Charlie Sheen’s bipolar fundraiser: Winning or losing?
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Charlie Sheen made news last week during the Canadian leg of his ‘Violent Torpedo of Truth’ tour by kicking off an impromptu fundraiser for a local bipolar disorder group. He promised to match donations dollar for dollar.
Now, though the dust is still settling, the nonprofit group’s leadership can’t reach Sheen or his reps and said they haven’t received thousands of dollars raised in their name. And Sheen has yet to match any contributions.
The Organization for Bipolar Affective Disorders had received about $1,750 from Sheen’s efforts on Friday. Those are all online donations, said the group’s executive director, Kaj Korvela, and the total is in flux because more pledges continue to come in.
Sheen staged a charity walk from his hotel, the Ritz Carlton in Toronto, to Massey Hall, where he performed the second show of a two-night stint. Local media, including the Toronto Star and CTV, estimated that hundreds of fans took part in the walk, for which Sheen asked for cash donations for OBAD of at least $1.
Sheen, by the way, continued to deny that he suffers from the disease he was highlighting, wearing a knit cap that said, ‘I’m not bipolar’ for the event. His self-diagnosis: bi-winning.
During his show that night, he auctioned off several pieces of memorabilia -- a signed Toronto Maple Leafs jersey, his catchphrase T-shirts -- that brought in thousands of dollars, according to local media reports.
Korvela said his group hasn’t seen any of that money, and there’s no exact accounting, as far as he knows, on how much was collected. He’s tried repeatedly to reach Sheen’s reps by phone and email and has had no response.
‘It seems that his group doesn’t want to talk to us directly,’ Korvela said.
Sheen’s spokesman, Larry Solters, told Show Tracker on Wednesday that he’d received no calls or emails from Korvela and had been trying to reach the group ‘for days.’ (Show Tracker reached the organization easily through numbers and email addresses on its public website.)
Korvela said his group wasn’t trying to be greedy, but it -- like most nonprofits -- counts on donations to be able to operate. And a high-profile event like last week’s Sheen-fueled money drive doesn’t happen often. ‘We are a small charity -- we want to support the mental health community in Calgary and spread awareness as far as we can,’ Korvela said.
A local radio station, 680 News, reported that Sheen’s Friday show didn’t go over much better with fans than the previous night’s critically drubbed performance. There was no question-and-answer segment, which has been typical at other ‘Violent Torpedo’ shows, and attendees were so unhappy that they pelted the stage with ‘objects,’ including a purple rubber duck and a quarter that hit Sheen in the head.
[Updated at 3 p.m.: Executives at the Organization for Bipolar Affective Disorders spoke Wednesday afternoon to Sheen’s business manager, Barry Klarberg, who said the actor will make good on his promised donation to the tune of $5,600. That check will be cut immediately, Klarberg told the Toronto Record, and should reach the organization by the end of the week.
The call from Klarberg came after Korvela contacted some media outlets to express his frustration at not being able to reach anyone from Sheen’s camp.
Now that the issue seems to have been settled, Korvela said there was a possibility the star and the bipolar disorder group will collaborate on a May 2 event when Sheen’s tour swings back through Canada for a show in Vancouver.]
-- T.L. Stanley