Video: CNN misses the story on Sheen meltdown

posted at 12:55 pm on February 25, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

I wasn’t going to write anything about Charlie Sheen’s career suicide this week, since I don’t watch Two and a Half Men or much episodic television at all these days. Sheen appeared on the Alex Jones radio show yesterday, not an unusual place for a Truther to make an appearance, and went on a bizarre-even-for-Sheen rant that included anti-Semitic comments about his show’s producer and co-creator, Chuck Lorre, calling him “Chaim Levine” (Levine is Lorre’s birth name). CBS responded by putting the show on hiatus the rest of the season, and probably won’t bring it back, at least not with Sheen.

When Mel Gibson made anti-Semitic remarks a few years ago, it became part of the running commentary at CNN on everything Gibson did. But watch this two-minute clip from CNN today on the Sheen story, in which Sheen’s anti-Semitic remarks in both the Jones interview and his later open letter get zero mention at all:

CNN viewers must be a little confused if they don’t bother checking on the story elsewhere. The two hosts make it sound as though Sheen got fired (in practice if not in form) for merely being mean to his producer and to Alcoholics Anonymous.

ABC, in contrast, didn’t just mention the anti-Semitic remarks but led with them this morning:

Sheen addressed the suspension of the show in an open letter obtained by celebrity news website TMZ.

“What does this say about [anti-Semitic term referring to Lorre] after he tried to use his words to judge and attempt to degrade me,” Sheen wrote in the letter that came to light late Thursday. “I gracefully ignored this folly for 177 shows. …

But Sheen didn’t stop there and went on to call Lorre a “turd” and a “clown” and later used an anti-Semitic term while referring to Lorre’s name. Sheen said he is eager to get back to work, despite his escalating a public battle with the producers of the hit comedy.

Later, Sheen apparently challenged Lorre to a fight. Sheen said, “if he wins, then he can leave MY show,” according to TMZ.

Sheen told TMZ, ” I violently hate [anti-Semitic term referring to Lorre]. He’s a stupid, stupid little man and a … punk that I’d never want to be like.”

The anti-Semitism was hardly an accident, and it at least appears likely that it triggered the shutdown of the show as CBS needed to distance itself from it. So why did CNN not just avoid commenting on it, but cut the audio on the original show to keep the “Hymie Levine” part of Sheen’s remarks off the air? Given CNN’s handling of Gibson, it looks very strange indeed, and not accidental.

If nothing else, it’s worth noting that Rick Sanchez has been proven wrong.

Update: When I heard the audio last night at TMZ, I heard “Hymie,” not “Chaim”, but on a second listen, commenters are right in that he said (phonetically) “Hime”; “Chaim” is pronounced a little differently.  At any rate, Chuck Lorre’s birth name is Charles Levine, not Chaim Levine, and he very clearly goes by Chuck.  At any rate, a man who changed his name from Carlos Irwin Estevez has very little room in sneering at someone else’s choice to use a different name for professional reasons.

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For someone who is “healed” and clean he sure sounds completely coked up, IMO

clnurnberg on February 25, 2011 at 2:33 PM

No question in my mind. He was completely loaded in this interview. LOL*

It’s funny in a way because he’s such an addict, people are guessing around about it. Classic.

AnninCA on February 25, 2011 at 2:35 PM

I wonder if he’s a Democrat.

Akzed on February 25, 2011 at 2:37 PM

Well if Charlie wants to wine and dine a bunch of women and throw away all his money on extravagant trips to exotic islands and snort tens of thousands of dollars up his nose it’s his right to do so. But here’s a news flash for you Charlie…EVERYone can be replaced, including you. And NO one has to put up with your verbal abuse and insults. No. One. Bye bye!

scalleywag on February 25, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Actually, it’s not a right to use cocaine and if we ever want to get serious about drug abuse we have to stop glorifying famous users. Kick’em to the curb if the first rehab is a fail.

clnurnberg on February 25, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Well, yea, that’s not a right, it’s a choice and sadly he chose that over his costars and his career and his relationships and his physical and well being, but it was his choice, no one can stop someone who wants to do that.

scalleywag on February 25, 2011 at 2:44 PM

CNN viewers must be a little confused if they don’t bother checking on the story elsewhere.

If they ever crosschecked ANYTHING, they wouldn’t be CNN viewers.

logis on February 25, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Tony Soprano on February 25, 2011 at 2:35 PM

Who would have thought that an article would qualify as smearing an overpaid, woman abusing, drug addicted, alcoholic bigot.

katiejane on February 25, 2011 at 2:59 PM

CNN viewers must be a little confused if they don’t bother checking on the story elsewhere. The two hosts make it sound as though Sheen got fired (in practice if not in form) for merely being mean to his producer and to Alcoholics Anonymous.

