In a new interview with People, Charlie Sheen says he’s been able to turn his recent HIV-positive diagnosis into a fresh start. “I guess certain things happen for a reason,” Sheen says. “And maybe all of the stuff that I’ve done professionally, to garner such attention and fanfare and whatever else—good or bad—was sort of leading to a greater calling, a deeper calling.” Today, Charlie Sheen is a man with a renewed sense of purpose—thanks for asking! And also, thanks for allowing him to do terrible, abusive shit to everyone in his life and still regard himself as a hero.
“I’ve usually made lemonade out of lemons. So this is another example of that,” Sheen says, People reports, “with a chuckle,” gamely laughing at all of the many obstacles he’s been able to overcome by turning them into a profit. In this specific instance, Sheen is referring to his new role as a celebrity advocate for the importance of safe sex—an issue he fervently believes in talking about in magazines and on TV shows, now that he’s finally facing the consequences of a lifetime of completely disregarding it. As part of that noble mission, Sheen says he will also be paid by LELO HEX to be a brand ambassador for its condoms, even as he openly admits that his dismissive, cavalier attitude toward protection—and just about everything, really—is what led to him contracting HIV in the first place.
“I did use them a lot. But, you know, those few times …,” said Sheen, trailing off as he reflected on those irresponsible moments that finally led to him waking up to the realization that he could win more publicity and money by saying he now regrets them. “You spend five seconds putting [a condom] on, and you prevent a lifetime of stress, potentially.”
Or in Charlie Sheen’s case, a few years of stress that produced some of the worst human behavior ever exhibited by a rich, entitled asshole who is still allowed to walk the streets, followed by yet another shot at redemption, offered up once again by a public that continues to root for him, whether out of morbid fascination, vicarious thrill, or lately, pity. After all, it would just be cruel to rip on Charlie Sheen these days, because HIV is a horrible disease that no one would wish on their worst enemy—or even Charlie Sheen, a man whose open contempt for every “loser” in the world who isn’t him was once considered so hilarious (not to mention endlessly marketable). A man who blamed contracting the disease on the “unsavory and insipid” women he paid to have sex with him, and who is now casting this whole paid condom spokesperson thing as “the shift between curse and opportunity to really do something heroic and really contribute to something that really matters.” We are meant to applaud his bravery in being forced by blackmail into this latest of Sheen’s lucrative roles as a cautionary example, because to do otherwise would be insensitive, or sanctimonious—or worse, boring.
Because we can hear you now—this isn’t funny. And you’re right! It’s not funny to rip on Charlie Sheen anymore, and it’s been that way for a long time. Pretty pointless, too: We’ve been doing it for years and it’s only redoubled his resolve, while also turning him into a hero for those who regard the press as a vulture and the world as “too PC.” Sure, we could sit here and recount all the shitty things he’s done for you all over again, like we haven’t already collectively shrugged them off. The 2011 meltdown that he turned into a prolonged national tour of his own asshole and a line of “Tiger Blood” T-shirts. The proudly misogynist rants against his ex-wives and co-stars. The repeated accusations of—and arrests for—abusing the women in his life, holding knives to their throats, threatening to kill them. and so on. Hell, he shot his fiancée Kelly Preston in 1990, and Hot Shots! grossed more than $180 million.
Because so what, right? He’s just “Hollywood Bad Boy” Charlie Sheen—and now that we’re tired of that character, he’s Reformed Hero Charlie Sheen. He now says he gets the “shame shivers” when he thinks about his past behavior, and he recorded this commercial for the condoms he’s promoting where he does a lot of serious frowning, and takes serious pauses laden with serious, poignant self-reflection. It’s time for us to also take him seriously, it says, while also taking his word that these condoms feel “amazing.”
In another, separate interview with Extra conducted as part of this daily regimen of redemption stories, Sheen says he’s focusing on his health, balking at the idea of marrying again, enjoying his reignited film career, and even considering a return to TV, based on “interest from a couple of the major networks,” adding, “I think the world is starting to [realize] I’m not this hell-raising lunatic that brings chaos wherever I show up.”
At least, not unless that’s the Charlie Sheen that he’s selling. Today he’s selling the Charlie Sheen who deserves another chance—and he’s selling some condoms. As Sheen himself says, “It does kind of make perfect sense.” After all, when you buy either of them, people tend to get fucked.