Actor Charlie Sheen, who was fired this week from his hit TV sitcom Two and a Half Men, has filed a $100 million wrongful termination lawsuit against Warner Bros. and producer Chuck Lorre for breach of contract and violations of California employment law.
In a complaint filed March 10, 2011, in L.A. Superior Court, Sheen alleges that Warner Bros. and Lorre (creator of Two and a Half Men) illegally fired him for having an “alleged disability” (i.e., drug addiction/mental illness) instead of accommodating him under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
‘Ego and Self-Interest’
Charlie, 45, further alleges that Lorre retaliated against him for his own “ego and self-interest,” to the financial detriment of Sheen, his co-stars and the show’s crew. In a volcanic preamble, Charlie alleges:
“Chuck Lorre, one of the richest men in television who is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, believes himself to be so wealthy and powerful that he can unilaterally decide to take money away from the dedicated cast and crew of the popular television series, ‘Two and a Half Men,’ in order to serve his own ego and self-interest, and make the star of the Series the scapegoat for Lorre’s own conduct.”
While Charlie doesn’t concede that he has a mental disability, he points out that the Defendants believed he did before they fired him on March 7. Alcoholism and/or drug addiction are recognized disabilities under California employment law, and Sheen claims the network should have accommodated him instead of firing him.
Charlie has insisted that he was never high or drunk at work, and that he was fired as part of producer Lorre’s petty ego battle and dislike for Sheen.
Sheen: Defendants Were Aware of My Drug Problems
While Warner Bros. insisted in its March 7 termination letter to Sheen that he was being fired for his increasingly erratic, “dangerously self-destructive” behavior, Sheen points out that the Defendants were well aware of his history of drug and alcohol abuse, and even renegotiated his contract when he was facing felony charges in December 2010.
Under his renegotiated contract, Sheen earned a whopping $1.8 million per episode of Two and a Half Men, making him the highest-paid actor on TV’s highest-rated show.
Sheen, who notes that he helped Lorre and Warner Bros. generate “more than a billion dollars” during his 8-year run on Two and a Half Men, demanded that he and “the entire cast and crew get paid for the balance of the season’s 24 episodes.”
Sheen is also suing for interference with prospective economic advantage and contractual relations and breach of the implied covenant of good faith.
Samantha Chang is the co-owner and executive editor of TheImproper and a celebrity writer at Examiner.