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I-Spy #7: Charlie Sheen—Is He Worth the Risk?

October 29, 2010

Crisis: Charlie Sheen is being accused of everything from drug addiction to domestic violence, and this is threatening his sponsors and employer’s abilities to keep him employed.

Principle:Realize a company’s true character is expressed by its people.”

            Charlie Sheen, star of CBS’s hit sitcom, Two and a Half Men, can be summed up in two words: train wreck.  He’s been arrested time and time again over the past few years for charges ranging from drug possession to domestic violence and assault (he held a knife to the throat of his now ex-wife, Brooke Mueller).  He almost died in 1998 from overdosing on cocaine, and has been in and out of rehab ever since.  Sheen is three-times divorced, has five children with three different women, and has a dating history that includes everything from actresses to porn stars. Needless to say, Charlie isn’t exactly a real straight shooter.

            Most recently, Sheen was arrested at a NYC hotel after police found him ranting about a stolen wallet in a naked drunken rage.  And according to several celebrity gossip websites, officers discovered a large quantity of cocaine, a prostitute locked in a bathroom and nearly $7,000 worth of damaged furniture that had been destroyed by Sheen in his unruly state.  All of this reportedly happened as his ex-wife and two children were sleeping just a few feet away in the room across the hall.

            Charlie Sheen’s reckless behavior is clearly a liability for CBS.  And according to Arthur Page, a company’s true character is expressed by its people.  Should CBS employ actors like Charlie who have such consistently irresponsible and uncontrollable personalities?  Although it may not enjoy associating with bad boy Sheen, I’m sure the $3.4 million generated from each 30 minute episode of Two and a Half Men makes it easy for CBS to overlook any negative PR their golden boy may drum up while off the set.  But will all of Sheen’s crazy antics catch up to him one day?  Where should CBS draw the line?  From the looks of it, I think that CBS has decided that it values net profit over favorable brand recognition and positive public relationships.  Too bad.  But hey, that’s show biz!

Question for the Class:  Should CBS assume any responsibility for Sheen’s actions? In other   words, if Sheen crosses the line, does CBS have the responsibility to discipline or perhaps cut ties with their sitcom star?

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