CNN — Owned by Time-Warner.
Two and A Half Men — Owned by Time-Warner.

Even if the show never goes back into production, toning down the Mel Gibson comparisons can be good for Warner Bros. syndication rights, and for future ratings, when the show inevitably ends up as part of TBS’ sitcom re-run rotation.

jon1979 on February 25, 2011 at 3:04 PM

I don’t see anything antisemitic in calling somebody his given name, and I am Jewish.

Chudi on February 25, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Just looking at some of the women Charlie Sheen had been with makes me want to go out and get a shot of Penicillin. And I wonder where all of these sleezy ladies will be once Charlie is broke and out of a career. I sure as hell don’t think his sparkling personality is gonna win over the girls.

He’s a cliche just waiting to happen. I give him about two years (if he lives that long) before he bottoms out. And never never underestimate the power of denial. It’s working wonders for Charlie.

greasywrench on February 25, 2011 at 3:17 PM

I a a huge fan of the show, and I think about 2 weeks ago, Lorre wrote a vanity card, which he does at the end of the show. The card slammed Sheen, and basically ended with the statement that Lorre would be really pissed, if he died before Charlie Sheen.

No matter what happens, Lorre started this nonsense.

Chudi on February 25, 2011 at 3:17 PM

I wonder if he’s a Democrat.

Akzed on February 25, 2011 at 2:37 PM

I’m amazed you need ask…

oldleprechaun on February 25, 2011 at 3:28 PM

I a a huge fan of the show, and I think about 2 weeks ago, Lorre wrote a vanity card, which he does at the end of the show. The card slammed Sheen, and basically ended with the statement that Lorre would be really pissed, if he died before Charlie Sheen.

No matter what happens, Lorre started this nonsense.

Chudi on February 25, 2011 at 3:17 PM

What’s a vanity card? You mean, he put that up so that viewers read it at the end?

Wow.

AnninCA on February 25, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Frankly if Charlie Sheen somehow manages to hit rock bottom without dying I will be greatly surprised. I wish him well and pray for him but I don’t feel optimistic about his future. I see him succeeding in his self-destruction.

Carl on February 25, 2011 at 3:33 PM

What’s a vanity card? You mean, he put that up so that viewers read it at the end?

Wow.

AnninCA on February 25, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Yes, he did.

It’s something flashed quickly at the end during the credits where he’s generally allowed to say whatever he wants. You have to freeze-frame in order to read what it say.

He’s taken swipes at CBS, Sheen, and others in the cards, as I found while searching for the one explaining why he’s no longer Chaim Levine.

teke184 on February 25, 2011 at 3:35 PM

He’s taken swipes at CBS, Sheen, and others in the cards, as I found while searching for the one explaining why he’s no longer Chaim Levine.

You mean, other than the fact that his birth name is Charles, not Chaim?

A few years ago I would have bet money that Robert Downey Jr would have ended up OD’ing in a gutter while Charlie Sheen appeared to have been turning his life around.
Now? Not so much.
Honestly, all they have to do with that show is hire Matthew Perry as replacement to Charlie and they’d have the same show…. No one would notice.

mjk on February 25, 2011 at 3:46 PM

You mean, other than the fact that his birth name is Charles, not Chaim?

Find my post earlier in the thread. I’ve quoted and linked Lorre’s own words on the subject, where he specifically refers to himself as being Chaim, as broadcast in one of his “vanity cards”.

teke184 on February 25, 2011 at 3:50 PM

Chances are the “Chaim” he refers to is either a Hebrew name or the name of the ancestor he was named for and not his given name as there is nothing to substantiate that his name was Chaim. He said “how does CHaim become Chuck”? Well that’s easy. When jews look to name kids after deceased relatives with highly ethnic or odd names the simply choose one with the same first letter. In my husband’s family Moishe became Mark, Fruma became Florence. Not even the Wikipedia entry supports Chaim as the given name.

As for the anti-semitism, HA originally stated that Sheen called Lorre “Hymie Levine” which would have been a slur.

clnurnberg on February 25, 2011 at 4:31 PM

This feud is between Sheen and Lorre. There’s no reason to get involved in a stupid Hollywood argument about who “deserves” to outlive whom, or who is more talented, or who has more clout in the business.

Re: “Chaim”
So far as pronunciation goes, even if formally properly enunciated, the “ch” preceding vowels is NOT hard, but soft, and not likely reproduced well at all on typical microphones.

