Ashton Kutcher has defended controversial comments made by a senior executive at taxi-hiring app Uber, saying that he believes the private lives of journalists should be open to the same scrutiny as that of public figures.
The actor, who stars in US sitcom Two And A Half Men, posted a series of comments on Twitter, that initially indicated his solidarity with the beleaguered Emil Michael.
Michael reportedly told an audience at a private dinner in Manhattan that he had dreamed up an eight-man team who would find out about writers' personal lives and families and discredit them if they wrote critical pieces about the company.
The ‘scheme’ was targeted at female Silicon Valley editor Sarah Lacy, who had written a piece alleging that a culture of “sexism and misogyny” existed within Uber – a claim the company strongly denies.
Kutcher, whose own company A-Grade is a listed investor of Uber, initially posted the following:
He then appeared to become slightly confused between critical journalism, and that of showbiz reporting based on rumours in the entertainment industry, of which he is frequently the subject:
I believe we live in a day were the first word has become "the word"ashton kutcher (@aplusk) November 19, 2014
Rumors span the globe before anyone has an opportunity to defend them selves.ashton kutcher (@aplusk) November 19, 2014
Everyone is guilty and then tasked to defend themselves publicly.ashton kutcher (@aplusk) November 19, 2014
Questioning the source needs to happen... Always!ashton kutcher (@aplusk) November 19, 2014
To be clear I speak for my self not @Uberashton kutcher (@aplusk) November 19, 2014
Kutcher later claimed that journalists should be held accountable and receive the same level of exposure that famous people receive:
This should be fun... Here comes the part where journalist explain why they should be exempt from ridicule and judgement and probing...ashton kutcher (@aplusk) November 19, 2014
U r all right and I'm on the wrong side of this ultimately. I just wish journalists were held to the same standards as public figures.ashton kutcher (@aplusk) November 19, 2014
And concluded with a finale swipe at journalism in the age of the internet with this:
His tweets were posted as reports emerged that Uber had launched an investigation into claims that one of its executives had allegedly tracked down a technology reporter without her consent.
According to Buzzfeed, Josh Mohrer, Uber's New York general manager, used company app ‘God View’ to uncover the whereabouts of reporter Johana Bhuiyan on two separate occasions.
The app is apparently available to be used by all employees at the car-sharing service to allow them to track customer activity.