Although he basically lost his job because of his various problems, that hasn't stopped Sheen's latest media blitz to salvage what's presumably left of his reputation and career. The man seems to be everywhere lately, from CNN, to TMZ. He's taken to Twitter rants, and '20/20.' I coulda sworn I saw him in CVS last night running his mouth, but I might be wrong.
If Sheen's ordeal has definitively proven anything, it's that as long as you can make other people money, you'll always be needed. As the star of one of TV's top rated shows, 'Two and a Half Men,' Sheen pulled in a cool $1.8 million per episode. If the producers of the show were willing to put up with his behavior and still pay him that much money, it's fair to say they're getting a fair return on their investment. So, even after making some insulting comments about the show's Jewish producer, Sheen didn't get canned. CBS and Warner Bros. merely canceled the remainder of the current season. In short, if Sheen gets his act together, there's a good chance everyone will just kiss and make up, and the show will go on next fall. They want to keep making money off him if they can. Need I remind you that Hollywood is always, I repeat, always, about the bottom line.
Given all the media attention surrounding a guy who really doesn't do anything of consequence, I've naturally wondered whether the perception of Sheen would be different if he was black. Would he be treated with less sympathy? That's unlikely, because this guy's been absolutely dogged. Yes, he's brought most, okay, all of this on himself, but the sheer volume of attention given to a guy who doesn't write legislation or do anything meaningful that effects the lives of most Americans is staggering. I can't say he's gotten any better treatment than Mike Vick did during his infamous dog fighting scandal.
Media scrutiny aside, I'm sure many of you are saying that if a brother found himself in this much hot water, he'd probably be homeless right now. I'm not so sure I agree. Need I remind anyone of R. Kelly's outlandish, years long legal saga? If you were able to look past all those allegations because you just looooved "The Ignition Remix", then you can probably understand why Sheen appears to be getting a free pass. Again, as long as there's a dollar (or two) to be made off your efforts, someone's going to give you a second, or third, or 19th chance.
Sheen's chicanery proves that in general, despite what your flaws are or what your skin color is, it's all about the money. I don't think a money-making black star would be treated any differently. A chump change-making b-lister on the other hand... who knows?
Jay Anderson is a freelance writer from Washington, DC, whose work has been featured in the Washington Post and on NPR. When he's not busy talking smack here, he runs the award-winning blog AverageBro.com. Follow him via Twitter @AverageBro.