Embattled actor Charlie Sheen is demanding an apology from the Anti-Defamation League for saying that his rant against the executive producer of his hit TV sitcom was "borderline anti-Semitism."
And in an interview on Access Hollywood Friday morning, Sheen revealed that his mother is Jewish, "which makes me Jewish and my children Jewish ... and I'm proud."
A letter from Sheen's attorney Marty Singer demands a retraction because, it says, Sheen's only intention was to "address the man rather than his television persona," the TMZ website reported Tuesday.
Sheen, in a radio interview Feb. 24 and in a letter posted on the TMZ website, called the "Two and a Half Men" executive producer Chuck Lorre a "contaminated little maggot," said he was a "clown" and "stupid," and referred to him several times as Chaim Levine. Lorre's given name is Charles Michael Levine.
"By invoking television producer Chuck Lorre’s Jewish name in the context of an angry tirade against him, Charlie Sheen left the impression that another reason for his dislike of Mr. Lorre is his Jewishness," Abraham Foxman, ADL's national director, said in a statement Sunday. "This fact has no relevance to Mr. Sheen’s complaint or disagreement, and his words are at best bizarre, and at worst, borderline anti-Semitism.”
Singer's letter points out that Lorre referred to himself by the name Chaim on an onscreen vanity card in February, in which he also reportedly writes about "a lifetime of distancing himself from Judaism." The letter also says the ADL should denounce Lorre for acknowledging his "disdain for the Jewish religion."
Sheen went on the defensive over the weekend, saying his statements were not anti-Semitic, and that he was "referring to Chuck by his real name because I wanted to address the man, not the bulls--t TV persona."
"So you're telling me, anytime someone calls me Carlos Estevez, I can claim they are anti-Latino?" Sheen continued, referring to his given name.
CBS on Feb. 25 canceled filming of the final four episodes of the popular sitcom starring Sheen and could cancel the show all together.
Meanwhile, in another celebrity controversy, British fashion designer John Galliano was fired by the Christian Dior fashion house after allegedly harassing a couple using anti-Semitic and racist slurs.
His firing as chief designer for Christian Dior was announced Tuesday, just days after he was suspended from the house.
Galliano's harassment of the couple in a Paris bar, which he has denied, was reported last week. On Monday, a video of Galliano saying he loves Hitler also came to light.
Actress Natalie Portman, who is the face of Dior perfume and is Jewish, said Monday in a statement that she is “deeply shocked and disgusted by the video of John Galliano's comments that surfaced today. In light of this video, and as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way."
The video, posted on the website of Britain's The Sun newspaper and on YouTube, shows Galliano yelling at a couple at the bar and captures him saying "I love Hitler." He also tells the couple, "People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f--king gassed." According to reports neither person involved is Jewish.
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