LOS ANGELES – Charlie Sheen filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking $100 million from Warner Brothers and the producers of “Two and a Half Men” for sacking him from the hit TV show.
Lawyers for the troubled star claim Sheen’s contract was breached by his dismissal this week in the wake of a string of media outbursts by the actor attacking the show’s producer Chuck Lorre.
Sheen is also seeking compensation for the rest of the cast and crew of the top-rating TV series, the future of which is in doubt after the sacking of its main star.
“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 (show’s) dedicated cast and crew,” said the lawsuit, published by the TMZ celebrity news website.
It alleged that Lorre’s decision to suspend the show and sack Sheen was due to “serve his own ego and self-interest, and make the star of the Series the scapegoat for Lorre’s own conduct.”
“Charlie Sheen is not only seeking payment of his own compensation for the series. He is also pursuing claims for the benefit of the entire cast and crew to get paid for the balance of the season’s 24 episodes,” it added.
The legal action came after Warner Brothers sacked Sheen on Monday, citing the 45-year-old’s “dangerously self-destructive conduct.”
“Two and a Half Men” — in which Sheen plays a hedonistic bachelor — had already been canceled for the rest of the season following Sheen’s repeated verbal attacks on Lorre two weeks ago.
Sheen drew accusations of anti-Semitism after referring to Lorre by the Hebrew translation of his name, but persisted with a series of rambling TV interviews last week, prompting his spokesman to quit.
The star also started his own Twitter feed which has become an Internet sensation, and launched an online show, dubbed “Sheen’s Korner,” which has also drawn huge numbers of followers.
In Thursday’s 30-page lawsuit, Sheen’s lawyer Marty Singer alleged that the decision to suspend “Two and a Half Men” production was made before the actor first publicly criticized Lorre.
It claimed that Lorre wanted out because of his commitments on other high-profile shows and because he hated Sheen — and alleged a conspiracy between Lorre and Warner Brothers to blame the troubled actor.
“Lorre is the proverbial ‘800-pound gorilla’ as far as Warner Bros and (TV network) CBS are concerned,” said the suit, filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court.
“Unfortunately in this instance the capitulation to Lorre’s demands — fueled by Lorre’s inflated ego, laziness and ill-will toward Mr. Sheen and his perceived lifestyle — is in direct derogation of Mr. Sheen’s rights.
“Warner Bros… used its powerful public relations machine to create a myth to justify their conduct by wrongly blaming Mr. Sheen,” it added.
Monday’s announcement of Sheen’s sacking was accompanied by a 10-page letter from Warner Bros lawyers setting out their reasons for dismissing him from the hit TV show.
“Let us state the obvious: (Sheen) has been engaged in dangerously self-destructive conduct and appears to be very ill,” said the letter.
“For months before the suspension of production, Mr. Sheen’s erratic behavior escalated while his condition deteriorated. His declining condition undermined the production in numerous and significant ways.
“Now, the entire world knows Mr. Sheen’s condition from his alarming outbursts over just the last few weeks,” it said.