I trust that the Some Came Running readership has not been terribly bothered by the lack of coverage of the misadventures of Charlie Sheen, and that they don't expect much in the way of such coverage in the future. I would like to register some amusement with an attempt at legal analysis by Reuter's Eriq Gardner with respect to Sheen and his conflict with the producers and the production entity of the sitcom Two something and its network, CBS. Gardner may well be on to something when he says that the extant morals clause in that contract would be difficult to apply in light of the imprecations Mr. Sheen is known, and known, and known, to have actually committed. Later in the piece, Gardner notes that if that and other strategies don't look like they'll pan out, Warner Brothers Television, the ostensible plaintiff in any civil action against Sheen, "could argue he breached his job responsibilities by bringing negative attention to the show in media interviews." Gardner then quotes the clause putting "all publicity [...] under Producer's sole control." And Gardner then sort of pooh-poohs it, stating, "This clause is standard boilerplate in an entertainer's contract [...]" Um, yes, it sure is. As such, it's also the reason most official "behind the scenes" stories of the making of a film or television show are so bland and predictable and full of risible compliments. A few years back an actor friend of mine was being strong-armed by a studio into taking a role he didn't want in a film he didn't want to be in, and was experiencing considerable frustration on that account, and I recall in one personal conversation how he really went off on non-disparagement clauses, how these days the studio had the right to approve EVERYTHING. "If you're hosting SNL and you wanna participate in a skit satirizing one of your films, you have to get approval," he marveled. Now more often than not, the studio will give such approval, because it wants to maintain a certain "were-all-in-this-together-and-OF-COURSE-we-can-take-a-joke" illusion. But if it wants to be pissy, or just arbitrarily bring a hammer down to teach someone a lesson, they absolutely can. To call Charlie Sheen to task for terming a good number of the higher level executives involved with his show "trolls," and so on ought to be a fairly easy task, Marty Singer or no Marty Singer. I doubt it'll ever come to that, in fact I imagine Marty Singer will have his client put in a strait-jacket before he allows any case involving Sheen's contract get within a hundred yards of a judge.
Anybody out there know exactly WHEN non-disparagement clauses became "boilerplate?" I can't imagine it was any time during the career of Robert Mitchum.