Spoof on Sheen takes a dig at mainland moral standards

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 March, 2011, 12:00am

A mainland newspaper column lambasting troubled Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen is a talking point online.

Media blogs around the world homed in on the Global Times, a mainland newspaper, after it published what appeared to be a spoof opinion piece on Sheen, which also made several barbed comments about mainland business culture and elastic moral standards. Written in an indignant tone under the headline 'Charlie Sheen is not filial', the op-ed piece published in the paper's Beijing English-language edition last week uses the Two and a Half Men star's recent public outbursts as evidence of the failings of Western culture.

'With no firm hand to guide them, Western media has deliberately goaded [Sheen] into making increasingly delusional statements,' it said, later adding that the actor's ability to attract 1 million followers to his Twitter account was 'yet more evidence that microblogs spread the most unhealthy contagions in society, like a disease'.

It even manages to blur fact and fiction, chastising the actor for not listening to his father, Martin Sheen, 'who was once the president of the US'. The elder Sheen did play an American president in the television series The West Wing, but has yet to hold any real political office.

The column suggests Sheen's bosses should have learned from their Chinese counterparts and sent the actor to karaoke parlours to prevent him from being 'distracted with prostitutes and drugs' and 'instead of epic parties at his home with porn stars, why not keep Sheen occupied with business banquets?'

At least three people claiming to be members of the paper's editorial team - including one who said he was the author of the piece - e-mailed the blog Shanghaiist.com to complain after the site queried whether 'some expat writer is taking the p*** out of [the paper]'.

They wrote that the article was 'a spoof column' published 'with full editorial connivance'.

'The editors were fully aware the story was a humour piece. The jokes were all explained,' the blog quoted one as writing. 'As you know, Chinese people like a good laugh as much as anyone else.'