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Production of 'Two and a Half Men' canceled after Charlie Sheen rant

A Charlie Sheen rant ripping his TV show's producer and dismissing his own problems with alcohol appears to have crossed Hollywood's lines of propriety. CBS: Work on episodes of 'Two and a Half Men' canceled.

By Daniel B. Wood and Gloria GoodaleStaff writers / February 25, 2011

In this 2005 photo, Charlie Sheen, co-star of 'Two and a Half Men,' and Chuck Lorre, executive producer of the show, are shown during the CBS portion of the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Nick Ut./AP/File

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Los Angeles

It appears that Charlie Sheen, the popular but troubled actor, will be paying dearly, possibly becoming a pariah for years to come, for his latest excess: a highly publicized, expletive-filled rant on a radio call-in show that led to the abrupt and indefinite suspension of work on his TV show, “Two and a Half Men.”

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The lesson, say some Hollywood attorneys and public relations professionals, is that even a talented actor who commands a great following should have boundaries of behavior that can’t be crossed.

In the rant Thursday on the Alex Jones radio show, Mr. Sheen ripped his TV show’s creator, Chuck Lorre, calling himself the “magic” that turned Mr. Lorre’s “tin” writing into “pure gold.” And he dismissed his problems with alcohol abuse as self-cured, even labeling Alcoholics Anonymous a “bootleg cult.”

In response, late Thursday, CBS halted production of “Two and a Half Men,” its most successful comedy.

“Based on the totality of Charlie Sheen’s statements, conduct and condition, CBS and Warner Bros. Television have decided to discontinue production of ‘Two and a Half Men’ for the remainder of the season,” a CBS statement said.

Sheen retaliated with another call-in to the Alex Jones radio show, calling Lorre, a “clown” and a “worm.” He also repeatedly referred to Lorre, in both radio diatribes, as Chaim Levine. Lorre was born Charles Levine.

“I wish him nothing but pain in his silly travels especially if they wind up in my octagon,” said Sheen.

Repeated run-ins with the law

After relationships with porn stars and repeated run-ins with the law over drugs and alcohol, Sheen has had more than enough time to repent and rehabilitate himself, experts say. Having grown up in an acting family – he is the son of actor Martin Sheen and brother of Emilio Estevez – he should have known better.

“Charlie Sheen comes from a very sophisticated Hollywood background,” says Los Angeles entertainment/criminal defense lawyer Ellyn Garofalo, adding that he should have a well-tuned understanding of what is acceptable and not acceptable professional behavior.

While some have suggested that the repeated references to Lorre as Chaim Levine in the multiple rants were anti-Semitic, television Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, author of 26 books, does not see it that way.

“This is a man in total self-immolation,” says Boteach. He says CBS should have pulled the plug on Sheen a long time ago, not for the network’s sake but Sheen’s. And society, too, has to step up and take responsibility, he says.

“How can a network watch a man disintegrate in front of them as long as he is making them money? When you are in the kind of deep pain he is in, all the money and fame in the world will not serve as a remedy,” Boteach says, adding that the rest of us have to stop being enablers.

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