To think I once had liked Sheen for his comedic acting . . . .
Radar Online reports, April 6, 2016, that the Los Angeles Police Department has launched a felony investigation involving Charlie Sheen‘s massive HIV cover-up, as well as death threats he’s made at a former girlfriend Scottie Ross, aka Brett Rossi, who was recently granted an emergency protection order against the actor.
Now the Enquirer‘s editor-in-chief, Dylan Howard, finally divulges that although he’d been on good terms with Sheen, the pathologically narcissistic actor threatened to kill him for the magazine’s exposé of Sheen’s HIV lies, wanton and reckless hetero- and homosexual promiscuity, and millions of dollars in hush-money paid to his sexual consorts for their silence.
National Enquirer is the lowly supermarket tabloid that alone broke the story of Sheen’s HIV-AIDS and countless other reports, including Hillary and Bill Clinton‘s respective ill health, and former Democrat VP candidate John Edwards’ mistress and out-of-wedlock child.
In a first-person account for The Hollywood Reporter, April 7, 2016, Howard writes (language F-word warning!):
It was a Friday afternoon in early September 2014. As editor-in-chief of the National Enquirer and RadarOnline, I was used to rubbing celebrities the wrong way. Sometimes they get mad, ordering a public relations flunky or manager to get in touch with a self-righteous denial. Sometimes they threaten litigation.
But this was different. This was insane.
I picked up on the third ring, and he launched straight into it. “You want to fucking go down this road, you fucking douche bag?”
The voice was hoarse, cracking with fury — but I recognized it immediately. Charlie Sheen: the man with whom I had enjoyed a working relationship for more than three years, since before his dismissal from Two and a Half Men — and subsequent meltdown — had made him the hottest source of copy in my career.
What had happened? Last time we had spoken, things had been amicable. Now, barely drawing breath, he ranted on: “You motherfucker. You want to fucking, like, sit over there and fucking insult my fucking gal like this? Fucking whore. Come to my fucking house today. … Come to my fucking house today, you fucking pig.”
I racked my brain. What was the last big story we’d run on Sheen? Nothing came to mind. “What’s the issue?” I asked. “I don’t know what your issue is. What’s your problem?”
“Go hug your fucking parents, OK?” he yelled. “I don’t care if they’re dead or alive. Dig them up and hug their decaying corpses. You motherfucker. How fucking dare you? You fucking hurt the last fucking thing you should hurt. One more story, bro, and you’ll wake up looking into my fucking eyes, you fucking whore pig. I fucking dare you. Now it’s a challenge. I fucking dare you.” Then Charlie hung up.
I still wasn’t sure which story he was mad about (it turned out to be an innocuous piece in which one porn-star ex expressed doubt about the long-term prospects of his relationship with his latest porn lover) — but something else was going on.
The truth was, I had been chasing a Sheen story for years. A story so big, it would change both our lives forever.
Fourteen months later, the Enquirer broke that story: Sheen was HIV positive. Not only that — he had known for four years. His wild lifestyle likely had exposed countless girlfriends, models, porn stars and prostitutes to unspeakable risk.
It also was a story of extraordinary corruption, violence, lies, intimidation, death threats and millions of dollars paid out in hush money — a story that only now can be told. […]
I put together a “ghost team” of reporters, and we started investigating. If the story was true, it was a bombshell: Many of Charlie’s hundreds, possibly thousands, of lovers would have been exposed to the virus.
What we uncovered was shocking not only in terms of illuminating the depths of Sheen’s depravity but in the scale of the conspiracy to hide the truth. […] It soon became clear that Charlie’s sexual appetite was not limited to wives, goddesses, porn stars, prostitutes — or even women. […]
In July 2014, we received our most persuasive intelligence to date — financial records that detailed a hush-money payment to ensure a former lover maintained silence over his HIV status.
The next month, another source came forward: Charlie’s former drug dealer, who had been part of his inner circle since 2010. Not only was Charlie HIV positive, he claimed, but he had witnessed Sheen have unprotected sex with multiple partners after learning of his condition. The dealer also swore that Charlie had paid them off — not only as a “sorry” for exposing them to HIV but as inducement to keep their mouths shut.
One of them was the source’s own girlfriend. And when Charlie found out she knew of his condition, he brought out his checkbook. “He bought her a house in Calabasas and put her on his payroll to keep her quiet,” said the source. “Now she’s married, and she and her husband are living off Charlie. There are tons of girls that get a regular check from Charlie to keep quiet.”
The more we investigated, the more this pattern came into focus: Charlie was shelling out a fortune in bribes to former lovers — and terrifying the rest into silence.
Our investigation was going beyond simply an exposure of Charlie’s medical status to reveal a conspiracy from the top of Hollywood down to its seediest bowels.
Each dark revelation seemed to engender another. We learned, for example, that Charlie was not only friends with a convicted child sex offender but that he was paying him as a “dialogue coach” on his FX comedy Anger Management. When the producers discovered the man’s past and tried to sack him, Charlie threatened to not work unless his friend was let back on set. The producers backed down — although they refused to have him on the payroll. By September 2014, the man was on set every day, his salary covered by Sheen.
