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Sheen files $100 million lawsuit against Warners
Question of the Day
SANTA MONICA, CALIF. (AP) - Charlie Sheen brought his verbal war against Warner Bros. and the executive producer of “Two and a Half Men” to the courtroom on Thursday, filing a $100 million lawsuit seeking to recoup his salary and wages for the show’s crew.
The breach of contract lawsuit alleges production was halted on the CBS sitcom in part to punish Sheen for recent behavior that has included two hospitalizations and, in recent weeks, a series of interviews in which he has attacked executive producer Chuck Lorre. But the suit and Sheen’s attorney, Marty Singer, say most of the incidents cited by Warner Bros. for firing Sheen occurred before his tirades against Lorre began.
“The suspension and termination of Mr. Sheen occured only after Mr. Sheen had finally been provoked into criticizing Lorre in response to his harassment and disparagement campaign which had been going on for years,” according to the suit.
The filing comes four days after Sheen was terminated from “Two and a Half Men,” leaving the top-rated sitcom’s future in doubt.
Sheen’s lawsuit alleges that Warner Bros. bowed to Lorre’s desire to punish Sheen, and that the producer and studio conspired to blame the actor for causing production to stop.
A termination letter cited concerns about Sheen’s health. Singer said it would be illegal for the studio to fire the actor if he had the physical and mental issues described in the letter.
“We’re saying he was ready, willing and able to work and he could have worked,” Singer said.
The suit also was filed on behalf of the sitcom’s crew, which was put out of work. Although the crew is not a party in the case, Singer said the actor is attempting to get reimbursement for all members of the show who lost money because of the actions of Warner Bros. and Lorre.
Last week, Warners announced it was paying the “Men” crew for four of the eight episodes it canceled this season.
The studio declined to comment on the suit. Lorre’s attorney, Howard Weitzman, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
On top of Sheen’s $100 million request for damages, the 45-year-old actor is seeking punitive damages.
He took to Twitter soon after the lawsuit’s filing, writing, “Fastball: Torpedo away… You corporate Trolls were warned. And now you’ve been served!”
The complaint states that Sheen’s most recent contract, executed last May, entitles him to be paid whether the series films for up to 24 episodes per season through late 2011. Singer said Sheen was prepared to walk away from the show last year, but that the studio and producers wanted him to return despite his being accused of domestic violence in Aspen, Colo., against then-wife Brooke Mueller.
Sheen’s lawsuit states that he attempted to return to the series in mid-February, but was told that Lorre had not prepared production scripts for the season’s remaining episodes, which was later shortened.
The lawsuit includes several references to Lorre’s ego and claims the veteran television producer of shows such as “Roseanne” and “The Big Bang Theory” has trouble managing top-tier actors.
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