Ashton Kutcher bullies Village Voice over sex slavery hype-debunking cover story

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136 Responses to “Ashton Kutcher bullies Village Voice over sex slavery hype-debunking cover story”

  1. merreborn says:

    “Hey @disney @dominos,” he tweets, “Are you aware that you are advertising on a site that owns and operates a digital brothel?”

    I didn’t get what the “digital brothel” line was about. Apparently he’s referring to an erotic services classifieds site owned by Village Voice.

  2. ackpht says:

    If the DNA Foundation home page isn’t satire, it could be.

  3. xiaopohai says:

    Wow, the very thought of they going after you is just mind boggling.

    I mean, petty just doesn’t begin to cover it

  4. Anonymous says:

    being a good Midwestern Catholic boy I would have expected Ashton to have more of a comment about his church and the abuse and manipulation of children. It was just recently a cardinal charged by the Pope with the responsibility of seeking out abusers of children in the church contacted a drug dealer Dec 2010 somewhere in the middle east I dom’t recall to order up a boy for his vacation. When the drug dealer suggested a 16 year old the cardinal explained that was too old and he needed a boy of 14 with family problems. Why isn’t he screaming at people sponsoring the church and condemning them for supporting child sex slaves? He wouldn’t even need to make up numbers for that one.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hell, I’m going to backpage and renting TWO hookers, just to piss akutch off.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi, adults like to have sex. Adults should be allowed to have sex. Some people have no other viable talents or desire to work beyond having sex for hire. Some people have no means to have sex except to pay for it. So LEAVE THEM ALONE.

    And if you are against human trafficking then push to have prostitution legalized so it doesn’t have to hide and it can be monitored. Laws shouldn’t be based on the “what if it was my daughter” test. That is bogus.

  7. stoczko says:

    Laughing14 – yeah that guy posing as a Muslim girl fighting oppression? Also was trying to score a book deal as “his” persona. Another fucking glory hound. Meanwhile there are plenty of other Muslim women – real, breathing women – facing actual police arrest and beatings who aren’t getting the media exposure & LUV.

    So I read the VV article. Looks like AK is fighting to cover the ass of himself, the hollywood “charity consultant” who advises “hip” hollywood on how to spend their cash, and nothing, actually, on the real live underage prostitutes police and other groups actually rescue. Meanwhile, VV appears to have spent some time & money looking into the situation, interviewing people intimately involved in underage prostitution in the US, police departments, and then coming up with a more realistic estimate. And went back with these numbers to see if they seemed reasonable. Much more than AK troubled himself with.

    There are many people in the US, who enjoy the power and prestige of the appearance of caring about some critical issue. Often, they sometimes actually care. More often we see knee-jerk legislation enacted to “protect the children”, by the same people gutting other programs that actually do children & their families some good.

    Case in point: the anti vaccination crusade led by Jenny McCarthy. Even after the original investigator admitted fraud in his study, confirming many medical researcher’s own findings that these vaccines were NOT causing autism, the movement lives on… with no sign of stopping by Jenny, who sees any medical disagreement as “Proof of the Conspiracy”.

    So speak out, but when your argument is proved bullshit, have the common decency to admit you were wrong – and prove yourself a bigger man – then trying to cover your ass with a boycott campaign.

  8. Ambiguity says:

    I don’t know what Ms. Jardin has against people who work for human rights but don’t use the neatest methods.

    Well, I can’t speak for her, but my take on it is that she values honesty.

    I know that may sound fuddy duddy in today’s blog-o-sphere, opinion-driven world, but think of it sort of as “steampunk ethics,” and that may make it a little more palatable.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This reminds me of my relationship with my brother. He is always misstating family dates, ages, etc. When I correct him with the correct information ( I am older and pedantic about such things), instead of getting “Oh you’re right” or “hey I think you might be mistaken” or “Hmm I need to check that” or “you are completely wrong” his response is always “WAAAA!! Why do you hate me??”.

    If you are going to use numbers and dates, why even bother if they are wrong? Might as well just always make stuff up, and then when corrected or questioned, make sure that the discussion then becomes about the person who brought up the information, not the information itself.

  10. Muneraven says:

    This article has a high schoolish tone: Nerds making fun of the popular guy who gets the hot girl because he isn’t as smart as they are (or they think he isn’t). Seriously. This is the first time I’ve read something here and had words like “petty” and “insecure” come to mind in regard to the fine folks who write for this site.

    Is this really that important? The VV is half-trash anyhow. Ashton seems to have good motives, but a fragile ego. Looks to me like he isn’t the only guy with ego issues in this fight, either.

    I’m a nerd-lover. I don’t like it when my favorite people succumb to pettiness. I wish you’d stop and just move on to actually interesting stuff. Affix a photo-shopped, unflattering picture of Mr. Kutcher to a dartboard in your office and stop with the silly public slapfight already.

  11. Winski says:

    Keep Rockin Xeni….. Kutcher and wife Demi Moore seem to currently have too much tweet on their hands and not enough platinum to weld their mouths shut.

  12. Anonymous says:

    http://www.justice.gov/criminal/ceos/prostitution.html

    “Although comprehensive research to document the number of children engaged in prostitution in the United States is lacking, it is estimated that about 293,000 American youth are currently at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation.”

    From the US Justice Department.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Although comprehensive research to document the number of children engaged in prostitution in the United States is lacking…

      So…tea leaves? Crystal ball?

  13. freddy nono says:

    yes, keep rocking Xeni.

    Why do people want to shut down the messenger? Kutcher can either win or lose his argument by doing just that. Have a conversation. But asking people to not listen is plain wrong.

  14. Stephen says:

    I don’t care about Ashton Kutcher. VV are self destructive idiots.

    The folks here using Kutcher’s discredited numbers to argue that the problem is very small are a more important issue. That issue is denial.

    Using the number of arrests as a proxy for the actual size of a problem is silly with even casual consideration.

    We now know that just the Catholic Church, just in Ireland, kept thousands of child sex slaves at any given time, for decades, up until the 1990s. And you think the scale of the problem in the entire US is a few hundred? That’s outside the the realm of plausibility.

    So what motivates the denial? Is it just too depressing to live in the real world.

  15. Palomino says:

    VV, Craigslist and others who have “adult” sections can’t hold a candle to all those foreign papers advertising “maids, nannies, teach Russian” in the United States scams, that’s the holy grail, go after them.

  16. Islington says:

    I can see the reason for this post. I can. The tone, however, not so much. “Christ, what an asshole.” Yes, yes, we all love this phrase, but seriously. Don’t chastise a person for bullying by doing the same. We know you’re above it.

  17. BWJones says:

    Sounds like they are taking a page from the Scientologists handbook… intimidating and bullying any perceived criticism into silence.

    • Jack says:

      …intimidating and bullying any perceived criticism into silence.

      Comparing what Ashton is doing to Scientology is way off base. It is 100% fair to say this tactic is used regularly in Hollywood to control and abuse others. Doesn’t make it any better, but L. Ron Hubbard didn’t come up with “shunning” in a fever dream you know.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      Huh. Interesting.

      Are they Scientologists?

  18. jeligula says:

    Ashton is a gas bag. Chances are he even thinks that his opinion matters. Do not be bothered by a guy who made a living by setting up his friends for embarrassment and pain. Punked isn’t what he did, it is what he is.

