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Posted at 12:33 PM ET, 02/ 1/2011

Is Charlie Sheen getting a pass because he's a guy?

By Liz Kelly

Charlie Sheen. (AP)

If Charlie Sheen hasn't yet hit bottom, it's only because he's holding on with his fingernails. After alleged booze- and drug-fueled trips to Las Vegas and a house party that, according to TMZ, featured a "suitcase full of cocaine," the "Two and a Half Men" star is in self-imposed lockdown and his hit CBS show is on hiatus.

On Friday, Sheen reportedly checked in to rehab, but Tuesday we learned that he appears to be rehabbing in his own home. Yes, the same house where he last week reportedly partied with a fun pack of porn stars and that suitcase full of coke.

And, according to Margaret Hartmann at Jezebel, Sheen is getting his "400th media pass while Lindsay Lohan's [who has also struggled with addiction] ruined her career forever."

In fact, Hartmann argues that the Sheen is just another piece of evidence in the case of a Hollywood double-standard: Lindsay Lohan (woman) is derided in the press and considered toxic to potential employers. Sheen (man) is given every opportunity to clean himself up and get back to work while we all ignore the porn stars and coke.

At the risk of being confused with someone who is defending Charlie Sheen -- I'm not -- I just have to say that I disagree.


Lindsay Lohan in a September 2010 booking photo. (Getty Images)

Sheen and Lohan are worlds apart professionally. Sheen is the star of what is apparently one of TV's top shows. How that happened, I will never understand, but it's a fact. Which means countless entities -- from network execs to advertisers -- have money riding on the guy. It's in their best interest for him to get better and back on set. So, of course, the PR move will be to downplay Sheen's addiction and try to rush him through rehab so he can get back to delivering his wry, corny one-liners.

So the question is, are we falling for that PR? I don't think so. Who is ignoring Sheen's extracurricular activities? Certainly not the tabloids, or TMZ, or Radar Online or the countless other media and blog outlets itchy to publish every sordid detail of his shame spiral.

Is there a point at which Sheen's many supporters will give up on him? Yes. We -- or they -- just haven't reached it yet.

Lindsay Lohan, on the other hand (and Hartmann points this out in her article, too), developed a reputation for being late to work or missing it altogether. Or showing up so out of it that she was practically useless. And despite her early success in Disney kid flicks and "Mean Girls," her career never really got to a stable cruising altitude before she embarked on her turbulent relationships with substance abuse, Sam Ronson and the paparazzi.

In fact, it's not even fair to compare Sheen and Lohan because they are at such different points along the celebrity continuum. Sheen, like Keith Richards, has managed to become a profitable actor in spite of his on-again/off-again problems with addiction. Lohan's addiction, however, destroyed her and everything in a two-mile radius, including her career.

After 100 days in rehab, Lohan is supposedly clean now and the longer she can maintain sobriety, the better her chances for making some kind of comeback -- whether it be "Dancing with the Stars" or an indie flick. But, note, the Chateau Marmont (where Lilo hung out after Sunday's SAG Awards) is probably not the best environment for a recovering addict.

Hollywood is littered with the stories of celebs -- both male and female -- who let addiction get in the way of their ambition. And, I would argue, each tale is unique to the celebrity -- not his or her gender. How long was Marilyn Monroe was propped up in front of the cameras long after her daily routine had devolved into popping buckets full of barbituates? How over is repeat alcohol offender Andy Dick's career?

There are, of course, the Robert Downey Jrs. of the world -- stars who kept doing wrong, but also kept getting chances. But again, that's not a strictly male phenomenon. After a couple of rocky years spent feigning a British accent and wearing a pink wig, Britney Spears emerged from depression and what looked a lot like addiction to mount one of the most-successful concert tours of 2009 and is currently plotting her next mega-hit.


Related: Charlie Sheen enters rehab

By Liz Kelly  | February 1, 2011; 12:33 PM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan  | Tags:  Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan  
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Comments

He's getting a pass because he draws viewers. Lohan does not draw anymore. I agree with your assessment. These two can't be compared at this time. It's not a guy-thing, it's a ratings thing.

Posted by: badself | February 1, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Sheen is only the star of that show after being given chance after chance after chance to come back from the brink. Lohan never got half the chances he did, despite his thing being just as bad or worse than her thing. Her thing was alcohol abuse, his thing was alcohol, drugs, and domestic abuse. The DV charges bring it to a whole different level of sleaze, and one can't deny that it's baffling that he keeps getting breaks even after all the DV crap.

But I don't think his gender granted him preferential treatment, I think his name does. If Lilo's dad were Martin Sheen, she'd probably have gotten a few more breaks too. Also, Robert Downey Jr. had to go to prison before his luck truly rebounded, and Keith Richards, as far as I know, never beat his wife. Wives? Girlfriends? Whatever, never beat his partner(s).

Posted by: dkp01 | February 1, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

When will these dumb, feminist bimbos ever get it?

