According to The Hollywood Reporter, Charlie Sheen is suing the National Enquirer and parent company American Media over a story in which the tabloid accused him of raping a then-13-year-old Corey Haim. Sheen denies the accusation, naturally, but he also believes that the National Enquirer published the story as part of a “personal vendetta” because it was unable to be the first to break the story that Sheen is HIV positive—a diagnosis he revealed himself on Today in 2015.
The Enquirer story said that Sheen’s sexual abuse helped push Haim “down a drug-fueled path to an early grave” and that he also abused other children. In a statement, a spokesperson for American Media said, “We look forward to litigating against Charlie Sheen, and can’t wait to expose his depravities in a court of law.”
As a public figure, Sheen can’t simply argue that the National Enquirer published a false report, but that it did so purposefully “with malice”—meaning it either knew the story wasn’t true or that it didn’t care one way or the other. That’s where the “personal vendetta” argument comes in, since Sheen claims that the National Enquirer just wanted to take a shot at him no matter what. The lawsuit even points out that the only source quoted in the story is someone else who has been accused of molesting Corey Haim, Dominick Brascia, which Sheen’s lawsuit says suggests that the tabloid “acted with a high degree of awareness of probably falsity.”