The Shmooze

Charlie Sheen Bites the Jewish Hand That Feeds Him

By Michael Kaminer

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Charlie Sheen thinks Chaim Levine is a “clown” and a “charlatan”. But does that make the “Two and a Half Men” star an anti-Semite?

The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, among others, thinks so. Chaim Levine is the real name of Chuck Lorre, producer of Sheen’s hugely successful — and massively lucrative — sitcom. The New York Times reports that in interviews yesterday with a syndicated radio host, and with celebrity gossip site TMZ, Sheen bit the hand that feeds him, braying he had transformed Levine’s “tin can” of a show into “pure gold.” But Sheen also referred to Lorre by his given name only, leading pundits like Goldberg to claim the star hates Jews. “Charlie Sheen Wins Goldblogs First Annual Mel Gibson Prize,” read the headline on Goldberg’s column.

Fallout from CBS, which airs “Two and a Half Men,” was immediate as well. The New York Times said the network and partner Warner Brothers had decided to shut down production. “In a terse statement, CBS and Warner Brothers, which produces the show, said, ‘Based on the totality of Charlie Sheen’s statements, conduct and condition, CBS and Warner Brothers Television have decided to discontinue production of ‘Two and a Half Men’ for the remainder of the season.’”

Sheen, meanwhile, backpedaled this morning in a followup TMZ rant. As the site reported: “Many people felt Charlie used [Lorre’s birth name] in a mean-spirited attempt to denigrate the Jews… Now Charlie tells TMZ … ‘I was referring to Chuck by his real name, because I wanted to address the man, not the bulls**t TV persona.’

TMZ said that Sheen added, “So you’re telling me, anytime someone calls me Carlos Estevez, I can claim they are anti-Latino?”

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