Charlie Sheen can never die. He is an immortal.

Posted by: bachman737 | February 1, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

We understand the difference between a golden goose and a risk. However, the comment was not that those who stand to make money off the addicted aren't in their corner.

It's a mix of what we're fed and how the addicted are handled. If Sheen's producers and handlers keep hauling him into work and he gives a good enough performance, he remains employed. Good handling+good reviews=golden goose.

Had Lilo's handlers dragged her to work, sobered her up and handled the media aspect more carefully, she would be in a different world. However, she's not seasoned enough (therefore, valuable) for producers/handlers to be worth the effort.

Britney kept producing. Britney's handlers kept her handled.

I have two words for you: Michael Vick. Had he been less of a ballplayer, and less of a golden goose, he wouldn't have been hired and handled -- and ultimately pardoned by the thousands of NFL fans.

Posted by: cfow1 | February 1, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Theres a double standard in Hollywood just as theres a double standard in reporting of Politics and politic in Hollywood.

Look at the media bias against Republicans or anything conservative for that matter. The double standard when reporting on those in Hollywood who identify as conservative, be it male or female is blatantly aparent as well.

Posted by: tony63 | February 1, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Theres a double standard in Hollywood just as theres a double standard in reporting of Politics and politic in Hollywood.

Look at the media bias against Republicans or anything conservative for that matter. The double standard when reporting on those in Hollywood who identify as conservative, be it male or female is blatantly aparent as well.

Posted by: tony63 | February 1, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

CBS could continue to make money, if only they'd bring their equipment to Sheen's house. In Sheen's world, along with CBS's, reality and fantasy seem to be one in the same. Talented? I don't think so.

Posted by: okemoddo_515 | February 1, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

CBS could continue to make money, if only they'd bring their equipment to Sheen's house. In Sheen's world, along with CBS's, reality and fantasy seem to be one in the same. Talented? I don't think so.

Posted by: okemoddo_515 | February 1, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

CBS could continue to make money, if only they'd bring their equipment to Sheen's house. In Sheen's world, along with CBS's, reality and fantasy seem to be one in the same. Talented? I don't think so.

Posted by: okemoddo_515 | February 1, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Theres a double standard in Hollywood just as theres a double standard in reporting of Politics and politic in Hollywood.

Look at the media bias against Republicans or anything conservative for that matter. The double standard when reporting on those in Hollywood who identify as conservative, be it male or female is blatantly aparent as well.

Posted by: tony63 | February 1, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I do not believe this has anything to do with gender. It does have to do with money. Sheen is making a fortune for his network and in syndication. Lohan is not. It's the almighty dollar at play again. These networks are in business to make money and Charlie is racking it in for them.

Posted by: bblee | February 1, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

What I don't quite understand is how most of these celebrities never get arrested. More than likely, plain old corruption. (For you Charlie Sheen fans out there, look it up in the dictionary or ask mommy or daddy.)

Posted by: okemoddo_515 | February 1, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Other than the monetary investment you point out, Sheen also gets a "pass" because his father is a beloved Hollywood icon, the guy we wish was President, Martin Sheen. Lohan, on the other hand, has nightmares for parents who generate as much bad press and LiLo herself.

Posted by: lydandy | February 1, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Maybe a pass because he is a guy, but that is not the important point. That scum just cost a whole lot of people on "Two Men" their careers and livelihoods and he grins into his house with some more bimbos and chemicals. The arrogance to think the production company, the network, the co-stars, the director, the set maker, etc. had something to do with the commercial success of the show is stunning.

They all should personally sue the guy and solve his problem -- the young girls do not hang out with a poor, out of work has-been actor. And while we're at it, his kids who he should be down on his knees begging forgiveness from should know the depths of this jerk's trangressions.

Posted by: tommariner | February 1, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Sheen gets a pass because he shows up for work. All of his troubles come when he has time on his hands from not working.

Also, for the most part, he is not out in the clubs causng trouble. He also doesn't do drugs and drive.

The DV charges are the more disturbing. He should be held accountable for that.

Posted by: epjd | February 1, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

This is apples and oranges. Charlie has never missed a days work, showed up late, or been umprofessional. I got this from a statement from the studio as to why they can't force him into rehab. He does his job and he does it well.

Lindsay would call in sick after being photographed partying all night, not be on time, hold up shooting and, in short, was very unprofessional.

Posted by: comanchesue | February 1, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

For 2 million an episode the guy can dictate his own terms. We all hate his behavior yet somewhere deep inside of us we all wished we could be him for a day. Edan Aharony

Posted by: EdanAharony | February 1, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Sheen parties in private, unlike Lohan who is photographed and videotaped going to multiple bars per night and the images are blasted allover the Internet. Also, Lohan's problems and bad image started when she was night clubbing as an underage teenager.

Charlie, as a television star, is at the studio most of the time during the year unlike movie actors that have long periods of time off.