  19. yclept says:

    Look Ashton Kutcher is a hot dude. But please, don’t listen to anything he says. I mean srlsly. He has shown himself to be a whore. I love whores as much as the next man. In fact, I applaud them. But let’s watch Ashton, not follow him.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Question – What law demands the VV or CL have to check the ages of everyone posting?

    Question – While these cases started by grand standing asshats trying to further their political careers, why is it when challenged their “sources” were unable to name names or show that anyone had been prosecuted?

    Question – Why when CL was acting far above and beyond the legal requirements of a service provider and had been praised as an amazing tool by those LEO’s who used it as a resource (because they understand the tech) why did those few who refused to do anything about this “massive” issue were given a pass for not doing anything more than saying sweep it under the rug so we don’t see it?

    Question – Why is it we need to make prostitution illegal in this day and age? All of the money and allure is caused by it being “illegal and illicit”. If it was legal, the premium price stops being paid. I would expect pimps and others who exploit need to be stopped, but pretending a 24 yr old “would never consider getting paid for sex” because she can is ignoring a cold hard truth. We like to pretend in our heads that women who strip are abused and forced to do it as we stuff another dollar into their g-string. Quite often they are intelligent women who decided good looks were fleeting and making a large pile of cash quickly would let them pursue something more for themselves.

    Question – Why is Ashton even bothered with? He is an “entertainer”, not an authority on this topic. He will parrot back “facts” he has been told, true or not. Hes about as clueless as a member of Congress in this way. Congresspeople will tell you billions are being lost every year to file sharing, while ignoring the report from their own fact checkers debunking the report prepared by the people who benefit most from the lies.

    Ashton has a very wide reach, and I am saddened by him clinging to his “facts” rather than asking another group to check those facts. While I am willing to accept there are people forced into prostitution, I do not expect that a newspaper should be more responsible than the police. I find it tragic that one of the famous twitter users, who helped get that technology more exposure, ignores how technology could be used to stop these horrible acts he is so worried about. But its better to stomp your foot and pout to get your way than to make any actual contribution.

  21. Anonymous says:

    TATTLE TALE!

  22. Anonymous says:

    ‘Wasn’t Chomsky earlier being called a loon for insisting that there was a genocide going on in Cambodia when the official US policy was to deny that anything was taking place at all?’

    Yes, only Chomsky, accused the US of the genocide when it was the Kymer Rouge doing it. He on the other hand credited the Kymer Rouge (which killed millions) with saving millions of lives.

  23. Antinous / Moderator says:

    He made Justin Timberlake cry once. Just sayin.

  24. Anonymous says:

    The sad thing is that the daughters Moore see Kutchner as ‘wise’, which in the intellectual wasteland in which they live, is no doubt true.

  25. inkfumes says:

    Or should I say “what a couple of NIT-TWITS!” Har Har Hardy Har Har!

  26. Anonymous says:

    I was particularly irked by this tweet. What an actor!

    aplusk ashton kutcher
    Hey @villagevoice I’m just getting started!!!!!!!! BTW I only PLAYED stupid on TV.

  27. knoxblox says:

    No offense, benenglish. Really. Absolutely. Not picking a fight.

    The U.S. Population clock is considered to be consistent with Census 2010 data, and as of my last check calculates our population to be 311,672,576 people.

    If we take this imaginary 300,000 number does it really figure out to one in 10 families that has a kid prostitute for each of us to know? Not at least one in 200 if you figure an average of 5 people in the population making up one family unit? 5 might be a generous number, and I’m considering families, not households. So, I understand you are considering our personal contact with affected families reflects a wide berth when you challenge the 300,000 number, but is it possible that this berth could be even wider?

    Not trolling. Not (completely) stupid. Just not a math wiz, and I have this gut feeling that knowing/not knowing one in 10 families is a narrow number even for the imaginary 300,000 estimate used. I think in general, we actually have less contact with those who are in trouble, and therefore tend to ignore/disbelieve the possibility of it happening to people we know.

    I don’t know. I could be missing a variable. Any mathematicians in the house?

    • benenglish says:

      Point taken. You’re absolutely right and I take no offense.

      It’s impossible in a forum like this to use rough numbers to make a point like in a face-to-face conversation. Trying to do so was silly of me. The numbers stand there, available for the sort of deep analysis that will always prove them wrong.

      Allow me to eschew numbers and restate my overall point.

      If the problem was anywhere near as big as Ashton says, a public awareness campaign wouldn’t be necessary. We’d all be familiar with the problem because we would have all run into it at one time or another.

      Thus, something more is at play here. Perhaps the purpose of lying about and inflating the numbers is something other than creating public awareness or working towards fixing the problem. Perhaps the reason is simple ego gratification. Perhaps it’s just incompetence. My cynical old brain tends to think, whenever I see something that makes a big splash and is this ridiculous, that somebody has found yet another way to make a buck off of fake good works. Overall, though, I don’t know anything for certain about the motivations of those behind such silly numbers.

      But I firmly believe that spouting ridiculous numbers hurts more than it helps.

      I also sadly conclude that such exaggerations are too often a successful way to manipulate public opinion for less-than-noble purposes. The “big lie” is a great way to get laws passed that abridge basic freedoms, whip up support for an unjustifiable war, etc. When big lies are told, I like to challenge people to take a deep breath, calm down, and ask some (usually pretty simple) questions to test whether or not what they are hearing is even halfway plausible.

      That’s pretty much all I was saying.

      Reasonable? Or not?

      • knoxblox says:

        Entirely reasonable. No problem whatsoever. I was just trying to see if there was anyone out there who could even attempt a better number with the given information.

        I believe in the existence of the “big lie” as much as you do, but also kind of get the feeling that there’s more going on around us than we actually pay attention to. The most common thing I think I hear or read (when some big bust goes down or some poor kid is found dead or abused) is how so few people ever suspected a thing.
        I’ll readily admit that I don’t really know diddly about my neighbors. You could be conducting arms sales right next door and I would think it was a lemonade stand.

        But that’s exactly the kind of situation the fear-mongers feed on, isn’t it?

    • Anonymous says:

      Ok, a lot of people have problems with math, so here goes:

      300 000 out of
      300 000 000 is
      1 out of 1000, or 0.1%

      This notation should make it easier.

      • knoxblox says:

        Yes, I understand notation enough, but benenglish is considering *families with a child at risk*, not *individuals*. The point he’s getting at is sound, but my instinct tells me the number may be too narrow.

        Overlapping multiples in the case of social sphere contact is what sends this problem into a quantum understanding that is way above my capacity for mathematics.

  28. emmdeeaych says:

    Tweeting about a social injustice is the best the creator of punk’d can do? This is the sound of one hand clapping.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I think you all are missing the bigger picture here. The VV piece attacked Kutcher’s comment and attempts to downplay the exploitation of millions around the world. They had to attack Kutcher because the rest of their argument is crap at best.

    There is something to be said for ending the exploitation of children by not supporting a company that sell them (village voice has an adult services section and isn’t known for check ages). The VV piece was bad journalism and called Kutcher out for one misspeak and is now is getting held to their BS writing. I’m sorry they picked on Boing Boing before (that’s not cool at all!) but read both sides before taking a side and making ignorant comments.

