5:19pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Charlie Sheen Sues National Enquirer for Defamation Over Corey Haim Allegation
Charlie Sheen is suing National Enquirer and its parent company American Media Inc. for defamation, claiming the tabloid falsely asserted that he sodomized then-13-year-old Corey Haim decades ago.
"[T]he editor of National Enquirer, Defendant Dylan Howard, is running the story against Mr. Sheen because of a personal vendetta that arose after he was unable to be the first to break the story that Mr. Sheen was HIV positive," writes attorney Shane Bernard in the complaint filed Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Sheen says the cruel and malicious stories are especially offensive because he has five children who are around the same age Haim was then.
"We look forward to litigating against Charlie Sheen, and can’t wait to expose his depravities in a court of law," an AMI spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter.
The Nov. 8 story alleges Sheen sexually abused Haim, "pushed him down a drug fueled path to an early grave" and preyed on other children, according to the complaint.
Sheen is suing for defamation and, given his status as a public figure, he'll have to prove the outlet published the story with malice — meaning it either knew the claims were false or acted with reckless disregard for the truth. He argues that he can do just that. He notes that while the outlet states there are hundreds of people who could support the assertions it quotes only one: someone else who's been accused of assaulting Haim.
"The statements are categorically false and in the article, Defendant NEI outright states that the individual who claimed that the abuse occurred, Defendant Dominick Brascia, is himself accused of having molested Corey Haim," writes Bernard. "Thus, Defendant Howard and Defendants NEI and AMI entertained serious doubt as to the truth of the publication and/or acted with a high degree of awareness of probably falsity."
The lawsuit comes on the heels of sexual harassment complaints made against Howard by a dozen former American Media employees.