Charlie Sheen’s confession about having HIV was first reported by TMZ and the Enquirer but wasn’t considered “real” news until the Today Show featured Sheen with a live confession and talk with Matt Lauer, the well-known Today Show host. Admitting to HIV isn’t just news because Sheen is a famous movie star and Hollywood personality. It captured the attention of many because they still remember not long ago when Sheen appeared on television talking about “tiger blood” and using his now somewhat famous quote “winning”.
At the time, he was proudly flaunting his careless lifestyle of sex and parties, and at the very least considered foolishly boastful by many. Celebrity or not, when an individual makes such outrageous statements and displays behavior as Sheen did only to find out soon after he may pay the ultimate price and is in fact not “winning” people cannot help but pay attention. While it is terrible for anyone to contract such a disease, there is little doubt that some of the public is thinking Charlie Sheen brought it on himself and have little sympathy for the actor.
The actor did bring upon himself through his careless actions and apparent wild lifestyle, so many would be right about that. However, wishing bad things for someone else simply because they have displayed bad behavior is probably just as terrible as the bad behavior itself. However, the public feelings and outspoken nature of some regarding Sheen’s problems are understandable. While understandable, there is already a lack of enough sympathy in this world so it would stand to reason we should not add to the problem when it costs basically nothing to begin with. There is no doubt Sheen has a tough road ahead and one way or another will have to make amends on many levels.
The line between news and simply celebrity gossip can be blurred many times in today’s world and it is hard to tell what the qualifiers should be in either case. However, there are important lessons in the unfortunate circumstances that Sheen now finds himself in. The outspoken calls reinforcing the need for people to adhere to safe sex have been largely muted as of late by other topics that have taken center stage in the media. Nonetheless, Sheen’s situation is a good reminder that practicing safe sex is as important as ever and HIV is a still a real threat that we should all be concerned about.
Unfortunately, sometimes it takes the misfortune of someone famous to remind us that humility is always a fantastic attribute. Even if you feel like you are invincible, the reality is none of us are, no matter how much money or fame one might have. Sheen’s antics and loud cries about his lavish lifestyle in almost a defiant tone are yet another example of someone who was taunting fate and inviting something bad to happen.
There is little doubt that the spotlight will continue to shine on this situation in the coming months as it follows Sheen through what are sure to be many ups and downs. Lauer of the Today Show asked Sheen several questions about what he had told past sexual partners and if he had spoken to all of them yet. You can be sure that if any of Sheen’s stories had an ounce of truth, then there will be more than a few who come forward with lawsuits and allegations of all types.
This will no doubt ignite the media circus once again and there is little Sheen can do to avoid it at this point. While an admission of this magnitude always captures the attention of the media and the public alike, sometimes it is only the beginning of a much larger story that plays out over several months. This is likely the case with Sheen as it will almost surely involve quite a few people and probably reveal details that may not be “news” but you can be sure it will quickly find its way onto every news website in the world.
I think we should all hope that Sheen can get some help and find a way to deal with HIV, but we should not easily forget the reminders this situation has brought front and center, safe sex only being one of them. While it is probably good to revive the safe sex campaigns and bring the issue to the forefront once again, treating others well and living with humility are important too. In a world where we have so much volatility and many times just sheer brutality, we should all remember to be good to one another and not be a “Charlie Sheen”.