The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Charlie Sheen & Sections of the Australian Media

Posted by caitlinate on December 29, 2009

Yesterday I was unfortunate enough to view the Channel Nine news. I had been watching the cricket (disappointed at Pakistan’s somewhat woeful performance) and when they cut from the transmission to the news I left the television on. I think I was talking to someone on facebook chat (shhh, don’t tell anyone) but keeping a somewhat distracted ear open to what they were, uh, ‘reporting’ from around the country. About half way through the announcer/newsreader said something along the lines of: “After the break, Charlie Sheen arrested.” This cued me and my fellow facebook chatter to riff on what he possibly could have been arrested for and if, in fact, there were any crimes we wouldn’t believe Charlie Sheen had been arrested for.

Then we came back from the break and the reporting went something like this:

It is being alleged that Brook Mueller was under the influence of alcohol or other substances when she made the call to police on Christmas to claim that her husband, Charlie Sheen, had assaulted her. Others now also claim that she may have completely fabricated the allegations that left Sheen – star of Two and a Half Men – spending part of his Christmas in jail.

I admit completely that the above is very much a snarky memory based quote but were I able to find the transcripts I don’t believe it would be much different (if anyone could help me out with a link that would be great).

What is important to Channel Nine isn’t to report that Charlie Sheen had assaulted his wife (though why they’re “reporting” on it anyway is a mystery) but that Brook Mueller is probably a drunk and was probably lying when she got her Grinch on and caused poor old, fun loving, friendly, nice guy Charlie to spend his Christmas in jail. Has she no heart? No Christmas spirit? Oh and p.s. that show we happened to mention before, it’s on right after this and we really want you to watch it. For Channel Nine, making sure that you aren’t dissuaded from watching their show is more important than accurately reporting celebrity occasions of domestic violence. Hell, to me it isn’t even about accurate reporting. It’s about not leading with statements that are intended to cast aspersions on the female partner in this situation. It’s about not making the decision to completely assassinate her character from the get go. It’s about reporting the facts that are available to you rather than prioritising protecting your brand, particularly when it’s to the detriment of yet another victim of domestic violence.

Reporting from The Herald Sun also pushes the drunken thing, bemoans Sheen “languishing in the Pitkin County Jail”, and commits a bizarre amount of space to celebrating Two and a Half Men, referring to it as a “sitcom sensation” and lauding its ratings status:

Sheen is the highest paid actor in US television and takes home $825,000 per episode on Two and a Half Men, which is also a ratings juggeraut [sic] for Channel 9.

It averages 1.2 million Australian viewers and is consistently in the top 10 most watched shows.

And, despite many episodes being repeated, it still trounces its competition, including The 7PM Project.

Seriously, weird.

For those interested here’s what actually happened (via E! Online, who have actually, you know, read the police report [pdf link] filed by responding officer Rick Magnuson of the Aspen Police Department). I think it quite definitively speaks for itself about what probably happened and what kind of loveable, friendly, aw-shucks, Two and a Half Men kind of guy Charlie Sheen really is. (Edit – Carlos Estevez is Sheen’s real name and the name he is referred to as here.) Please note, it’s possibly triggering.


10 Responses to “Charlie Sheen & Sections of the Australian Media”

  1. bri said

    I heard the same report and had pretty much the same response! I was sitting in my lounge chair screaming “So??????” at the screen the moment they said that Mueller had been drinking. So fucking what????!!! Talk about victim blaming…

    CS might be very funny on TAAHM but that doesn’t make him a stand up kind of guy in real life.

  2. Alison said

    I don’t get why it’s so hard to imagine him doing this. His eyebrows haven’t moved in years.
    The victim-blaming is too entrenched and upsetting for me to begin to comment. So instead I offer this:
    have people always said they are “in fear of their life”? Shouldn’t it be to just fear *for* your life, as in “she feared for her life”? I’ve heard this all over the shop. It sounds, to me, like someone thinks their life is going to kill them.
    Anyways… I suspect, regardless of the tendency of people to victim-blame, it would be hard to build a case against Charlie Sheen since he died sometime in the late 90s.

  3. Nic Heath said

    If only Charlie Sheen was thrown in jail forever, and then he would never be able to film another episode of TAAHM. Just need to destroy the repeats and we’re done. That show seriously offends me.

  4. Catherine said

    you took the words out of my mouth, caitlin.

    but is it really surprising that the media (and the public?) have this reaction to such incidents? I mean, Sheen’s whole image and fortune is based on a show that celebrates misogyny.

    it speaks volumes to me that Two and a Half Woman-Haters is such a popular and successful show – celebrating as it does the notion of men being as base, selfish, immature, misogynist and homophobic as possible, and women finding this charmingly endearing.

    of course, this is also the theme of a lot of “romantic comedies” and “chick flicks”… considering this culture, I find it depressingly and infuriatingly predictable that the media puts such a misogynist spin on real life events.


  5. Yeah I was just blogging about this too. That guy gives me the creeps – apparently he’s not really acting on TAAHM – he really is that much a nasty prick.

    Beware the comments on E Online – some very good but others, “Oh so she was drunk!” I’m accustomed to hearing sexual assault victims being blamed for their own rape on the grounds that they were drinking, but never domestic violence.

  6. Jaa said

    A little bit of me dies whenever I find out someone I thought witty and wise digs that show. Men men men men manly men men men.
    And Sheen’s knees. Knobbly little chicken pegs. Every time i’ve been misfortunate enough to see the show there they are.
    She was drinking. What’s a knife to the throat between friends? Fark.

  7. Stuart said

    Shame on Nine News. Shame on a huge portion of the western world (apparently) for watching such a crap show.

  8. womanvsfeminist said

    I think I’ve managed to see snippets of TAAHM while switching channels now and then and it is absolutely revolting. The fact that it gets made is depressing enough, but the fact that it seems to enjoy such popularity is deeply disturbing. There’s another American sitcom, can’t remember it’s name, that is similar – actually I think they’re all very similar in the way the celebrate general male horridness. Why are sitcoms that are based around female characters, like The Gilmore Girls derided? Worse still, why are there so few of them? They don’t even make it to screen! There just don’t seem to be many woman-centred entertainment choices at all. Different medium, but I read in the SMH the other day that when Wendy Harmer and Angela Catterns initially suggested (to the male bigwigs at ABC radio) they go on air together that the response was ‘no-one wants to listen to 2 women’ because it would be like a nagging wife x 2. Seriously. Fortunately they got their wish, however, and now have a morning slot on the ABC. And they’re bloody funny. MUCH funnier than Charlie Sheen is.

    • J said

      I think you’ll find the article mentions it was the commercial station they were at – Vega – not the ABC where “the male bigwigs” said no to them teaming up.

      “In the summer of 2005, I was working at Vega. My greatest joy was listening to Ange on the breakfast shift as I drove across the bridge to the station in Pyrmont. Warm and wise with a voice that could melt a Caramello Koala from behind the try line at Homebush stadium. And that laugh! Well, everyone in Sydney loves that laugh.

      I resolved to work with this chick. And because she was at the same radio station as me, surely I could swing it.

      “No one wants to hear two women on the air together,” was the pronouncement when I suggested we might team up. I swear the bloke blanched at the suggestion. “One is … enough,” he shuddered.”

  9. Jose said

    If anything – “Charlie Sheen” real name: Doosch Bagge, assaulting his wife with a knife will get MORE fans for 2 1/2 men and impress the hell out of current ones.

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