    • Nadreck says:

      The comment that hundreds of thousands of children in the US are sex slaves when the actual figure is actual “hundreds” period, is hardly a minor part of his campaign. Especially when it is being used as fuel for yet another bogus “Think of the Children” censorship campaign.

      There probably are millions being so exploited around the world but I somehow doubt that ads in the VV are fuelling the Thai sex-trade and so on. If there is any evidence that many of the VV advertisers are underage it has yet to be published anywhere. The same can be said about the existence of adult prostitution implying an increase in child prostitution. Do we make that argument for adults working in factories? Does their existence automatically cause an increase in child labour?

      Especially telling is the last part of the article pointing out that, while hundreds of millions are there for the censorship campaigns that have only a mystic correlation to child prostitution, funds for real-live, present and accounted for child prostitutes can’t even get a miserable pittance for their rehab programs. I guess that such programs wouldn’t give anyone vastly increased powers to run other people’s lives and dictate what they can say in public so no one’s interested.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Ashton’s being used. The numbers just aren’t real, and the cause is being used to force people everywhere to identify themselves as a condition for using any website. It’s bullsh|t is what it is.

    For the record, sex and things like child porn are also being used to get sympathy for censorship for the enforcement of copyright laws. Your freedom and your privacy must take a back seat to them making an extra buck.

    It turns out, all you have to do is mention kids and sex, or women as slaves, and every idiot in the world comes out to support whatever “solution” they have in mind, no matter what effect it has on other freedoms. I really think we’ve become too stupid to deserve our freedoms anymore, but some of us are still trying like hell to salvage what’s left. This is a lesson in why it’s not cool for naive, pretty doofuses to have so much power over public opinion. They end up getting used for other people’s agendas.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I’m all for protecting the rights of women in the sex industry, but let’s not go around say it’s okay or that it doesn’t hurt a lot of people or that it’s not a position of last resort for poor marginalised men and women (And boys and girls) or that we shouldn’t ensure no one ever ends up in just because you read a couple blogs by a boutique domme and want to position yourself as ‘sex positive’

    It’s ugly and exploitative, particuarly of the lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder, it does involve a good sized chunk of sex trafficking and pretending otherwise is at the very least morally culpable for part of the issue.

  32. emilydickinsonridesabmx says:

    As a positive, the Village Voice has been around since 1955 and they’ve taken on much tougher bullies than Ashton Kutcher. Not certain if this funny/ironic/sad but in the print version of the paper, most of the ads are related to sex in some way (sex shops, strippers, hooker, go-go boys etc). I would take a guess that the Voice isn’t going to do anything that upsets a vast portion of their revenue stream.

    • SimeonW says:

      The weekly paper, The Village Voice has been around since 1955, true, but since the company was sold to astroturf alternative paper New Times Media about a decade ago, it isn’t the same company. The new Village Voice Media company, based in Phoenix, AZ, might trade in the name and reputation of the old company they subsumed, but they have not earned any of it by their own merit.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Kutcher’s main argument is “the ends justify the means.” He seems to think his cause wouldn’t be important unless he lied to get donations. I wonder how the child sex slaves feel about the fact that Kutcher doesn’t believe the reality of their situation is important enough for people to care about.

    Now his new argument is that the Village Voice shouldn’t be running prostitution ads. So in Kutcher’s mind, adult prostitution = child molestation? I wonder how the child sex slaves feel about being compared to sex between consenting adults.

  34. bolamig says:

    Y’all are spending way too much time analyzing the bogus claim. Not nearly enough indignation about trying to censor publications that don’t take on the moral police role.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t Kutcher and Moore spend their time tweeting to raise support for GEMS? I mean, this organization actually helps exploited minors in NYC. http://www.gems-girls.org/

  36. randomday says:

    I wish people would keep the focus on the issue Ashton is fighting instead of their personal opinions about him or how many twitter followers he has.

    Xeni, what you are really saying is not:

    “I can’t stand bullies, no matter how many goddamned Twitter followers they have.”

    but

    “I can’t stand someone who messed with me, no matter how horrific the issue of sexual slavery issue.”

    Kind of selfish, no? We get it — Gawker and BoingBoing are ganging up on that ridiculous Ashton Kutcher. Awareness about sexual slavery be damned. One more distraction to keep teh peoples occupied. Thanks, BoingBoing and Gawker.

    • Anonymous says:

      First step in any actual problem solving: Examine the problem

      First step in Astons campaign: Make ridicules claims about the problem to as many people as possible to get them “onboard”, then make misguided adds to get more exposure.

      This has nothing to do with child slavery. This is about Aston making ridicules claims:
      Aston: “There are hundreds thousands of child prostitutes
      The voice: “Err, no there are hundreds ad best estimate”
      Aston: “You support child slavery!!!! I will kill off all your advertisers”

      That has nothing to do with child slavery, and everything to do with Aston being a bully.
      But ofcause, his supporters will always hide behind the “You either love Aston or you support child slavery”-shield. Like the Bush-fans where saying either you believe that there where weapons of mass destruction in Irak or you support the terrorist.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I wish people would keep the focus on the issue Ashton is fighting instead of their personal opinions about him or how many twitter followers he has.

      I’m sure that Ashton wishes that everyone would focus on his issue, too. But we’ve decided to focus on free speech rights instead. The Kutchers are participating in a witch hunt under the overly broad umbrella of combating sex-trafficking.

      • Tau'ma says:

        Witch Hunt

        The night is black, without a moon.
        The air is thick and still.
        The vigilantes gather on
        The lonely torchlit hill.

        Features distorted in the flickering light,
        Faces are twisted and grotesque.
        Silent and stern in the sweltering night,
        The mob moves like demons possesed.
        Quiet in conscience, calm in their right,
        Confident their ways are best.

        The righteous rise
        With burning eyes
        Of hatred and ill-will.
        Madmen fed on fear and lies
        To beat and burn and kill.

        They say there are strangers who threaten us,
        Our immigrants and infidels.
        They say there is strangeness to danger us
        In our theatres and bookstore shelves,
        That those who know what’s best for us
        Must rise and save us from ourselves.

        Quick to judge,
        Quick to anger,
        Slow to understand
        Ignorance and prejudice
        And fear walk hand in hand.

    • Skep says:

      “I wish people would keep the focus on the issue Ashton is fighting instead of their personal opinions about him or how many twitter followers he has. “

      And I wish that you and Ashton would understand that bad data leads to bad solutions and bad laws. You can’t be effective in solving a problem if you don’t have accurate information on what the problem is.

      I’ve got to side with the VV over this. Too much money has been given to professional, money squandering prudes and not enough to organizations that really seek to protect children from real world issues. It reminds me of organizations who object to clean needle programs based on simplistic “Just say no to drugs” sloganeering.

    • Scixual says:

      The POINT is that the issue is bad enough without fake numbers. The POINT is that lying in a good cause is still lying. The POINT is that exaggerating tends to backfire, because it wastes time, money and efforts of those that believe the figures, often taking resources out of the hands of groups and individuals who are actually trying to work with the actual problem. The POINT is that those suffering under sex trafficking are being treated as if their real numbers aren’t significant enough to warrant action, which is pretty damned insulting when you think about it.

