Cleveland, OH—The senior entertainment reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer was quickly reinstated Thursday after being wrongly fired Wednesday following allegations he was making up stories. But when his bosses investigated the quotes he attributed to Charlie Sheen in his articles, Jeff Sanders was vindicated.
“I told them from the very first moment that I wasn’t making the quotes up,” Sanders said. “I’ve worked here for 13 years, and it did hurt when they accused me, but Mike (Grimes, Lifestyle Editor for the Dealer) called me personally and apologized several times asking me to come back. I’ve moved past it.”
Sanders had written four stories about the trouble Charlie Sheen has gone through recently. The first one ran with no fuss, but the last three were not run, and in fact, were moved up the editorial chain when Grimes thought for sure they were made up by Sanders.
“The quotes he had in the stories, I just couldn’t fathom they came from any sane person’s mouth,” Grimes said. “’I closed my eyes and made it so with the power of my mind?’ ‘I won best picture at 20. I wasn’t even trying?’ I’m sick of pretending I’m not special?’ ‘Adonis DNA?’ ‘Tiger blood?’ Would you believe those quotes?”
But Grimes said that after he fired Sanders and made him leave the paper immediately, he happened to catch a television commercial promo of Sheen appearing on “The Today Show.” He then made a few calls and read an article from the NY Times about Sheen’s appearance on Piers Morgan.
“I’d been busy planning my wife’s 50th birthday party,” Grimes said. “I haven’t been watching TV much, and what I had been watching was just catching up on ‘The Wire’ on my DVR. We never even ran the stories he filed. We were so certain they were bogus, we just tossed them after we fired him.”
Grimes said as soon as he was able to verify the stories, he called the restaurant to confirm his reservation for 48 Saturday night for his wife, then immediately called Sanders.
“I told him I’d made a huge mistake and felt terrible about it,” Grimes said. “I told him we were wrong to doubt him and we’d make it up to him. Then I invited him to my wife’s party. I think that sealed the deal in him coming back.”