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Warner Bros. officially fires Charlie Sheen

Warner Bros., the production company that makes the CBS sitcom "Two and Half Men," officially fired Charlie Sheen Monday.

"After careful consideration, Warner Bros. Television has terminated Charlie Sheen's services on "Two and a Half Men" effective immediately," the studio said in a statement issued Monday afternoon. It followed a letter sent to Sheen informing him of the action.

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The Hollywood website TMZ.com, which has what it characterizes as a facsimile of the letter on its website, says the studio cited a clause allowing it to fire any employe involved in committing a "felony offense involving moral turpitude" as the reason for the firing. The full letter is 11 pages, according TMZ. Read its account here.

Here is the paragraph in the letter that lays out the studio's charges against Sheen: "There is ample evidence supporting Warner Bros. reasonable good faith opinion that Mr. Sheen has committed felony offenses involving moral turpitude (including but not limited to furnishing of cocaine to others as part of the self-destructive lifestyle he has described publicly) that have 'interfere[d] with his ability to fully and completely render all material services required' under the agreement."

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What this means is that Sheen will not be returning to the hit sitcom next season even if the studio and CBS should decide to resume production. Legally, after a move like this, there is no way back for Sheen to "Two and  Half Men." The tens of millions of dollars that CBS and Warner Bros. stand to lose by not resuming production with their star is a good indication of how deplorable the two media giants find Sheen's behavior.

CBS and Warner Bros. pulled the plug last week on the rest of this season for "Two and a Half Men" after Sheen denounced the studio, the network and producer Chuck Lorre. The remarks about Lorre and his ethnic identity were interpreted by some as being anti-Semitic. Sheen has since been on a blitz of TV, radio and Internet interviews that amounted to angry and boastful rants that have attracted large audiences.

The media have by and large opened their arms to Sheen giving him hourlong blocks of time to run wild at the mouth withvirtually no attempt to counter any of the increasingly paranoid charges he delivered against CBS, Warner Bros. and producers on the show.

While the media have generally behaved as badly or worse than Sheen in providing a voyeuristic fish bowl in which to watch this agitated wreck of an actor spin out of control, it should be noted that CBS and Warner Bros. have behaved with considerable restraint in recent days.

In pulling the plug on the rest of this season last week, they tried to send Sheen a message that there were boundaries as to what would be tolerated even from an ATM machine of a sitcom performer like him.

Clearly, he didn't heed that message.

Monday, they sent another one with the notice that he is officially fired - world without end, amen.

Despite all the Hollywood enablers and media empty-heads who point to Sheen's 2 million Twitter followers and the big audiences that his interviews have drawn and wonder whether he is "crazy like a fox," this message could be a career ender.

And I still think it says something really problematic about us as culture that so many people are finding pleasure in the spectacle of Sheen's implosion. If this is what passes for entertainment today, we are in more trouble than we know.

For the record, TMZ says it has a statement of response from Sheen to the Warner Bros. action Monday. It is: "This is very good news. They continue to be in breach, like so many whales. It is a big day of gladness at the Sober Valley Lodge because now I can take all of their bazillions, never have to look at whatshiscock again and I never have to put on those silly shirts for as long as this warlock exists in the terrestrial dimension."

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