      The POINT is not “I don’t like Ashton Kutcher, so I think he’s a big doodie-head.” And the POINT is certainly not, as you seem to say, “Hey, it doesn’t matter if they lie or use unfair tactics to propagate their lies, at least they are doing some good, right?” With one brain tied behind my back I can think of some examples of that where the “good” is well overweighed by the bed.

      Who is missing the point?

  37. Anonymous says:

    Please, won’t you leave Aston alone?
    Just because the facts aren’t on his side, and the problem isn’t really as devastatingly big as he wants it to be, can’t we just pretend that there are hundreds of thousands of children being molested every day? And then applaud him and his wife for bravely spending money on media coverage of themselves caring about this problem?
    Why should we care about the science or numbers behind the problem, when the gruesome picture painted by the bit twit Aston sells so well?

    Ohh, and I read the 100-300 thousand estimate included all children living near the mexican border who have access to cars. Easy fix to get them out of “child prostitution” take away their cars!

  38. Ordinal says:

    Well, I certainly can’t see how vastly distorting important statistics in a very public way could possibly have a negative effect on policy and practice regarding sexual exploitation. You BoingBoing types must basically be child rapists.

    Incidentally, please tell me that “Real Men” thing was actually from a Warren Ellis story.

  39. Greekster says:

    You’re riding a real fine line here. You call him out for being a bully, but how is that any different than what Dan Savage did to Rick Santorum? (which was hilarious, BTW) But you don’t call him a bully?

    I’m having a hard time seeing the difference.

    • Rindan says:

      You’re riding a real fine line here. You call him out for being a bully, but how is that any different than what Dan Savage did to Rick Santorum? (which was hilarious, BTW) But you don’t call him a bully?

      Brutalizing a bully isn’t bullying. It is justice. The shit (haha, pun) that comes out of Santorum’s mouth about his fellow humans is bad enough. The fact that he wants to use the force of law and the power of the state to brutalize and harass honest people who he finds morally objectionable makes him a pretty fucking fair target.

      So the difference? Santorum is a frothy shit head who wants to use violence (aka, people in uniforms with guns) to enforce his fucked up sense of morality at gun point on honest citizens… while the Village Voice is a newspaper. That is a pretty stark difference.

      News paper != violent psychopath looking to brutalize millions with the power of the state.

    • unit_1421 says:

      Um, Rick Santorum wants to put gays into gas chambers, Xeni and the VV just wants Ashton to use real facts, they’re not the same thing…

  40. tjbogart33 says:

    Wow, the very thought of they going after you is just mind boggling.

    I mean, petty just doesn’t begin to cover it

  41. KWillets says:

    Actually if you search for “prostitution twitter” you find a number of stories on prostitutes moving the service after the last moral panic.

  42. mabellouise says:

    Yeah, that’s right Aston. It’s all about you. I guess it would be too “classy” for this pouty egomaniac to ignore these non-issues and stick to his cause. Grow up Kutcher. These types of celebs truly nauseate me.

  43. senorglory says:

    Jesse: Dude! You got a tattoo!
    Chester: So do you, dude! Dude, what does my tattoo say?
    Jesse: “Sweet!” What about mine?
    Chester: “Dude!” What does mine say?
    Jesse: “Sweet!” What about mine?
    Chester: “Dude!” What does mine say?
    etc.

  44. museincognito says:

    Two steps forward, one step back?

    One step forward, two steps back?

    I can’t tell what’s happening here…

  45. Anonymous says:

    I just decided not to buy a #DSLR @Nikon_USA camera for my wife. @aplusk helped me narrow down the field. It works both ways.

  46. InsertFingerHere says:

    I’m not a fan of the Holocaust either, but if a pretty boy from Hollywood goes public with silly numbers like 600 million and Hitler’s secret Dolphin/Laser squads .. I think you can rightly call him on his misinformation without getting labeled an anti-Semite denier.

    His head is so far up his own ass, it’s amazing he can’t see that he’s full of shit.

  47. Gulliver says:

    So…

    How to Use Human Tragedy to Advance Your Own Career in Just Five Easy Steps:

    1) Publicly align yourself with innumerable activists, cops, social workers and parents who have been fighting against a horrific crime for neither fame nor glory nor wealth.

    2) Spin BS statistics out of your ass with zero regard for the consequences.

    3) Look real sad, maybe a tear or two for the cameras.

    4) Blacklist anyone of who dares to question your thoughtless usury of others suffering.

    5) Watch your career soar while lesser mortals deal with the backlash from your blatant and total disregard for the truth.

    Hell, Kutcher isn’t just a politician; he’s the reincarnation of Joseph Fucking McCarthy!

    All the while no one is doing anything about the fact that Kutcher rapes and murders 100,000 to 300,000 facts. It must be true because notice the nice big round numbers and 300% error bar.

    Christ, what a goddam piece-o-shit sorry-excuse-for-a-human-being self-anointed-savior sexsploiting asshole!

    • Anonymous says:

      You act as if Ashton made up the stats, which he didnt. As the article mentions, the stats were used by lots of publications. So, are all those publications that use those figures wrong and milking the tragedy for personal gain too? Or could it be that the Village Voice made a hit piece with thier own faulty proof that the commonly used stats are wrong?

      • Gulliver says:

        @ Anon #128

        You act as if Ashton made up the stats, which he didnt.

        If he’s blithely allowing himself to be used, he’s just as culpable. Whether he’s knowingly using people or is just a tool, his bullying anyone who tries to call him on it is egomaniacal and sociopathic.

        As the article mentions, the stats were used by lots of publications. So, are all those publications that use those figures wrong and milking the tragedy for personal gain too?

        If they’re making money off it, then yes. Yellow journalism is exploitation and always has been.

        Or could it be that the Village Voice made a hit piece with thier own faulty proof that the commonly used stats are wrong?

        Evidence hurts, doesn’t it? Dang fact-checking reporters always getting in the way of angry mobs eager to show their support for a cause they didn’t give a flippin’ shit about yesterday and will forget by tomorrow.

        But if you really believe roughly one out of every 238 to 713 children in the United States are sex slaves, I have a bridge in Northern California I’d like to sell you.

        http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0004925.html

        http://www.census.gov/popest/states/asrh/SC-EST2009-01.html

  48. IWood says:

    The point is that the truth matters.

    My mother, along with about 49,999 other people in the US, has a chronic progressive disease that will eventually kill her. Very little research is done on it, and it doesn’t have its own ribbon or awareness month.

    I’m not going to run around claiming that 500,000 people have it just to get funds and “raise awareness.”

    Why?

    Because that’s not the truth.

    It’s a basic, fundamental idea, people: yes, the truth matters.

    “Does it really mater if it’s 1000 or 10000 or 100000 CHILDREN being exploited?”

    YES. IT MATTERS. One number is true. The others are FALSE. WRONG. INCORRECT. NOT TRUE.

    People on the right and left alike complain about the lack of moral compass in our society. Yet, people like Kutcher claim that there’s a higher moral idea than recognizing that there’s a difference between truth and falsehood? If you throw out that distinction YOU CAN BUILD NO MORALITY.

    For fuck’s sake, it’s a first principle. All else flows from it.

    Idiot.

  49. carriedhomemla says:

    Thank You Xeni!

