A few days ago a video went viral in which Angus Jones of the sitcom Two and a Half Men called the show "filth" and urged people not to watch it.
Then there was a day where neither he nor the show's producers could really be reached for comment.
I said to myself, "Desperate, back-stage damage control discussions."
Now Angus Jones has come out with a kinda, sorta apology.
That didn't take long.
Here's the story . . .
Who Angus Jones Is
Angus Jones is a nineteen year old man who is making the difficult transition from being a child star to being a mature adult.
This process does not have a high success rate, and it often involves a painful wrench and a career change. Very few child stars are able to transition into being successful non-child actors/actresses.
So Angus is going through a particularly difficult time of life, made more difficult by the pressures of fame and money.
In regard to money, he's reportedly been the highest paid child star working in Hollywood, pulling in $350,000 per episode of Two and a Half Men.
The stars as the "half man" character of the title, a reference to the fact that when he started on the program he was only eight or nine years old, so he's been doing this show for most of his life.
This is also the show that Charlie Sheen got fired from after his bizarre public meltdown a while ago.
Jones reports that he has been going to a Christian school since he was small, and in recent times he has become affiliated with a Seventh-Day Adventist church, which he says has helped him grow closer to God.
In fact, he produced a two-part testimonial video which is available on YouTube.
In the video, he says:
"I'm on 'Two and a Half Men' and I don't want to be on it,” he said. "If you watch 'Two and a Half Men,' please stop watching it and filling your head with filth. People say it’s just entertainment. Do some research on the effects of television and your brain, and I promise you you’ll have a decision to make when it comes to television, especially with what you watch."
Jones is currently under contract for another year with the show. He is not expected back on the set until 2013, though, because his character does not appear in the next few episodes.
It will be interesting to see whether he does return to the show and, if he does, whether he will contract--or be offered a contract--for further work.
Publicly calling your show "filth" and encouraging people not to watch it is not smiled upon in Hollywood, and I'd be curious to see whether he contract contains provisions that would prohibit precisely this kind of behavior.
It is entirely predictable that the producers of the show, Jones's agent, and other around him would try to regroup and try to find a face-saving (and possibly lawsuit-avoiding) way of getting out of the situation, and so . . .
An Apology . . . Sort Of
Jones has now released a statement, in which he says:
"I have been the subject of much discussion, speculation and commentary over the past 24 hours.
While I cannot address everything that has been said or right every misstatement or misunderstanding, there is one thing I want to make clear. Without qualification, I am grateful to and have the highest regard and respect for all of the wonderful people on Two and Half Men with whom I have worked and over the past ten years who have become an extension of my family.
Chuck Lorre, Peter Roth and many others at Warner Bros. and CBS are responsible for what has been one of the most significant experiences in my life to date. I thank them for the opportunity they have given and continue to give me and the help and guidance I have and expect to continue to receive from them.
I also want all of the crew and cast on our show to know how much I personally care for them and appreciate their support, guidance and love over the years. I grew up around them and know that the time they spent with me was in many instances more than with their own families. I learned life lessons from so many of them and will never forget how much positive impact they have had on my life.
I apologize if my remarks reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation of the extraordinary opportunity of which I have been blessed. I never intended that."
Or, as Washington Post blogger Emily Yahr puts it:
1)Show is filth
2)No lack of respect to the show intended.
What to Make of This?
It's a mixed bag.
On the one hand, we have a young man courageously speaking his mind, as young men are wont to do, even to their detriment.
So that's admirable.
On the other hand, we have a quick backtrack when the reality of what has happened become apparent.
So that's understandable, if not admirable.
On yet another hand, he doesn't backpedal on the filth remark, so he doesn't seem to betray his fundamental conviction.
So that's a point in his favor.
What's going to happen now?
Hard to say.
Jones might not return to the show (though I'm guessing, at this point, that he will).
The show may not get picked up for another season.
If it does, Jones might not be part of it, either because he takes the opportunity to leave when his contract expires or because the show runners decide they don't want him around any more.
Cheers and Prayers
Many people cheered when Jones has the chutzpah to call his own show "filth."
I've never seen the show, but I've seen enough TV comedy in the past that I have no reason to doubt that characterization.
In a private email discussion, one person suggested not making too much out of Jones's denunciation of the program, for he is young and who knows where he will be in the future.
I think that's wise. There is a reason that St. Paul says recent converts should not be put in leadership positions (1 Tim. 3:6).
We've already seen a partial backtrack, and Jones is going through a very difficult and stress-filled transition from child star to (hopefully) mature adult.
I would say, let's take this for what it is: We can appreciate the stand Jones took, but we should recognize the other aspects of the situation, too.
In particular, in view of the difficult transition Jones is facing, I suggest that we keep him in prayer.
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