LOS ANGELES — Undeterred by the shutdown of his "Two and A Half Men" TV comedy, actor Charlie Sheen unleashed a new torrent of what some consider to be half-witted messages on Friday as Hollywood backed away from the increasingly erratic star.
Sheen, on vacation in the Bahamas after a month of "rehab" at his Los Angeles home for alcohol and drug addiction, told TV show "Good Morning America" in a text message that he would show up for work next week despite the fact that producers pulled the plug Thursday on his top-rated CBS comedy for the remainder of the season.
|Chuck Lorre and Charlie Sheen in less contentious times. On Thursday, Sheen called Lorre a "stupid, stupid little man" in expletive-filled rants. (Getty Images)
CBS took the action after Sheen's radio rant on Thursday in which he verbally assaulted the show's co-creator and producer, Chuck Lorre, during an expletive-laced tirade in which he referred to Lorre by his Jewish name of Chaim. That brought a comment today from Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
"By invoking television producer Chuck Lorre’s Jewish name in the context of an angry tirade against him, Charlie Sheen left the impression that another reason for his dislike of Mr. Lorre is his Jewishness," Foxman told The Hollywood Reporter. "This fact has no relevance to Mr. Sheen’s complaint or disagreement, and his words are at best bizarre, and at worst, borderline anti-Semitism."
Sheen, who has referred to Lorre as a "maggot" and a "clown," insists he is not an anti-Semite.
In a separate text message to celebrity website Radaronline.com, Sheen claimed he was in talks for a new program of his own on cable channel HBO that would land him an unheard-of $5 million an episode. HBO said there was "no truth to the report."
Sheen, 45, had also been in line to make a third "Major League" baseball movie. But producer James G. Robinson told TMZ.com he would not risk putting Sheen in the film.
"If Charlie doesn't straighten up . . . I unfortunately can't put him in the movie," Robinson said.
"When an actor doesn't show up for work, you can lose half a million dollars a day paying the 250 other people there for the shoot and the costs for the set," he said.
Sheen claimed on Friday he was clean of drink and drugs despite manic, rambling remarks the day before in which he called Lorre a "stupid, stupid little man" in expletive-filled rants.
His comments were the last straw for CBS, which airs "Two and A Half Men" and Warner Bros. Television, which makes the comedy, after a year of Sheen's rabble rousing and a conviction for assaulting his ex-wife.
"I am frightened for the guy," celebrity addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky told website TMZ.com. "It's no joke. He's getting manic . . . these are bi-polar, manic symptoms."
Production of "Two and a Half Men" — the most popular comedy on U.S. television and a major cash cow for CBS and Warner Bros. Television — was suspended in January when Sheen was persuaded to seek help after a wild 36-hour party.
Work on the show was due to resume on Monday.
In an open letter on Thursday, Sheen urged fans "to walk with me side-by-side as we march up the steps of justice to right this unconscionable wrong" and bring the TV show back.
Despite his problems, Sheen has remained popular, so far, and audiences for "Two and a Half Men" have remained strong with about 15 million U.S. viewers a week.
Sheen signed up for two more seasons in May 2010, and got a pay raise that brought his salary to a reported $27.5 million a year for his role as hard-drinking womanizing bachelor Charlie Harper, which in many ways has mirrored his real life.
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