    That is for just saying it straight “what an asshole”

    Thank you!

  50. Laroquod says:

    ‘Hey, that’s MY hysterical fact-free moral panic! Give it back!’

    ‘Well, what’s you’re hysterical fact-free moral panic doing in MY inane, brainless celebrity gossip?’

    ‘Hey, they taste pretty good together!’

    ‘Let’s start a marketing campaign.’

  51. randomday says:

    “Yeah, that’s right Aston. It’s all about you. I guess it would be too “classy” for this pouty egomaniac to ignore these non-issues and stick to his cause. Grow up Kutcher. These types of celebs truly nauseate me.”

    Ha!!! Do you listen to yourself? You sound exactly like what you are complaining about. All in an uproar over the “non-issue” and completely ignoring the admirable work Ashton *is* doing.

    Congratulations on missing the point.

  52. Anonymous says:

    Wahahahah! Someone FINALLY! I mean, Finally called them out! Thanks Village Voice! These “Stars” use Charity vehicles for tax benefits and other agenda’s and most of the time it is for their own gain in many, many, other respects!

    Here these two “goofballs” are in the public limelight for decades, then all of the sudden an “issue” becomes their top priority! What an absolute joke!

    More likely Uncle Sam has sent a tax notification to “their people”. So they then jump on the “charity wagon” to save their lifestyles not their souls.

    Here is a dramatization for you” “I am a huge “Star” and public figure. Yes, I am a Celebrity. I have spent decades in the public eye making unGodly amounts of money. Please give generously to “Our Cause”. I just came up with it 30 minutes ago and help me save my multi-million dollar lifestyle in the process and oh yeah, do it for the kid’s too. I almost forgot.

    I hope someday the World but mostly Americans see these “Celebrities” as the people they are and quit treating them as demigods.

    Half of them never even finished high school yet a lot of Americans hang on their every word and believe everything they say just because they are “Stars”. They through figures out there at random and all of the sudden it becomes fact. Its very dangerous actually.

    Child slavery is an absolute trajedy especially in this day and age. But there needs to be a sincere attempt to stop it. It doesn’t need to be used as a vehicle for self gain or self-promotion.

  53. Freek says:

    When you get the numbers wrong, somebody points that out to you, and you respond by bullying them. It shows that you’re not in it for the real issues, you’re just about getting attention for yourself to try and shake off the image of a dumb comedian and his bimbo wife.
    It’s attention whoring, nothing more.

    “look at me, I’m being socially responsible, please take me seriously and offer me better movie roles”.
    It’s sad.

  54. knoxblox says:

    While allowing that Kutcher’s numbers may be made-up, I also feel VV’s numbers are underestimated. Only using data of actual arrests and prosecutions doesn’t really cover all the crime that goes unnoticed.

    During a 3-year period, from the young women I have seen crisscross the threshold of the hotel I worked in on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, to the low-income neighborhood I lived in while in Austin (a brothel bust of young women enslaved to the coyotes who brought them there), to the exchange between a Moldovan pimp and an American businessman sitting one booth away from me in a Chisinau hotel bar, I’ve seen too much in my life to feel comfortable about VV’s research either.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      And what steps did you take in these multiple instances of witnessing sex slavery?

      • knoxblox says:

        Our hotel had security and cameras in common areas, and the police were often called in if surveillance information was good. I actually got to see a bust go down during a sting operation.
        Still, in the back of your mind, you kind of suspected more of them being prostitutes, but it’s often hard to prove in the Mag Mile, because of the prevalence of escort services in Chicago.
        Still, you call security, and they keep an eye out and provide detectives with whatever information they can. Luckily, we had a Serb and a Croat who worked security and who knew several languages, which I’m sure was a huge advantage to their work.

        In Austin, the house already got busted when I found out. It was a high-profile case at the time, and the young women were promised housekeeping jobs and had been kept prisoner in the house the entire time. Not even the neighbors really knew until someone started to question the amount of traffic in front of the house and called police, because they thought it was someone dealing drugs.

        Actually, the Chisinau incident was disappointing. An acquaintance of mine was seeing a woman who worked in the police department. He relayed the information, but not sure where that went. Who knows? She said it’s understood that SOME police keep an eye and an ear out for anything because they frequent the brothels, and help to spread disinformation for the pimps.
        The deal wasn’t consummated on the spot, either. More of a “we’ll get back to you later” kind of thing.
        I was just as disgusted with the American as the pimp, anyway. His attitude was “fuck the business (trip), I’m horny and need to get laid”. He was the one who was pressing for the deal to get done, and making a bad impression as an American.

        You see something, you say something. Yeah, one wishes one could do more, but I’m not Liam Neeson and this isn’t a movie.

        • bascule says:

          Nice work Knoxblox. That was a well thought out and helpful reply to what seemed to me as a slightly unconstructive aside. Need some more of that in this comment thread I think.

  55. museincognito says:

    Playing a coke-snorting mess in St. Elmo’s Fire twas contribution enough to “accurately” equate consensuality and slavery, people. Duh.

    In the other hand, of course, is exaggeration, without which many cannot get off.

    Oh, the humanity.

  56. Shotaro says:

    The thought occurs, that if the craiglist ads were and Village Voice ads are such a hotbed of sex trafficking, surely they should be left alone as a honey pot? Take all the money that’s spent on these advertising campaigns and special taskforces and employ a shitload of cops to drop in on the people posting these ads, and set up shelters for everybody who’s being forced into it.

    The 100,000 to 300,000 figure is just ludicrous, and the Village Voice article does a good job of debunking the rubbish study it’s based on. If the police report 1000 arrests, that’s only a 0.3% to 1% risk. Seriously? If that risk is so insanely high, why haven’t we bombed the Vatican? And if you know so little that you can’t pinpoint who’s at risk with any better than one in three hundred chance, why does your opinion matter, what useful input can you have? Quite frankly, if the information is so sparse, it’s better to push for all children to be well-educated about sex and relationships from kindergarten onwards and be sure in the knowledge that being abused is not a shameful thing they need to keep hidden, and they can tell anybody and expect to get help.

    This stranger-danger paranoia is absurd and diverts attention from real threats to child safety. Children are abused by people they know, which is why I avoid contact with children. If you’re looking for a way to reduce child abuse, put your effort into creating networks to counsel people at risk of offending, because I can tell you as a paedophile, finding help is unbelievably hard and fraught with danger, and substantial help for people who haven’t offended just doesn’t seem to exist, though I writing from a UK perspective. If there are potential customers, there will be people ready to sell them what they want.

    • Ambiguity says:

      Children are abused by people they know, which is why I avoid contact with children.

      I’m really not sure about that you’re trying to say here, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t come out quite right.

      • Anonymous says:

        Follow his commenting history, and you’ll realize it’s exactly how he meant it to sound. <_<

      • Anonymous says:

        Go back an re-read his message.
        He states specifically that he his indeed a pedophile.
        More importantly he seems to be a person with this problem that actually has some GOOD advice on how to prevent and treat this issue.
        Please go back and re-read his post twice. Make sure you absorb it, as its rare to get this kind of honesty from a person with the actual problem.

    • EeyoreX says:

      The thought occurs, that if the craiglist ads were and Village Voice ads are such a hotbed of sex trafficking, surely they should be left alone as a honey pot?

