Charlie Sheen is a new condom spokesman for Swedish sex-toy manufacturer LELO, which is causing outrage among some feminists who see the actor as an abuser of women (video below).
"We know Charlie may be a divisive choice for many, but it's also a bold one, and in the fight against STIs we need to make an impact," LELO wrote on its IndieGoGo page where the company has raised nearly $200K for its new "LELO HEX - The World's First Re-Engineered Condom" as of June 22.
Sheen, who is HIV-positive, says in a new video for the condom:
What may feel like five seconds of an inconvenience or a halted or a thwarted moment can absolutely prevent a lifetime of potential grief and suffering. ... A lot has to do with that fantasy belief that that can never happen to them, and that's something I can speak to. I pretty much felt the same way; that's stuff for other people.
Caitlin Murphy, a sex educator who is promoting the hashtag #BoycottLELO, told The Daily Beast: "It’s a shame that a company which was founded on women’s pleasure, luxury, and quality has resorted to gimmicks and attention-grabbing controversy rather than quality. And the condom itself doesn’t seem all that 'revolutionary.'"
The news site notes that outrage has also been voiced by sex toy reviewer Dangerous Lilly, sex blogger Sarah Nitchkey, sex toy reviewer Formidable Femme, and writer/consultant Lux Alptraum.
Jezebel noted in 2011 that Sheen accidentally shot actress Kelly Preston (who was engaged to Sheen) in 1990. He was sued in 1994 by an unidentified college student who said Sheen hit her after she refused his sexual advances. Sheen was arrested in 1996 for allegedly beating girlfriend Brittany Ashland and pleaded no contest to battery charges in 1997. Denise Richards filed for divorce from Sheen in 2006 and claimed in court papers that he made death threats.
Sheen was also reportedly arrested in 2009 for allegedly strangling then-wife Brooke Mueller and threatening to kill her and ended up pleading guilty in 2010 to third-degree domestic violence. In 2010 Sheen was accused by adult film star Capri Anderson of threatening to kill her and putting his hands around her throat. Mueller filed a temporary restraining order against her ex-husband in 2011 for making alleged "specific, descriptive threats."
LELO did not answer questions from The Daily Beast but did reply to some critics on Twitter:
"[O]ur campaign is not an endorsement of the past. It’s about promoting condom usage, preventing STIs and change."
"CS is not a face for LELO. He's the perfect person to engage on condom usage, STI prevention, and change."
" ... [O]ur commitment to feminist porn is absolutely unchanged. It means a lot to us."