Charlie Sheen is also a middle aged married man with children. Paparazzi have no interest in that.

Lohan hangs out with rich kids, children of celebrities and reality show no-talent losers who do not have a Hollywood career to ruin or depend on drama to get their name on the gossip websites. Drama does not help a movie career...ask Mel Gibson.

Heath ledger died from his pharmaceutical demons, but it was kept private and did not affect his day job. He had a relationship with Michelle Williams, fathered a child and lived quietly in Brooklyn.

Posted by: Digital_Voter | February 1, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"This is apples and oranges."

And by the photos above, we know who's 'orange'.

Posted by: byoolin1 | February 1, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

For 2 million an episode the guy can dictate his own terms. We all hate his behavior yet somewhere deep inside of us we all wished we could be him for a day. Edan Aharony

Posted by: EdanAharony | February 1, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

EdanAharony - "... deep inside of us we all wished we could be him for a day." Not all of us, kid. You.

Posted by: okemoddo_515 | February 1, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Charlie fans are dumber than Lindsay fans which is why he gets more slack when it comes to being crazy (which both of them are) It's not about drugs making them that way. It's about them being crazy and using drugs to act out. These people are mentally ill and it is not something to celebrate, condone, or idolize. What they need is "real" treatment, not press on TMZ and the like. It's another sad commentary about what we value as a society and how we exploit (make money off) these mentally ill people.

Posted by: inewsmaster | February 1, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

'And, according to Margaret Hartmann at Jezebel, Sheen is getting his "400th media pass while Lindsay Lohan's [who has also struggled with addiction] ruined her career forever." '

What are you talking about? Lindsay Lohan hasn't ruined her career - she may have driven it off a cliff, but the beauty of American celebrity is that filthy trashy gossip sells! Lohan can no longer take the lead role in Mean Girls 3 without coming under harsh criticism, but her career is not 'over'.

The reason Sheen is getting a 'pass' is that we expected this to happen - he even plays a belligerent drunk on his wildly popular TV sitcom. It's really no surprise, it's what the nation loves about Charlie Sheen.

Sheen isn't getting a pass, it's just not surprising anyone that he's in rehab for partying with hookers. Lohan hasn't ruined her career, she's just forced it to take a left turn - everyone still loves to hear news about Lindsay Lohan & that won't stop any time soon.

Also, don't forget about these celebrities who have troubled pasts and who the nation embraces and loves now - Drew Barrymore, Hugh Grant, Robert Downey Jr. - there's no reason Lohan has ruined her career, and sex has nothing to do with Charlie Sheen.

Stop writing trash opinion columns and stick to the facts.

Posted by: JacksonHalbert | February 1, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

"... these celebrities who have troubled pasts and who the nation embraces and loves."

I embrace and love my family and friends, not "celebrities."

What's wrong with you?

Posted by: okemoddo_515 | February 1, 2011 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm kinda done with hearing about Charlie Sheen, frankly. But if we have to keep talking about him, could we at least get a new photo? I think that's the third or fourth use of this one here. Enough already, por favor.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | February 1, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

This guy is not getting a free pass but I'd like to argue that Lindsay's problems were all blamed on enablers, her dad etc. Now it's come out she might have paid the woman she assaulted, but what of it.. She got way more a free pass. Bottom line, both need help. And Jezebel is a harsh only fem judge&jury point of view and I am a female. I never liked that blog or whatever it is. They even make the female posters feel bad.
And no I don't watch Charlie's show but I have to give the guy credit for always doing his job and doing it well. His ratings are solid and have even gone up. Who else or what other actor can say that?

To one of the comments,
UM….are you SERIOUS? Charlie was given chances… His only chance (or just good lawyers) is the network does not have a clause on his contract. Which isn’t a chance. Charlie goes to work on time, is apparently polite, easy-going, does a good job, remembers lines etc. NONE of which LILO has done with the COUNTLESS opportunities she was given. And the only thing to her creadit is she was good in mean girls 10 years ago… Charlie got a star on Hollywood in the 90s! He doesn’t use his father’s name in fact most people probably don’t know who his father is (based on comments) on the other hand Lindsay and her father are constantly in the media fighting, making up and just waging a war of words. Now Lindsay is suspected of robbery after suspicions of assault. Yeah she’s not given chances. Her only interest is to be a “designer” and play a porn star. Yeah Academy worth there. She’s addicted to drama the most.
And, Martin Sheen had a serious alcohol problem too (there are genetic influences here also) only back then no tmz or gossip sites inciting interest whether the news is true or false.

Posted by: hibiscuit | February 2, 2011 1:06 AM | Report abuse

I think it's likely he gets a pass because he consistently makes money for his corporation, and shows up to work ready to work.

Check out my post on this topic: http://moneywatch.bnet.com/career-advice/blog/on-job/why-does-charlie-sheen-still-have-a-job/101/

Posted by: AmyLevinEpstein | February 7, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

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