yesterday.
The claims are part of a five-page letter from Singer that threatens legal action if Sheen isn’t paid for the eight episodes that were canceled. CBS and Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc., halted production last week. “Two and Half Men’s is TV’s most-watched comedy.
Singer listed several comments from so-called vanity cards that follow credits on “Two and a Half Men” and other shows Lorre produces. Among the statements, wrote Singer, were those listed under a “To Do List” that included “Go to Al-Anon meeting” and “Write a country song entitled ‘Hooker in the Closet.’”
The references are to Sheen’s acknowledged substance use and publicity surrounding an incident in which a woman with Sheen in a New York hotel room took refuge in a closet.
“Do not attempt to replicate what you saw in tonight’s episode of ‘Two and a Half Men,” said one posting at Lorre’s website. “This is extremely dangerous behavior and could result in injury or death. Please keep in mind that we employ a highly-paid Hollywood professional who has years of experience with putting his life at risk. And sadly no, I’m not talking about our stunt man.”
Singer’s letter says CBS and Warner employed “a double standard by permitting Mr. Lorre to engage in a public rant against Mr. Sheen.”
Lorre has been posting vanity cards on his shows for years. His website lists an archive from programs including “Dharma and Greg,” which ran from 1997 to 2002, and “Grace Under Fire,” which first aired in 1993, according to the Internet Movie Database.
The cards flash briefly on screen at the end of a show.
CBS and Warner Bros. stopped production of the show last week, citing “the totality of Charlie’s Sheen’s statements, conduct and condition” after the star first commented on Lorre.
Sheen’s attorney wrote that his client was “ready, willing and able to perform his obligations under his contract” and that “he recently passed a urine test, the results of which have already been submitted to you.”
Speaking at an investor conference in San Francisco, CBS Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves said he hoped the show would return.
“He’s on the air quite a bit this day,” Moonves said. “I wish he would have worked this hard to promote himself for an Emmy.”
CBS fell 67 cents to $23.19 at 4:01 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Time Warner declined 61 cents to $37.59.