Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
On Friday, CBS said it was standing by Charlie Sheen, convicted wife-beater. This decision, along with its ongoing heavy promotion of Sheen, sends a terrible message that men can still get away with it.
Sheen was convicted of assaulting his wife Brooke Mueller on Christmas Day, 2009. Mueller said he had pulled a knife on her and threatened to kill her. “I’m scared for my life,” she said in her 911 call.
But even after that incident, and even after former wife Denise Richards accused him of being abusive, CBS has kept pushing “Two and a Half Men,” its top comedy show.
Wife-beating is an epidemic in America. Husbands and boyfriends injure as many as two million women a year and kill 1,200 women a year, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
But for CBS, that’s immaterial.
In fact, the network seemed more concerned about his inebriated behavior and his own well-being than his wife-beating.
“We have a high level of concern,” said CBS entertainment chief Nina Tassler. “How could we not? On a basic human level, this man is a father. He has children. He has family.”
Tassler confirmed that CBS was going to keep Sheen on, who gets paid more than $1 million an episode.
“The show’s a hit,” she said.
So he can beat and threaten to kill his wife, but if he’s making profits for a giant corporation, all is forgiven.
A disgusting message to boys and men everywhere, one that serves as a frightening reminder to women that Hollywood and corporate America don’t care about you.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Shame on Sarah Palin."
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