The Astonishing Number Of Times Martin Sheen Has Been Arrested

Actor Martin Sheen is one of dozens of performers in the entertainment industry who has found himself on the wrong side of the law. In the century or so that newspapers have been reporting on the criminal activities of celebrities, beginning with a minor assault in 1906, according to Casino, multiple entertainers have wound up in handcuffs and, in many cases, behind bars. The crimes of Hollywood stars have ranged from the petty to the comical to the grisly, and everything in between.

Sheen, for his part, has been the celebrity whose name comes up most frequently in arrest reports. What's more, he makes absolutely no secret about his lengthy criminal history, and indeed, seems to wear it as a badge of honor.

While other celebrities have gotten into trouble with the law for things that are unambiguously bad, such as assault, Sheen's rap sheet is filled with considerably less-serious crimes. Here is the staggering number of times Martin Sheen has been arrested, and why.

Martin Sheen has been arrested more than 60 times for protesting

In a 2009 speech at Oxford University, according to The Daily Mail, Sheen told the audience that he had been arrested 66 times throughout his life. In the years since, the number has gone up. As recently as January 2020, reports CNN, Sheen was arrested when he participated in a climate protest organized by Jane Fonda in Washington D.C. Sheen and 146 others were charged with "crowding, obstructing or incommoding."

However, Sheen is neither violent, nor prone to theft, nor a fan of getting behind the wheel while drunk, nor any of the other things you may think of when considering how and why someone could come to be arrested dozens of times. Instead, he's produced his rap sheet through activities associated with his conscience.

At this point it bears noting that, in the United States at least, protesting isn't itself a crime (usually). However, other activities that protesters sometimes engage in are crimes — trespassing, violating curfews, and so on. For example, in 1987, as The Associated Press reported at the time, Sheen and his associates were protesting nuclear proliferation in Nevada and were busted for trespassing and blocking a road. Sheen's other arrests have been of a similar nature: trespassing, the catch-all crime of "disorderly conduct," and others, all from protesting.

Martin Sheen's protesting and activism go back decades

Sheen was born in 1940 in Ohio to two immigrant parents, one Irish, the other Spanish, according to Turner Classic Movies. Growing up poor, one of 10 children, the young Ramón Estévez developed interests in social justice, equality, and related matters at an early age.

Sheen's first protest, such as it was, took place when the future "Apocalypse Now" actor was only 14 years old. As he later told Fresh Dialogues, at the time he was working as a caddy at a golf club, and he didn't care for the working conditions he and his young colleagues had to deal with.

"[The golfers] often used obscene language in front of us ... we were little boys and they were abusive ... anti-Semitic," he said, explaining why he organized a caddy strike with his young co-workers.

Sheen's taste for activism didn't let up. Over the years he's protested the clubbing of baby seals, nuclear proliferation, climate change, various wars, the mistreatment of farm workers ... you name it. And many of those protests have ended in criminal charges, be it for trespassing or some other offense.