Update: When I heard the audio last night at TMZ, I heard “Hymie,” not “Chaim”, but on a second listen, commenters are right in that he said (phonetically) “Hime”; “Chaim” is pronounced a little differently. At any rate,

SEVEN times Ed calls Charlie Sheen anti-Semitic, proud to be the one to paint the banner for the world to read and believe. After all, Ed’s such a nice guy and all. Yet Ed failed to retract his smear job, admitting that Sheen isn’t a racist.

Geez Ed. You read into Sheen some nasty bigotry that wasn’t there but that you wanted to find. I’d suggest you reflect how your own prejudice looks, particularly when you refuse to admit it’s there, which is when it’s the ugliest sort of bigotry, calculated, that can’t claim ignorance.

maverick muse on February 25, 2011 at 4:55 PM

Actually if you do a little research you find that Lorre’s vanity card about outliving Sheen was in direct response to Sheen saying he was going to outlive Lorre. Chuckster sis not start this little war of words.

bdestini on February 25, 2011 at 4:56 PM

I’m pretty confused about what was anti-Semitic. Various websites (and Ed) are referring to “Haim Levine” as an anti-Semitic term as if that’s a factual statement? Am I missing some other quote? I’m Jewish, and I don’t think that’s anti-Semitic at all.

Sounds like he was trying to get under his skin with references to his past or something. But even if he was saying it because he’s anti-Semitic and for the two of them it had that connotation (which seems like complete speculation), reporting it factually as “an anti-Semitic term” seems totally ridiculous to me.

tneloms on February 25, 2011 at 5:37 PM

I don’t see anything antisemitic in calling somebody his given name, and I am Jewish.

Chudi on February 25, 2011 at 3:14 PM

There isn’t anything antisemetic in that. Ed mishear Sheen and then later just said that Sheen’s hypocritical for railing on about the guy’s real name.

Also, I wouldn’t admit to liking the show.

Esthier on February 25, 2011 at 5:52 PM

I also think it’s hilarious that a man who doesn’t have a cajones to go by Carlos Estevez is mocking someone else for having a stage name.
At least his brother, Emilio, didn’t bother with the name change. Perhaps Carlos realizes that the only way he could get into movies/TV was by trading on his Daddy’s stage name?

mjk on February 25, 2011 at 5:55 PM

There isn’t anything antisemetic in that. Ed mishear Sheen and then later just said that Sheen’s hypocritical for railing on about the guy’s real name.

Esthier on February 25, 2011 at 5:52 PM

That’s not really the whole story, though. Plenty of news outlets are referring to it as an “anti-Semitic term.” I really don’t get it.

tneloms on February 25, 2011 at 6:02 PM

His real names is Charles.

CHUCK LEVINE PRODUCTIONS, #119

Let me explain. I was born Charles Michael Levine and went by the name Chuck Levine until I was twenty-six years old. The reason I changed my name was simple. My mother, never a fan of my father’s family, had an unfortunate habit of using Levine as a stinging insult. When displeased with me, she would often say/shriek, “You know what you are? You’re a Levine! A no good, rotten Levine!” So, for as far back as I can remember, every time I heard my last name I would experience acute feelings of low self-esteem. Whenever roll was called in school I would sit in quiet dread as the teacher ticked off the L’s: “Labianca, Lepkowitz… Levine — Arghhh!” My first wife was the one who suggested I change my name to remedy the situation. In fact, it was she who came up with the name Lorre, complete with the fancy spelling. I thought it sounded great. Chuck Lorre. Charles Michael Lorre. Finally a name that did not make me squirm. It didn’t occur to me that in England my new name translated into Chuck Truck. Nor did I realize that the famous actor, Peter Lorre, was mostly famous for playing smarmy, closeted gay guys (not that there’s anything wrong with it). But most interestingly, I had completely forgotten that when I was around eight years old my father’s business began to fail, forcing my mother to find work in a clothing store called… Lorie’s. Pretty creepy, huh? Did I abandon my father’s name only to unconsciously name myself after a place associated with my mother’s abandonment of me? Or, even creepier, did my ex-wife somehow know all this and propose the name Lorre just to screw with me. Hmmm… I was a no good, rotten husband so I certainly had it coming.

Blake on February 25, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Also:
Are people here really defending Charlie Sheen? Really? He’s an out of control drug addict who has a history of assaulting various girlfriends and wives, car accidents and treats women like they are baseball cards to be used and discarded. He’s a horrible, horrible person who clearly doesn’t care and is not interested in changing his life for the better.
He’s an awful person. Period.
I don’t wish him dead, but I certainly would NEVER defend him against some other d-bag.

mjk on February 25, 2011 at 6:03 PM

His friend and fellow producer Bill Prady says his real name is Charles.

