In a piece published Tuesday, The New York Times explored the series of events that led to Charlie Sheen’s public announcement of his H.I.V. status last November. “To track the push and pull between Mr. Sheen and the media over several years,” Colin Moynihan writes, “is to see behind the veil of how celebrity secrets are kept hidden and ultimately disclosed.”

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One of the more reliable ways of keeping secrets hidden, as Sheen made clear in his interview with Matt Lauer, is spending money. Lots of money. We already knew he spent “millions” keeping the women in his life silent, but until today, little was known about how much he spent paying off the gossip blogs who were ready to break the story.

Last April, a blog called Diary of a Hollywood Street King published “about a half-dozen” blog posts which reported “not only that Mr. Sheen had H.I.V. but that he was paying a 25-year-old woman to keep his secret.” The blog’s lawyer, Ronald Richards, was eventually approached by a lawyer named Keith Davidson, who made Richards an offer he couldn’t refuse: take down the posts, and get $60,000.

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The Times writes:

Mr. Richards said that he did not ask Mr. Davidson whom he was representing. “It was irrelevant to me,” he said, adding that the posts were taken down for “business reasons.”

Mr. Davidson later thanked Mr. Richards in an email for “the prompt work of deleting and/or redacting the offending content,” and spoke of four payments of $15,000 being made as a result.

The posts were deleted, and Sheen’s diagnosis wasn’t made public for months. But Mark Burg, Sheen’s manager, says his client “had nothing to do with the payments.”

So where did Keith Davidson’s $60,000 gift come from? Davidson, it should be noted, has represented Sheen in lawsuits relating to his HIV status, though he previously represented Capri Anderson in 2010, when she accused Sheen of being violent towards her.

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“Mr. Davidson and Mr. Angelone did not respond to messages requesting comment.”


Contact the author at bobby@jezebel.com.

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