      This is the most sensible thing I’ve read in all of this thread. If someone advertises an illegal act, how about actually going after them for commiting the ACT instead of going for the advertising? Wow, what a radical idea. Only problem is that it would require actual work, rather than armchair activism and windbaggery tweets.

      Taking away and shutting down public channels of communication, like Kutcher seems bent on doing, doesn’t solve Jack.
      If it even affects trafficking in any way, it just forces the practice further underground, out of the public eye.

      Which brings us back to where we started: this is all a publicity stunt, and a very crass one at that.

      • Anonymous says:

        nailed it. This is exactly the problem.
        Shutting down communication channels, pushing the thing they claim to fight against further underground, while tweeting.

        Disgusting. Wake up.

  57. mabellouise says:

    Many celebrities are passionately committed to their causes and generate a lot of attention and funds for them. Kudos to them There are some, like Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher that seem just a tad disingenuous. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all good if they are bringing attention to their cause, but some of these celebrity causes appear to have been bought from the “Celebrity-List-of – Available-Causes-That-Will-Make-Me-Look-Good-After-My-People-Have-Found-A-Good Publicity-Fit-For-Me-Corp.” And then, of course, there are the “classy” celebs who quietly give, share their wealth where it’s needed and shut up about it. Just sayin….

  58. knoxblox says:

    This whole thread has started me thinking about why we accept or reject the validity of claims by particular celebrities. This might be an interesting subject to cover sometime.

    I suspect that not many people were truly moved by Lindsay Lohan’s trip to India and feel that her claims to be helping child workers to be no more than attempts to whitewash her tarnished image. Jenny McCarthy’s autism campaign, Kirk Cameron’s literal interpretations of the Bible, Sean Penn sinking his NOLA rescue boat loaded with photographers, the list goes on.

    On the flip side of the coin, there was so much positive response to Princess Diana’s interest in those who contracted HIV, as well as her campaign against land mines (amazingly enough, she seems to be the most credible out of the lot, despite her only prior experience working as a dance instructor for children or as a nanny).
    However, we had so many people that had a hard-on for Charlton Heston’s NRA politics despite his ultra-conservative viewpoints, and the Terminator was actually elected governor of California, despite his minimal experience in politics.

    I’m sure the issue can’t be as simple as Liberal vs. Conservative, and the levels of response for any given cause were extremely varied (especially the politically-polarizing views of Charlton Heston).

    I wonder if there has been any sociological study of this phenomenon, and what were the results? Why do we lend credence to some celebrities, yet thoroughly lambaste others, no matter the severity of their views?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      This whole thread has started me thinking about why we accept or reject the validity of claims by particular celebrities.

      Can you figure it out and find a cure before we end up with President Kutcher?

      • knoxblox says:

        You, sir, have a twisted imagination.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          It’s no more improbable than Reagan, Ventura or Schwarzenegger.

          • knoxblox says:

            I think the natural-born citizen thing might get in the way of Schwarzenegger’s presidential bid, though.

            And please, for the love of God, don’t drag Orly Taitz into this.

  59. fraac says:

    Let’s form a murder squad and kill them! BOOM.

  60. benher says:

    So um… can we have sex on Craig’s List again?

  61. bjacques says:

    The Village Voice makes an excellent point about the money going to professional opponents of child sex slavery in America, and practically none to the few hundred actual child sex slaves who turn up. But then, healing these broken kids one at a time is hard, time-consuming, unglamorous work.

    Linda Smith and her ilk remind me of the people who made bank in the late 1980s and early 1990s by speaking to schools, churches and police departments about Satan’s child abuse underground.

    Kutcher and Moore have been trolled, and he’s going after the messenger.

  62. KWillets says:

    I can say from personal, family experience that if everyone would just repeat the words “they’re just actors” before reading tweets, voting, or otherwise responding to professional attention whores (for the lack of a better term), the world would be a better place.

  63. benenglish says:

    One thing to keep in mind is that, historically, lying about the number of children being victimized has been a very successful tactic. And by “lying”, I mean “inflating so ridiculously that any idiot can tell you’re trying to pull a con job.”

    30+ years ago, the Center for Missing and Exploited Children was sending out their “experts” to testify to anyone who would listen that 50,000 children went missing every year. They were deliberately fuzzy about the sources of their statistics and exactly why those kids went missing but they always strongly implied that all those children were the victims of pervs with vans, snatching kids off playgrounds.

    I first heard one of their people spouting that nonsense on a Donahue show. By an odd coincidence, I had written a report in high school that week about casualties in Vietnam. We’d had about 50,000. Every family I knew had someone in their extended family who had been killed or injured in Vietnam but I didn’t know a single person with a “missing child” in their family.

    As it turns out, the number of “snatched off the playground by pervs” cases was actually about 50 to 150 per year, a rate that has stayed fairly constant over the decades. Those idiots at the U.S. CMEC included every time any kid ran away, whether or not they were recovered (i.e. 1 disturbed kid running away 20 times counted as 20 missing kids in their numbers); children in the households of the non-custodial parent; throwaways; 30-year-olds who went missing before their 18th birthday; and etc., etc, etc, including a heaping helping of just plain old exaggeration.

    So, obviously, when everybody figured out that they were lying, they lost all credibility and faded away, right?

    Not at all.

    There’s now an International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. National chapters have sprung up in lots of places. In the U.S. and other locales, they’ve gained a sort of NGO status. They get public funding and act as a quasi-LEO, authorized to receive and process complaints about things like child porn.

    In short, they got their start by lying about the size of the problem and then became an eternal, entrenched bureaucracy. Nowadays, they may do great work. I don’t know. But I know they were founded on lies.

    Ashton and Demi are being used by somebody who wants to make money off an organization that garners attention by making people afraid and claiming to do good things to alleviate those fears.

    It’s a time-tested formula. We should be surprised?

    PS – All the above is merely my opinion. Feel free to judge the facts for yourself before making up your mind. But answer me this – if 100,000 to 300,000 kids per year are becoming prostitutes, then every person reading this blog must know 10 families with a kid prostitute in it. Do you?

  64. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I get it- he’s an *actor*, so anything he says must be vastly more important than than what *ordinary* people have to say. Yes, we should all kneel at his feet and cherish the pearls of wisdom he casts!

    *cough*

    Any time I hear an actor speak, I discount what is said by ~75% right off the bat. And you know what? Sometimes it still isn’t enough.

    There are actors I admire, but it doesn’t mean they know more than me about any particular subject (except perhaps acting), and I never NEVER give their words more credence just because they’re an actor.

    For example, I love Christopher Walken. Love his movies, and he seems like a genuinely nice and intelligent guy. But if he came out campaigning for some cause tomorrow (“Beware of malignant nose tumors!”) I wouldn’t pay any more attention to him than I would to any other joe on the street.

  65. SF Sephard says:

    This is quickly getting into mushy areas, with plenty shit to stick to both sides

    The Village Voice has skin in the game: they profit from sex industry through escort ad sales, and some of those escorts are undoubtedly minors. But really that’s not why they published their hit piece. If there was a any reasonable way to eliminate under-age sex workers, they’d implement it in a heartbeat.

