Charlie Sheen blacklisted? Actor Claims Hollywood “Blacklisted” Him After Two and a Half Men Debacle.
In court documents this week, Charlie Sheen claims to be in a “dire financial crisis,” with less than $10 million to his name—which qualifies as a crisis if you’re a TV star who once earned $1.8 million an episode. The actor has filed requests to reduce his child-support payments, claiming that he has “been unable to find steady work, and [has] been blacklisted from many aspects of the entertainment industry.”
Right now, the word “blacklisted” carries a lot of weight in Hollywood; as Roseanne Barr continues to deal with the fallout from the racist tweet that got her fired in May, right-wing pundits and trolls alike have launched campaigns for various left-wing creators, including James Gunn and Dan Harmon, to be fired on the basis of their old jokes. Sheen’s “blacklisting” had very little to do with politics; to quote one studio exec, speaking to Deadline in 2011, he simply became “uninsurable.”
For those whose memory of Sheen’s downward spiral is a bit hazy: the actor’s CBS show, Two and a Half Men, went on hiatus in January 2011 as Sheen entered a rehabilitation facility, following a history of alcohol and drug abuse, multiple previous stints in rehab, and alleged domestic violence against multiple women. Soon after, Sheen—the highest-paid actor on TV at the time—demanded a 50 percent raise and publicly insulted the sitcom’s co-creator Chuck Lorre, which led to his subsequent dismissal from the series. As reports circulated that Sheen was being shopped around for a new comedy, industry insiders were skeptical about his prospects given his volatile past.
In 2012, Sheen did debut a new comedy after all: Anger Management, on FX. The show ran for two years—and netted Sheen a deal potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars. (Evidently, the short-lived series was not as profitable as Sheen hoped it would be—though the actor’s representative denied reports that he was angry about withheld back-end pay.) That was Sheen’s last gig as a series regular; after coming out as H.I.V.-positive in 2015, the actor has maintained a relatively low profile.
Sheen’s reaction to the ongoing narrative surrounding Barr and her dismissal from ABC has been fascinating. Both he and Barr have a history of erratic public behavior—and both sounded off about the other’s network dismissal. Following Sheen’s firing in 2011, Barr wrote a blog post titled “Charlie Sheen makes me look sane,” in which she said the actor was not on drugs and instead slammed Two and a Half Men co-creator (and former Roseanne writer) Lorre, calling him a “big drunk” and insulting the show’s writing. Sheen’s response to Barr’s ouster following her racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett was less supportive: he cheered her departure—and seized the opportunity to pitch his own return to network television with a Two and a Half Men revival, writing, “the runway is now clear for OUR reboot.” Sheen’s former co-star Jon Cryer, who stayed with the show until its 2015 series finale, responded with a succinctly sarcastic question: “What could possibly go wrong?”