Ashton Kutcher and Village Voice Twitter Feud Leads to Advertiser Loss
American Airlines pulls ad from the publication amid battle between the actor and the paper over opposing claims on child trafficking and sex slavery.
Social media master Ashton Kutcher has taken his Twitter feud with New York's Village Voice to a new level by contacting its advertisers to complain about the newspaper's "Back Page" personal ads.
The That 70s Show actor tweeted messages to American Airlines, Columbia University, Disney and Domino's on Friday asking "are you aware that you are advertising on a site that supports the Sale of Human Beings (slavery)?"
Kutcher's tweets prompted a quick response from American Airlines, who wrote, "Thank you! will do! RT @AmericanAir @aplusk We will address this IMMEDIATELY. Can you please DM us detail of the site, including a link?"
On Friday afternoon, Kutcher posted an update about the airline's business with the paper's parent company, Village Voice Media, indicating that they were pulling advertising dollars, "Thank you! Via dm @AmericanAir --> Heads up: Ads should be down w/in the hour. Blank ads are being served for now."
The tweets were in response to the paper's cover story accusations that the actor was distorting facts about child prostitution in interviews and in the "Real Men Don't Buy Girls" public service announcements that he and wife Demi Moore spearheaded to raise awareness about child sex slavery. The Village Voice contends there were only 8,263 arrests for child prostitution in the U.S. during the most recent decade compared to the 100,000 to 300,000 children Kutcher has said are forced into sex work each year.
The article led to a war of words between Kutcher and the paper in which the publication called him out for touting "phony statistics" while he pointed out the hypocrisy of attacking his cause while accepting numerous advertisements for "escorts." Kutcher also pointed out that the paper is being sued by a teenager who's an alleged victim of sex trafficking, "hey @villagevoice, hows the lawsuit from the 15 year old victim who alleges you helped enslave them going?"
The Village Voice, meanwhile, posted a story in its defense, writing "In numerous tweets blasting Village Voice Media, Ashton Kutcher never once mentioned shelter and counseling for underage prostitutes." The article reiterates that Kutcher and Moore's "numbers are bogus" and goes on to explain the only way to stop the problem is through the passage of legislation like Senate Bill 596, which will award six one year grants of $2,000,000 to $2.500,000 for shelter and counseling if passed.
American Airlines and Village Voice Media did not immediately respond to The Hollywood Reporter's requests for comment.