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Posts Tagged ‘Ashton Kutcher’

Alicia Keys, Rosanne Cash, R.E.M., and More Join Fight Against Backpage.com

The controversial adult services section of the classified ad site Backpage.com gained more high-profile critics this week. A number of musicians, including Alicia Keys, Rosanne Cash, Talib Kweli and members of the bands Pearl Jam, R.E.M., and The Roots have signed a petition against the adult ads, on the grounds that they are used by human traffickers to sell women and children sex slaves.

Backpage.com is owned by Village Voice Media, publishers of 13 alternative weeklies including the LA Weekly. The corporation has run articles in all 13 papers to downplay the frequency of child sex trafficking and attack critics, most famously Ashton Kutcher.

But this week the VVM papers have been uncharacteristically silent on the issue, despite both their new celebrity critics and a segment on Tuesday’s Nightline about the controversy. Is it possible the company has finally decided to stop compromising their journalistic integrity by using editorial pages to promote a corporate agenda? Let’s hope so.

Ashton Kutcher’s Hands-on Angel Investor Approach

After serving as president and chief executive officer of Guitar Hero, as well as COO at Yahoo, Dan Rosensweig switched to the task of building out college textbook rental service and student network chegg.com. The Santa Clara headquartered firm now boasts over 500 employees and has warehouses in Pasadena, San Francisco, Utah, Oregon and Kentucky.

One of Rosensweig’s investors is Ashton Kutcher, front and center in a recent LA Times article by Andrea Chang about the increasing intersection of celebrities and tech startups. The chegg.com president and CEO explained how he interacts with the Two and a Half Men star:

Rosensweig said Kutcher occasionally visits the startup’s headquarters, recently meeting with the product team for four hours. One Friday afternoon, Kutcher sent an email saying he had spent a couple of hours on the site and had put together a lengthy “series of notes” on his ideas for improvements.

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Star Magazine Pair Blocked by Ashton Kutcher

Badge of honor or badge of shame?

That’s the mock Twitter debate going this afternoon between Star magazine senior executive editor Dylan Howard and editor-in-chief David Perel after the pair discovered they have been blocked on Twitter by Ashton Kutcher:

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NY Times Journalist Takes LA Weekly Parent Company to Task for Aiding Sex Traffickers

Nicholas Kristof is something of an expert on sex trafficking. The Pulitzer Prize journalist has covered the issue extensively in both his reporting and his book Half the Sky: From Oppression to Opportunity for Women Worldwide. So his criticism of Village Voice Media for aiding human traffickers through their Backpage.com sex ads has a special resonance.

In his latest column for the New York Times, Kristof writes of the Backpage.com sex ads:

It is a godsend to pimps, allowing customers to order a girl online as if she were a pizza.

Lauren Hersh, the ace prosecutor in Brooklyn who leads the sex-trafficking unit there, says that of the 32 people she and her team have prosecuted in the last year and a half — typically involving victims aged 12 to 25 — a vast majority of the cases included girls marketed through Backpage ads.

“Pimps are turning to the Internet,” said Hersh. “They’re not putting the girls on the street so much. Backpage is a great vehicle for pimps trying to sell girls.”

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The FishbowlLA Interview with Charlie Sheen: ‘If I saw Chuck [Lorre] on the street I would give him a hug. For the first seven years, not the eighth.’

He’s still got it.

The long odyssey surrounding his abrupt departure from Two and a Half Men is long over, but Charlie Sheen still knows how to throw a party, and he still has strong feelings about the incident, even if he doesn’t exactly know what happened.

“I don’t know what it was, I am still baffled by it. Can that ever happen again, the way it did?” Sheen told us, after being asked whether another celebrity could find themselves in a similar situation. “Who could you make Being John Malkovich about, if not John Malkovich?”

The ArKadia nightclub at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach has been taken over by Sheen, Lionsgate TV and Debmar-Mercury, the producer and distributor of his new show, Anger Management. There are mermaids swimming in the outdoor pool, and women dressed as tables (yes, seriously) on which drinks have been placed. There are a handful of celebrities in attendance, including Katie Couric, Jeff Probst, Ricki Lake and Steve Harvey.

We are sitting in Sheen’s VIP cabana, it is nearly midnight. He would have an excellent view of the mermaids and the pool, except there is a throng of people on the other side of the velvet rope, wanting to say hi.

“It looks like chaos, but everyone is happy to see me, nothing but kind words to offer,” he says.