    But no, they took out a front page, hit piece on AK because they are afraid-shitless of a knee-jerk public over-reaction to AK’s message that would force them to stop escort ads completely; a la Craigslist. This is their way of trying to cut that nightmare off at the pass. But making it personal with a celebrity who swings pretty hard for his (light)weight; god, who’s the idiot that green-lit this story?

    Yeah, AK took some research numbers and misrepresented them. But I get the feeling that, as these misrepresentations were being thrown around by a lot of major news-outlets; I’d give him a pass on actively trying to deceive. I don’t expect a lot of expert fact checking from do-good celebrities. I do expect a lot of ego; however, so no surprise that:
    1) this story has now become about him
    2) he is now grabbing the over-reaction stick

    Instead of a reasoned discussion to find some common-ground (c’mon, you can’t seem to be on the same side of eliminating sex slavery??!?), debate the merits of legitimate sex work and work together to protect at-risk women; no, instead he’s going after VV advertisers and public sentiment.

    I’ve been a reader of their sister publications, some good muckraking but with a constant hint of “but don’t look here behind the curtain”. Usually insightful and blatantly biased. I assume the Village Voice used to be a better publication; but the best writers have moved on to stake out blog space.

    In the end VV brought on exactly what they were trying to avoid; pointed questions on how they (barely) profit. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    • SF Sephard says:

      And to clarify, I think that over-inflated numbers make the problem much-much worse. I hate the bogus, cry-wolf, think of the children campaigns that just blind us to real issues/solutions.

      But a personal attack is not the way to combat misinformation; and the Village Voice deserves a good slapping for taking the very low road. “Real men know the facts” Really!?!! That’s your foray into the debate?

  66. Anonymous says:

    Chomsky was shot down by the same thing. He suggested that the killing fields did not claim as many lives as suggested by other outlets. His concern was over accuracy but in the end it came across as callous and an attempt downplay “communist” murders. Chomsky wanted to avoid propagandist claims as he already saw the devastation that the USA had on Vietnam.

    To this day the right wing hounds Chomsky about his Pol Pot numbers and all Chomsky was doing was being skeptical. So watch what you claim, but it is still nice to be right and even righter still to debunk wild claims that could infringe on everyone’s freedoms.

    • hallam says:

      Wasn’t Chomsky earlier being called a loon for insisting that there was a genocide going on in Cambodia when the official US policy was to deny that anything was taking place at all?

      I seem to remember that he was later accused of denying the genocide in Cambodia after he published a piece where he pointed out that the proof of genocide in East Timor was equally strong. The people claiming he was denying the genocide in Cambodia were intentionally misrepresenting him.

      What is quite striking about the US media however is the low standard of evidence that they apply to scare statistics like Kutchers and the exceptionally high standard of evidence they demand in other areas.

      • emmdeeaych says:

        you mean they promote sensationalism and denigrate honest reporting?

        Are you going to complain about the weather next? Or the length of the day?

  67. SB-129 says:

    If I was Demi Moore’s sex slave i’d keep a low profile.

  68. Cowicide says:

    Didn’t Demi Moore exploit an underage Ashton Kutcher? I’m just askin’ questions.

  69. Anonymous says:

    The moral panic of SF Sephard is shrill and irritating. Prostitution happens if you like it or not and vast majority of escorts are doing so by choice. It is an occupation where you choose to be there. You’re not just magically an escort because you’re strung out on meth and need money. You’re an escort because you have yourself together enough to be presentable. You know in other countries like most of the EU and Canada, escorts are legal. But the second something happens in America this shrill jingoistic moral outrage occurs “THE VILLAGE VOICE IS MAKING MONEY OFF OF SEX!”. Oh wait but was the village voice making money off underage prostitution? NO! So you have your wires crossed.

    In case you didn’t get it: going after escorts is not the same as going after underage prostitution.

    • SF Sephard says:

      “The moral panic of SF Sephard is shrill and irritating.”

      I think you read my comment wrong, or I was inarticulate. Or hey, its the interwebs so why not both.

      Wasn’t condemning the Village Voice for having escort ads. I believe the more we can legitimize sex work; the more we can mitigate its less savory consequences.

      Wasn’t condemning the Village Voice for their article’s attempt to correct a gross misrepresentation of the already suspect study about at-risk young-uns’. Bad facts makes bad policy.

      I was pointing out how needlessly provocative it was to write the article in the key of “Fuck You, Ashton. Yeah, I’m talkin to you ‘Real’ Man”. Entertaining for the rest of us; maybe you get some backpats for putting pandering celebrity-hood in its place.

      But with a dog in the race (the in-my-opinion reasonably legitimate escort ads), VV’s motives for the article are suspect and they actually just screwed the pooch by making it personal.

      Very Greek tragedy of them.
      1) Newspaper fears losing (erotic) advertisers due to over-reach of anti-trafficking celeb effort
      2) goes on offensive (literally) by needlessly attacking the messenger in addition to countering their inflated evidence
      3) Provokes the over-reaction they feared
      4) Lose their mainline advertisers
      5) Somebody else $$profits$$

  70. boingboingdave says:

    I think it’s harmful to the issue if you’re wasting time, money, etc on efforts that do nothing to solve the problem.

    taking down CL adult listings did nothing to curb sex slavery. They moved on to other forums.

    it’s doing no good for anyone to defend bad science with a noble cause, either.

  71. Henry Baum says:

    Does everyone hear themselves? It’s not 100,000, it’s ONLY 1000, as if that matters. The specific statistics do not damage this cause because the cause is so vital. It’s literally the WORST THING IN THE WORLD. And so this turns my stomach: “Kutcher and wife Demi Moore are on an anti-sex-slavery kick.” As if this is some trivial pet cause and not the worst thing that’s done to other people. It’s so bad that whatever skirmishes happen on Twitter do not matter one iota. Look, Boing Boing says: internet squabble of the day! Making this about something some celebrity said and not one of the most pressing issues out there is sickeningly trivial – and it’s not Kutcher who trivialized it, it’s his critics.

    • Mantissa128 says:

      In principle I agree with you – no child should experience this.

      However, is it possible to prioritize, to look at this in the context of all abuse? This is the ‘worst thing in the world’… really? The 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys that are sexually abused go to the bottom of the list? The children with broken bones and cigarette burns? The millions suffering with alcoholic, broken parents? Poverty? No health care? Living in ghettos? Child soldiers? Your position is so bizarre I’m tempted to think it’s a troll.

      Do you hear yourself? The reason we are decrying Ashton is because he is painting sensationalistic images that appeal to the emotion, just as it has to you. This emotion clouds reason, debate, perspective – and the truth. It diverts attention from the bulk of those who are suffering, and makes us feel good that we have ‘done something.’ No need to do anything further, my show is on TV, and I can sleep better knowing that children no longer suffer.

      Gee whiz.

      • Henry Baum says:

        I was basically putting child sex abuse in the same category – and sex trafficking is particularly despairing. But really, what difference does it make which is worse – my hyperbole was a reaction to people’s snarky attitude, as well as the tone of the post.

        Beyond that, I think it’s insane that I’m called a troll in these comments. While people making flippant jokes get a pass. Strange priorities.

        • caesar female says:

          I think it is insane that you are accused of trolling as well. I’m all for free speech and I think adults should be free to have sex with other consenting adults. Certainly the inflated numbers are suspicious. But the parsing and qualifying that is going on here about the severity of affect of child sex abuse and sex slavery is disheartening.

