It is hard to ignore Charlie Sheen and his ‘bad boy’ tour even if his basic image is far removed from celebrity activism.
The nature of Charlie’s engagement contrasts rather markedly even with other members of the Sheen family. How could such an authentic and sustained celebrity activist such as Martin Sheen pass on so few of those characteristics to his son? Does this evident divergence of behavior signal a generational split making the issue more sociological rather than psychological?
Just as a reminder to those who do not follow this side of celebrity life so closely, Martin Sheen, Charlie’s father, has a long history of support for the disadvantaged – from US Latino farm workers to under-paid hotel staff. Martin Sheen also has lent support for a myriad environmental causes and he was an open opponent to the Iraqi war.
Charlie Sheen to his credit has supported various AIDS campaigns but is best known for his conspiracy-oriented views of 9/11, even going so far as to suggest that the Bush administration may have been responsible for the attacks.
So some fathers have to expect the unexpected in the way of their children’s public behavior!
On another theme, does “bad” celebrity activist behavior alter the public image of celebrities generally? If Charlie Sheen is constantly erratic, do we expect various aspects his “bad” behavior to be displayed by other celebrities? Just to give one illustration, do we expect Madonna’s efforts to build schools through her foundation in Malawi to end in disaster, or did we still expect a positive outcome? Is it a good idea to use Ginger Spice as a UN goodwill ambassador or should we fear bad celebrity behavior?
Although a number of celebrities appear to be “disasters waiting to happen” others can surprise us. Bob Geldof has come a long way since his bad boy days with the Boomtown Rats. Sean Penn, best known for meeting Saddam Hussein in December 2002, has become deeply engaged – and apparently quite effective – in the Haiti relief efforts.
Is there hope for Charlie Sheen, then? Most probably not! This probably about personality. But nothing in celebrity activism is clear-cut. Sean Penn invited Charlie Sheen to visit Haiti in March 2011, and Charlie responded by telling Access Hollywood: “I’m excited as hell because, you know, if I can bring the attention of the world down there, then clearly this tsunami keeps cresting.”
So who knows!