The media continues to overlook Charlie Sheen's history of violence against an array of wives and girlfriends, casting him as a "rebel," a "rock star," or a "bad boy" instead of an abuser, says Anna Holmes, creator of the female-targeted website Jezebel, in The New York Times. Interviewers don't want to detract from the entertainment value of a man who has inspired a variety of colorful internet memes, and boosted their ratings. But their passivity is also due to the company Sheen keeps. The strippers, porn stars, and other hangers-on with whom he surrounds himself are the sort of women society dismisses with contempt, says Holmes, because they're "assumed to be trading on their sexuality." Here, an excerpt:
Our inertia is not for lack of evidence. In 1990, he accidentally shot his fiancée at the time, the actress Kelly Preston, in the arm. (The engagement ended soon after.) In 1994 he was sued by a college student who alleged that he struck her in the head after she declined to have sex with him. (The case was settled out of court.) Two years later, a sex film actress, Brittany Ashland, said she had been thrown to the floor of Mr. Sheen’s Los Angeles house during a fight. (He pleaded no contest and paid a fine.)...
A woman’s active embrace of the fame monster or participation in the sex industry, we seem to say, means that she compromises her right not to be assaulted, let alone humiliated, insulted or degraded; it’s part of the deal. The promise of a modern Cinderella ending — attention, fame, the love and savings account of a rich man — is always the assumed goal. Objectification and abuse, it follows, is not only an accepted occupational hazard for certain women, but something that men like Mr. Sheen have earned the right to indulge in.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- Why TheWeek.com is closing the comments section
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Pope Francis' American problem
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- Could Forrest Gump have possibly survived his epic run?
Subscribe to the Week