Referring to him as Chaim, Hymie, etc., and especially on that crappy Alex Jones show is to let his fellow Joo haters know that Lorre is a Jew. Yeah, that’s antisemitic.

Blake on February 25, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Lorre may be an annoying lib, but I see nothing to suggest that he is a dreadful abusive person. I believe he’s quite a humanitarian. In any event any producer who kicks someone like Sheen to the curb is okay. I am sick of this celebrity culture where druggies are idolized. It makes it look cool and wonderful to do cocaine, assault people and act like an ass. You or I would be in jail for Sheen’s behavior, man of us would have lost our job with a dirty drug screen. I see no reason why the entertainment industry must help fuel the drugs are cool fantasy.

clnurnberg on February 25, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Sheen has 5 young kids. Great role model. They might as well book a room at Betty Ford for them now.

Blake on February 25, 2011 at 6:16 PM

His friend and fellow producer Bill Prady says his real name is Charles.

Referring to him as Chaim, Hymie, etc., and especially on that crappy Alex Jones show is to let his fellow Joo haters know that Lorre is a Jew. Yeah, that’s antisemitic.

Blake on February 25, 2011 at 6:05 PM

I can believe that, but I haven’t read enough of the context to tell how much of that is speculation. But either way, does that mean that news outlets should referring to it as an “anti-Semitic term” and blanking it out?

tneloms on February 25, 2011 at 6:18 PM

wonder what it was like to be John Cryer working with this idiot all this time.

John Cryer deserves a well written series centered around his character. HE is one underrated talent.

Sheen, over rated, way about over rated.

Hey Carlos Estevez if it wasn’t for Cryer agreeing to work beside you in such a professional matter each day, you’d be nothing dude.

pabo on February 25, 2011 at 6:22 PM

He’s on a radio show known for antisemitism repeatedly referring to the guy as Chaim and Hymie – which are *not* his given names. That some media blocked out the names is their problem. It does not change the fact that Sheen was behaving like an antisemite.

Blake on February 25, 2011 at 6:24 PM

I guess we know what Hollywood thinks of the little people.

hawkdriver on February 25, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Sheen needs a lot of help …………….. but, at the age of around 45, I don’t think he’ll get it. He is the new Michael Jackson and/or Phil Spector, just waiting to implode.

SC.Charlie on February 25, 2011 at 8:08 PM

My mom always said the money can’t buy class.

Poway on February 25, 2011 at 8:19 PM

I hope we have seen the last of this vile excuse for a man and his vile tv show.

maryo on February 25, 2011 at 8:25 PM

included anti-Semitic comments about his show’s producer and co-creator, Chuck Lorre, calling him “Chaim Levine” (Levine is Lorre’s birth name).

He only said his name. Only in the candyass age of Obama has saying one’s birth name become insulting.

CBS responded by putting the show on hiatus the rest of the season, and probably won’t bring it back, at least not with Sheen.

The will be back. Already the #1 show plus all this publicity? Of course it will be back. And, Sheen will probably have to go on an TV apology tour, since some J’s and their ultra-thin skin demand it.

Sheen has been living his usual wild lifestyle of late and the TV show was there. Some uppity J’s get offended and BOOM goes the show. Yet another example of who runs broadcasting not really being a tin foil hat theory.

Moesart on February 25, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Clearly, I have defeated this earthworm with my words; imagine what I would have done with my fire-breathing fists.

I was going to crack wise on poor Charlie, but on second thought this earthworm learned a long time ago never to talk bad about a dude with fire-breathing fists.

Gang-of-One on February 25, 2011 at 11:59 PM

Chudi on February 25, 2011 at 3:17 PM

You’re a huge fan of that cr*p show? Are you like 13 years old or retarded? Never mind, I don’t care.

Charlie, my talentless little bigot friend, go celebrate your unemployment with a big soup ladle of cocaine. Snort yourself into irrelevancy. No need to worry about brain damage; you’re way past that. You’ll be on someone’s Dead Pool list inside of 3 months.

I’d say your fans will miss you but I imagine if someone bangs some pots together nearby, they’ll find that more immediately interesting.

austinnelly on February 26, 2011 at 2:52 AM

Moesart on February 25, 2011 at 10:08 PM

This isn’t stormfront, jacka$$.

Blake on February 26, 2011 at 4:12 AM

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