          I don’t think the VV should be targeted for their paid advertisers. But I also believe that gloating about the Kutcher takedown is petty.

          • emmdeeaych says:

            Wherever is the fainting couch. Check out what he did there before you react to my more concentrated response. Being thoughtfully fallacious is not better than being quick and rude. He made his point, he’s very concerned and anyone who disagrees in the least is being snarky and worldweary and hates the children.

            FUCK THAT NOISE.

            In terms of horrible things people do to each other I firmly believe that genital mutilation is worse. I believe that being drawn and quartered in a drug war is worse. I believe that genocide is worse.

            Thats 3 right there. Care to put sex slavery above any of those? then tell Baum that.

    • Cowicide says:

      It’s literally the WORST THING IN THE WORLD.

      You obviously haven’t seen Transformers 3 yet.

    • emmdeeaych says:

      I assure you, while it is a terrible thing, it is not the worst thing people do to each other. It just isn’t. Top 5, maybe.

      • Henry Baum says:

        Important distinction, thank you. I feel chastened. Does anyone here have kids? Just curious. Because snark about this subject doesn’t seem like a “way to deal with it” it seems like apathy.

        Re: the update. The Village Voice bleeding advertisers is not the way to solve this issue, so as an activist Kutcher is flailing. But the initial criticism of Kutcher (who I’m no fan of by any stretch – in fact, by no stretch whatsoever) was as misguided as Kutcher’s own approach to the issue.

        • emmdeeaych says:

          Wow, I mostly agree with you and you’re wounded. Fucking Troll.

        • Anonymous says:

          It is not the worst thing in the world. Most of these kids emerge from this with their lives, and their bodies intact. With the right help, they could become mostly normal people.

          It is horrible, but it is just as evil to rescue these kids from one hell, and then throw them into another by denying them the care and help they need to become functioning human beings again.

          To go a step further, how many other kids – in other, less media friendly hells – could be helped by the tens of millions of dollars we are spending to help this ( relatively ) tiny group of kids? How many kids that are sexually exploited by their families and foster families could be found and rescued? How many throw aways could be helped, how many kids of parents with substance abuse problems counseled and helped? There really are hundred of thousand of those?

          The resource allocation is stupid, and causes other people to suffer. Whether you grasp it or not, it is possible to find child prostitution totally and completely evil, and still realize that we are spending too much on it because of BS information like 100,000 kids.

    • Alvis says:

      “It’s not 100,000, it’s ONLY 1000, as if that matters. The specific statistics do not damage this cause because the cause is so vital. It’s literally the WORST THING IN THE WORLD.”

      Oh, don’t be so hyperbolic. It’s not like we’re talking about $14 3D movies here.

  72. abstract_reg says:

    Sex slavery is bad. Acting like every sex worker is a sex slave is also bad.

    When you equate sex-work, a trade that people can enter by choice with slavery you are lying. It’s like saying a black butler working for a rich family, for a wage, is a slave. It is just not true. Slavery is slavery, sex-work is sex-work, both exist. Slavery is certainly evil. Sex-work is morally questionable, but is not slavery.

  73. Anonymous says:

    Hey @villagevoice I’m just getting started!!!!!!!! BTW I only PLAYED stupid on TV.

    Yeah, well stupid is as stupid acts.

    How about instead of boycotting an entertaining and fairly reputable news agency, we boycott loud mouthed ill-informed crap actors on a crusade.

  74. mabellouise says:

    Bully is right and not a subtle one either judging by the size of his post about American Airlines pulling their advertising from the V V. He clearly has inadequacy issues.

  75. SF Sephard says:

    With the update (American Airlines pulling their ads): the over-reaction that VV brought on themselves is well underway.

    The VV was not being bullied. Then they took a reasonable criticism (the numbers were vastly inflated; misrepresentations lead to bad policy) and fashioned it into a crude personal attack on the front-page; “Real Men Get Their Facts Straight”

    Now they are being bullied.

    Reap, sow, repeat.

  76. wakko101 says:

    Go to http://demiandashton.org/contact-us and let them know what you think of them. Nothing but a bunch of super-inflated egotist bullies who end up doing more harm than good.

    • Ceronomus says:

      Thanks for the info. Angry message of disgust sent.

    • museincognito says:

      Will do (though linking to BB will perhaps bring them to read the thoughtful responses here highlighting some of their incompetencies with these further bundled issues). They are truly misguided with this approach.

  77. Cowicide says:

    [cowicide grabs bowl of popcorn cooked up by republican gimp sex slave in basement]

    This should get good…

  78. Anonymous says:

    Why do so many people let bad arithmetic slide? 300,000 is 1/1000 of 300 million!

    If you assume a rate of 0.1 percent of the population, then Las Vegas, which as 1.95 million, should have 1950 child prostitutes. VV reported 827 arrests last year. Sounds like the right ballpark.

  79. Anonymous says:

    You know … not one of the above comments mentions an organization that actually DOES do intensive anti-human trafficking and anti-sex slavery work.

    I’m late to the post, but FYI if you want to help the problem instead of just complain about how Ashton/Demi/CelebDuJour are acting…

    Check out –
    http://www.freetheslaves.net/
    http://www.antislavery.org/
    http://acrimesomonstrous.com/information/abolition

    Not saying you have to stop complaining… just that it doesn’t have to be the ONLY thing you do. :)

  80. nic says:

    Thank god celebrities are campaigning to destroy the means of client contact for independent prostitutes and escorts.

    Prostitutes should be on the street, in the ghetto, with the firm hand of a pimp to keep them in line.

  81. Anonymous says:

    I can’t stand bullies, no matter how many goddamned Twitter followers they have.

    Christ, what an asshole. Wonder how much of a tax writeoff they’re getting out of this “DNA Foundation.”

    And many people can’t stand those who conduct and encourage religious hate speech.

  82. Anonymous says:

    An attention whore telling us to think of the children? Its not about the plight anymore, its about Kutcher pretending he has influence

  83. Anonymous says:

    If a company pulls ads in a newspaper because the newspaper told the truth, that’s fine with me — I will never patronize that company again.

    (Then again, it’s not like I’d ever fly American Airlines to begin with.)

  84. Jack says:

    I don’t know what Ms. Jardin has against people who work for human rights but don’t use the neatest methods… as if a neat method (adhering to her specs) is even possible.

    You know what I liked about the “The Diary of a Young Girl?” Ann Frank was revealed not to be some fat, white pudgy dip from Atlanta, Georgia pretending to be a teenage girl.

    And Ashton Kutcher is not some magical man who discovered there is a problem with sex slavery in the world. He is the only putz who actually thinks he (and ONLY he) has the power to end it.

    Al Gore did not invent the Internet so it could be abused this way!

  85. Daemon says:

    So, basically what you are saying is that the ends justify the means? That it’s ok to lie to the public in order to get them to do what you want? That artificially inflated statistics crafted to ensure support of a cause are acceptable?

    This sort of numbers inflation is actually very common in the various anti-sex-trade movements. It’s seen a lot in the anti-sex-trafficking world, but I’ve seen similar things in even local-level prostitution discussions.

    If you want to convince people to support your cause, start with the truth.

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