If you think Charlie Sheen is a maniac who can’t keep his mouth shut, you’re probably right.
But he may be the first person in history to make that work for him.
We’ve always had celebrities go crazy for our entertainment, of course – Britney Spears, Mel Gibson, Margot Kidder, Anne Hache – but each time one of those people flipped out the story was spun so we could understand that they were either under “incredible strain,” or that they were receiving help. They disappear for a while, then return months later with a comeback of some kind. (Mel Gibson being the exception, as he seems to think it’s so much fun he does it over and over agian.)
Charlie Sheen, however, seems to be the first A-list celebrity to take his scandal by the horns and say, “Yes, this is me – if you don’t like it, too bad.” Say what you want, but it is incredibly brave. Rather than try to appease a public fast to condemn him, he makes no apologies for himself.
It’s also incredibly smart. With the number of PR responses to so many other scandals like this, the public is jaded. If he had taken the advice of his former publicist and announced he was going into treatment, laid low, then did a mea culpa on The Oprah Winfrey Show, I doubt anyone would have noticed or cared.
It would have blown over, but he would have kept the stigma of it. Do you really think Britney Spears isn’t still batshit crazy? Do you think Mel Gibson doesn’t still hold resentments against Jews?
The result so far of Mr. Sheen’s strategy is astonishing. His various interviews of rambling, bizarre quotes. He admits to drug use, though he isn’t using now. (He took two drug tests to prove this and passed them both, though the tests used could only go back 72 hours. Make of them what you will.)
He has gone on Twitter, and reached 1,000,000 follwers faster than anyone in the history of the site. His hashtags – #tigerblood, @planbetter, and the enigmatic #winning, have been trending topics since he started. It’s safe to say he owns Twitter now.
Rather than just let things fade from people’s consciousness, he’s ridden the tide. The brilliance of this is he now controls the message about him. Even if that message is, “wow, what a nut.”