There's a problem with the way we accept Charlie Sheen and condemn Lindsay Lohan.
The actor was found naked and drunk in his Plaza Hotel room early Tuesday morning. After trashing his lavish room and accusing his call girl of theft, police removed the, "emotionally disturbed" actor before he was taken to the hospital.
Sheen was in town with ex-wife Denise Richards and their two daughters for a few days of family fun. After daughters Sam and Lola partied with Eloise at the Plaza, Sheen sought out some grown-up entertainment of his own.
His reps are claiming he had an, "adverse reaction to medication." Riiight. Give it a few days, and Sheen will admit he's still struggling with substance abuse and going to, "seek treatment." He'll thank the public for their prayers and continued support.
And we will continue to support him. We'll tune in Tuesday nights to see Sheen reprise has role as an endearing, heavy-drinking, hooker-loving playboy on, "Two and a Half Men." After he's done raking in 1.8 million an episode for that family-friendly series, Hollywood producers will hire him for another sitcom or maybe even as a leading man on the big screen.
Despite yet another public blunder, no one is questioning whether Sheen's reprehensible personal choices have destroyed his professional career. We're able to see him as an actor, whose on-camera abilities aren't affected by his problems with a certain powdery white substance.
Yet we'll continue to drone on about Lindsay, and how the once-promising starlet sabotaged her career. The troubled actress, like Sheen, has struggled with an addiction to cocaine and had some infamous encounters with the law. She's currently serving a court-mandated stint in rehab until January 2011, and critics are already saying her career might not be waiting for her when she gets out.
Not to be an angry feminist, but does anyone else see the ridiculous double standard here? Sheen is a 45-year old father of five. Lohan's a 24-year old single woman responsible solely for her own well being. Both are actors. Neither are role models. Yet why do we treat the two so differently?
Let's look at Sheen's second chances. Back in 1990, he accidentally shot then-fiancée Kelly Preston in the arm. It only required two stitches. Still, he was playing with a gun and it inadvertently went off? Yeah, we just let that one slide.
In 1995, he admitted frequenting one of Heidi Fleiss' brothels. "I love sex, and I can afford it," he said with typical male bravado. (Can you imagine the backlash if Lohan hired a male prostitute?)
Then in 1998, Sheen entered rehab for substance addiction after a cocaine overdose. No problem! He kept getting work. He split with wife Denise Richards in 2002 after threatening violence against her. And of course there was the incident in December 2009 when he was arrested on charges of domestic violence against his pregnant wife. He went to rehab, took an anger management class, and Poof! We forgave him for those indiscretions and he continued booking job after job.
With the exception of driving under the influence back in 2007, Lohan's reckless behavior hasn't been destructive to anyone other than herself. Her times in jail and court-mandated rehab aren't a result of violent threats to others or endangering the lives of anyone's unborn children. She has a drug problem, and she's getting help. Still, we continue to speculate whether this bad behavior will cost Lohan her career.
So why is Sheen's behavior just to be expected of a handsome playboy? I highly doubt his problems at the Plaza are going to cost him his lucrative contract with CBS. But Lohan's actions are vilified and make her unacceptable to work as an actress. What producer in their right mind would ever hire a woman who isn't pristine enough to be put up on a pedestal? A man with personal problems though? Sure, not a problem.
The discrepancy in how we react to Sheen and Lohan's screw-ups is a sad reminder of the ever-existent sexism still permeating our society. Sheen gets second, third, and fourth career chances. In a fair world, Lohan would be entitled to the exact same. Hear that, CBS? Write up a contract for the girl. It's your turn to promote gender equality!