That doesn’t mean he is pleased with the way he has treated in the press. When asked about making the press rounds to promote his new show, he replied with a rebuke of the harsh words that have been thrown at him over the last year.

“I don’t really care, because I don’t take any of it personally, it is just words, coming from people that don’t know anything about me. So how much stock can you put in it, you know, a strangers random opinion?” Sheen said. “It is like getting mad at a three-year old for hurting your feelings. I never read anything anymore, because all that happens is you get upset.”

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Ashton Kutcher Hands Twitter Account Over to Flacks

The actor, still smarting from the hailstorm of criticism that followed an ill-informed tweet of support for Joe Paterno, has handed management of his Twitter account over to his team at Katalyst Group “as a secondary editorial measure, to ensure the quality of its content.”

Ashton Kutcher has made a terrible mistake.

We are reminded of something Katt Williams once said while refusing to apologize for controversial remarks: “The only thing I sell is uncensored thought.” It was uncensored thought that helped earn Kutcher over eight million Twitter followers, not carefully edited and crafted posts. The authenticity of his online presence was part of the appeal. It offered the public a level of accessibility to celebrity that was unprecedented, and his embrace of the medium was frankly pretty ballsy.

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Ashton Kutcher in Trouble for Pro-Paterno Tweet


Ashton Kutcher tweeted the above before he learned about the child sex abuse scandal that was the reason for Paterno’s firing. And boy, is he sorry he did.

Twitter users quickly piled on Kutcher, who is an outspoken activist in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children. Kutcher quickly tweeted his remorse:

@Plusk: Heard Joe was fired, fully recant previous tweet! Didn’t have full story. #admitwhenYoumakemistakes
@Plusk: Had no idea, thought it was a football thing.

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Clergy Petitions Village Voice Media to Drop Sex Ads, Help End Child Sex Trafficking

Thirty-six religious leaders took out a full page advertisement in the NY Times today, calling on Village Voice Media, the parent company of LA Weekly, to shut down the adult services site Backpage.com. The clergy referenced dozens of arrests of child sex traffickers who advertised on Backpage.com

VVM has received criticism from a number of sources for operating a website used by child sex traffickers. Fifty-one Attorneys General sent an open letter in August encouraging the closure of the website. Ashton Kutcher has called for an advertising boycott. A petition on Change.org asking VVM to shut down the erotic services site has over forty thousand signatures.

In response to all the bad press, VVM has taken steps to improve monitoring of its adult ads. It also ran a feature article in all 13 their newspapers downplaying the frequency of child sex trafficking in the United States.

VVM issued a quick response today to the clergy’s open letter. They write, “Neither government officials nor God’s advocates can dictate such arbitrary control of business or speech.”

Ashton Kutcher’s State of Social Media Address

It may seem odd for a celebrity whose reputation has been greatly enhanced on Twitter to bemoan the fact that anyone can log on to social media and spread unverified information about a third party. But that’s just what Ashton Kutcher has done.

Even stranger is the fact that A+K’s four-minute self-videotaped dispatch feels very much like a slowed down version of the crazy spring 2011 rants of his Two and a Half Men predecessor Charlie Sheen. Kutcher, who presently has north of eight million Twitter followers, wants them and everyone else to take more responsibility for the “honesty” of what they tweet, status-update, text and pass on:

“The cost threshold in social media today is zero dollars… There is no gatekeeper of the truth; we are our own editors, publishers, printers… Thereby people can bastardize the truth in any way, shape or form they want, and spread that around the world.”

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LA Times Chronicles City’s Other Celebrity-Endorsed Religion

Though coincidental, the timing of an excellent two-part LA Times series on LA’s Kabbalah Centre seems almost anti-spiritual, given the current marital troubles reportedly enshrouding Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. In happier times, they were wed by a Kabbalah teacher.

In Part Two of the investigation, reporters Harriet Ryan and Kim Christensen focus on an aspect that is as critical for religious success in LA as it is for ascension in the movie, TV and sex tape businesses. The celebrity factor:

The first celebrity drawn to the Kabbalah Centre was Sandra Bernhard, who began studying in 1995… She dove into kabbalah classes with a charismatic Israeli teacher, Eitan Yardeni. She was effusive in the media about kabbalah, which she said had eliminated “at least 80% of the chaos in my life.” In her Hollywood circle, she was a one-woman marketing campaign for Yardeni and the center.

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