“Two and a Half Men” star Angus T. Jones has drawn headlines, controversy and jokes alike ever since his 15-minute conversation with his pastor in which he called his own show “filth” and told viewers to stop watching went viral this week.
Everyone including commenters on YouTube, the ladies of “The View” and even his own mom has wondered aloud what happened to the 19-year-old star to prompt his tirade, during which he also called the show “very inappropriate” and talked about how his religious awakening has changed his attitude. Also at issue is what it means for his future in Hollywood, let alone the $350,000 salary he reportedly makes per episode on the hit CBS show.
If anyone knows what the young star is going through, it is Stephen Baldwin, the younger brother of actor Alec Baldwin who became a star in his own right in movies like “Bio-Dome” and as Barney Rubble in “The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas” before becoming a born-again Christian after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
“As a Christian, I had a casting director come up to me two years ago and say, ‘I’m really sorry because I’ve brought your name up in castings for a while now and they all just kind of look at me like I’m crazy,’” Baldwin, 46, said today on “Good Morning America.”
Baldwin, who describes his Hollywood career as “full-blown, faith-based,” says Jones is experiencing a very real thing.
“It just sounds like Angus is having an authentic experience with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a serious thing,” Baldwin said. “A real, true walk of Christianity is very difficult, quite radical. It seems to me he was a young man when he started and now he’s kind of come into his own and he’s connected with his pastor.”
Jones, who has played the show’s happy-go-lucky kid, Jake Harper, since 2003, has been slammed by critics for publicly criticizing the show that made him rich and famous, and by his own mother who told the Daily Mail she worried her son was “being exploited by the church,” the Seventh-day Adventist.
“I think he knows exactly what he’s doing,” Baldwin said of Jones. “Again, he meant to probably have it come out differently. He didn’t want to offend [show creator] Chuck Lorre or any of the people from the show or be disrespectful, but I think he authentically means what he says where he finds now if you hold up the content of his show to the Bible, what he’s saying is, ‘Now there’s a conflict for me.’”
Jones, who isn’t scheduled to appear on the show’s two still-to-be-filmed episodes this year because his character has recently joined the Army and his airtime has been cut down, issued a statement late Tuesday to apologize for his remarks and clarify that he had the highest regard for all of the people he has worked with on the comedy.
“I apologize if my remarks reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation of the extraordinary opportunity of which I have been blessed,” Jones said. “I never intended that.”
Baldwin, who will next be competing on Donald Trump’s “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice” and has joined forces with So Lucky To B Me to raise awareness for breast cancer research and his mother’s charity, advises Jones to keep walking his path of faith.
“He’s in the last season of the show. I think he’s being very respectful now,” Baldwin said. “I think he ought to walk his walk and stand up for what he believes in and finish out the season and go about his business.
“It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it,” he added. “He didn’t mean to sound the way he did but I still think it’s admirable that he’s sticking up for what he believes in.”
ABC News’ Sheila Marikar contributed to this report.