Another informant confirmed what other sources had told me: Sheen had contracted HIV from a transsexual lover in 2011 and continued to have unprotected sex. […]
A close friend — famous in his own right and a pal of the star’s for two decades — […] confirmed that Charlie was paying out a fortune in a desperate attempt to keep the news quiet. “I know that people are extorting him and have extorted him for hundreds and hundreds and thousands of dollars threatening to go public.”
It fit the pattern. We obtained a secret file containing Charlie’s financial documents that itemized expenditures for 2013, including $1.6 million on “friendly entertainment” (his euphemism for prostitutes); child-support payments to ex-wives Mueller and Richards for $55,000 a month each; and a payment of $396,000 to a mystery “Miss B.”
The documents also contained details of American Express cards he had given to a number of women — each with a $15,000 limit. The papers showed that among them, the women had spent more than $42,000 in a single month. […]
Even more ominous than paying for silence were details of the nondisclosure agreements that emerged. […] Charlie had legal papers drawn up that all visitors and sexual partners had to sign. It meant that they had to keep all communication (both written and verbal), personal information and details of their interaction with Sheen private or face legal ramifications. Disclosing any of this “confidential information” to friends, family, social networks, media organizations or publishers would incur a penalty of $100,000 — in addition to any money gained from breaking the agreement.
He was bullying them into silence. And worse, the NDA compelled any legal challenge to be heard not in a court of law but by a mediator — and confidentially. “We understand, acknowledge and agree that there is no right to an appeal or a review of an arbitrator’s award as there would be of a judge or jury’s decision,” it concludes.
In real terms, this meant that anyone who wanted to accuse the star of knowingly having unprotected sex while HIV positive was muzzled before they could even seek recourse. […]
I documented a conversation with another of Charlie’s inner circle who recounted a pattern of domestic violence. […]
A former employee of Sheen’s corroborated the violence — and added a chilling dimension: “One night, Charlie and I were talking about guns. He said, ‘I bet you don’t own guns like I own guns.'” […]
He estimated there to be 15 weapons in Charlie’s possession, “not including each of the security guys carrying Glock 40s.”
“He’s unhinged,” concluded our source.
“He threatened to kill me. I know he threatened to kill Denise [Richards, Sheen’s ex-wife]. He just calls her and tells her, ‘I’m going to kill you.’ Basically, when he’s not getting his way that seems to be the M.O.: Threaten to kill you.”
And now, in the midst of it all, that phone call, with Charlie threatening me. Whatever relationship we had was over. “I fucking dare you,” he yelled. “Now it’s a challenge. I fucking dare you.” […]
As is customary, we informed Sheen’s reps that we intended to run the story — based on our evidence as well as information provided by at least five sources.
Their response was typically bullish. […] I was threatened with a major-league lawsuit and “astronomical punitive damages” if we published what they called “defamatory lies.” […]
We backed down temporarily, determined to bolster our sourcing even further. The next 11 months were nail-biting. My relationship with Charlie was shot irreparably, and every story we posted provoked another tantrum. We ran them anyway. […]
We were ready to publish the big one. And this time, we weren’t going to back down.
Over two and a half years, we had assembled thousands of legal documents, sworn statements, text messages, photographs. We were watertight.
To get the ball rolling, we pulled an old tabloid trick — running a “blind item” in October 2015 about “a bad boy Tinseltown star” whose “explosive secret” is that he’s HIV positive. It worked. More individuals came forward [….]
This was Nov. 11. The next day, Charlie’s people began discussions with NBC about an interview. The following Monday, Matt Lauer and Today tweeted that Charlie would appear the next day to make a “personal announcement.” This was it. He was attempting to limit the damage [….]
Within minutes, we published our story online. Subsequent issues of the National Enquirer revealed for the first time, and in exhaustive detail, the extent of Sheen’s debauchery — and the spectacular arc of his flameout. We went to town on it. And every word was true. […]
In the months since publication, I’ve had to employ personal security. Many times, I’ve been told that Charlie doesn’t make idle threats; and if ever a man had motive and means, it’s him.
On Nov. 23, after the Enquirer‘s second week of biting revelations, I received a phone call from one of Sheen’s closest confidants, who told me: “If I were Charlie, I would come after you and kill you. … If you did to me what you did to Charlie, I would have had you killed by now.”
So why did we publish? The answer couldn’t be simpler: Because it was the truth. Entertainment journalism can get a bad rap, but in this case, the right to privacy of one individual was far outweighed by the risk to those who did not know about his HIV status. […]
The story of my chase with Charlie is a glimpse into the dark heart of the American showbiz dream. It’s about how the system not only facilitates the horror but perpetuates it. It’s a story of power, corruption and lies unprecedented in Hollywood history. And I have no doubt that there’s more to come.
I’ll be there when it does.
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