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Charlie Sheen’s lawyer told TheWrap on Monday that he intended to sue the actor’s former employers for breach of contract, hours after Warner Brothers Television fired Sheen off the hit show, “Two and a Half Men.”
“We intend to file a suit against Chuck Lorre and Warner Brothers,” Sheen’s lawyer Marty Singer told TheWrap.
Singer said Lorre, the show's creator, interfered in Sheen’s multi-million-dollar contract when he ceased writing episodes after the actor went into rehab in January. And Warner Brothers breached Sheen’s contract, he said, by terminating the season – and then the actor – despite the fact that Sheen took two drug tests a week to prove he was sober.
“In January Charlie did three shows, two of them with a live audience,” said Singer. “There were no problems with him on the set., he worked flawlessly. If there were any problems, it would have been reported in the media.”
Meanwhile, Sheen let loose against his former bosses in an Access Hollywood interview, fuming: “These guys are such yellow cockroaches that they didn’t even have the decency to call me. I put 5 bill[ion] in their cheap suit pockets and another half a bil’ in what’s-his-cheese’s pockets and this is the… respect I get?” Sheen told Billy Bush. “It’s just deplorable and they should be ashamed of themselves!”
Charlie Sheen's firing from "Two and a Half Men" sets up what is likely to be an epic legal fight between's Sheen's lawyers and his ex-bosses, with Sheen's recent erratic statements certain to come up as evidence of his inability to do his job.
In a letter to his lawyer sent on Monday, Sheen's former employers accused him of illegal conduct — including giving others cocaine — and said he "has been engaged in dangerously self destructive conduct and appears to be very ill." Warner Bros. listed numerous statements he has made about his work on the show, including one in which he shared his tricks for remaining upright on the set after long nights.
"After careful consideration, Warner Bros. Television has terminated Charlie Sheen’s services on 'Two and a Half Men' effective immediately," Warner Bros. TV, which produces the show, said in a statement.
But Singer said that the letter's accusation that Sheen could not deliver lines or work with the executive producer in January and February was "absolutely false."
Singer said the actor has been sober since leaving rehab in recent weeks, and that the network and production company showed far less anxiety when Sheen was arrested last year for felony and misdemeanor charges of assault against his wife, Brooke Mueller.
"It's specious, made-up, to try to justify this," said Singer. "Last year Warner Brothers stated they had no objection to his doing jail time as long as he did't miss the show."
It may not be the end of the series: Warner Bros. spokeseman Paul McGuire said that "no decision has been made regarding the future of the show."
The firing came just days after Sheen, whose grip on reality has increasingly come under question in recent weeks, said he believed a deal was close to bring him back to TV's top-rated sitcom.
Warner Bros. said in its letter to Sheen's attorney that the company was able to fire him under an "Incapacity" clause in his contract. Examples of incapacity include "any material change in Performer's appearance or other attributes."
"Mr. Sheen went from an actor who performed [his] duties to an individual whose self-destructive conduct resulted in his hospitalization, his inability to work at all for a period and the rapid erosion of the cooperative and creative process necessary to produce the Show," the letter said.
Also read: Joking Aside, Is Sheen Mentally Ill?
It also accused him of "moral turpitude (including but not limited to furnishing of cocaine to others as part of the self-destructive lifestyle he has described publicly)."
The decision to fire Sheen was reached based on his actions after the show's cancellation for the season, an individual close to the show told TheWrap. A Warner Bros. executive said the studio has received many calls about Sheen during their troubles with the actor, and none supported him.
Since the cancellation for the season, Sheen has been on a media tear, bringing phrases like "winning," "Vatican assassins," and "tiger blood" into the lexicon while raising questions, at times, about his mental health.
TMZ posted a statement Monday in which Sheen embraced his firing.
"This is very good news," he said. "They continue to be in breach, like so many whales. It is a big day of gladness at the Sober Valley Lodge because now I can take all of the bazillions, never have to look at whatshiscock again and I never have to put on those silly shirts for as long as this warlock exists in the terrestrial dimension."
A Warner Brothers executive expressed shock at the apparent reference to Chuck Lorre, the show's creator, whom Sheen has been ripping in interviews for weeks.
A Rasmussen poll Monday said that 71 percent of those polled view Sheen unfavorably.
The show went on hiatus Jan. 28 when Sheen announced he was starting rehab. It was scheduled to begin shooting Feb. 28 , but canceled for the remainder of the season when Sheen ripped Lorre in a radio tirade.
Sheen's firing almost certainly will lead to an epic legal fight with his former employers. Last Monday, the actor's attorney demanded that he be paid for the eight canceled episodes — worth about $16 million to Sheen, who until his firing was TV's highest-paid actor.
It also raises questions about whether the show can go on without him.
Warner Bros. and CBS have long tolerated Sheen's misbehavior — including drug and alcohol benders, partying with porn stars and pleading guilty to misdemeanor third-degree assault on his soon-to-be ex-wife, Brooke Mueller — because of the show's value.
The show is on track to become a billion-dollar asset for Warner Bros, and Sheen, for eight seasons, was its very volatile lynchpin. Almost every joke was built around his character's misdeeds, and other characters' reactions to them.
Many are questioning Sheen's grasp of the events around him. Two mental health experts told TheWrap last week that he is likely suffering from the effects of abusing crack cocaine — a particularly potent drug that can cause severe brain damage.
On Friday, Sheen called into a Philadelphia radio station to say he believed a deal was close for him to return to the show.
Something was indeed in the works. But not his return.