Ashton Kutcher, Uber investor, defends plan to investigate journalists

Ashton Kutcher Wearing Uber Hat

“What is so wrong about digging up dirt on a shady journalist?”

A-list actor Ashton Kutcher has fired off a series of impassioned tweets defending the comments of an Uber executive who discussed hiring researchers to investigate journalists critical of the company. This occurred just hours after the company profusely apologized, claiming that the comments do not reflect official company policy. 

In August, the Daily Dot published an investigative report detailing how Ashton Kutcher’s news site, Aplus.com, “the fastest-growing site in the history of the Internet,” republished articles from BuzzFeed, Cracked, and Huffington Post without permission.

Why is Kutcher so keen to defend the taxi platform? Well, as Circa’s Anthony de Rosa points out, the fact that he’s an investor in the company might have something to do with it. 

The tirade begins with a defense of “digging up dirt on a shady journalist,” and mentions Pando Daily—a Silicon Valley tech publication run by Sarah Lacy, a journalist singled out by Uber executive as particularly troublesome, and who, after the news broke, wrote that she felt “terror” over the “attack at my family.”

After that, Kutcher appeared to indicate that any criticism is fair game, whether the critic is a “public figure” in the traditional sense or not.

The actor and entrepreneur critically discussed the media cycle in more general terms.

He then went on to stress that although an investor in Uber, he speaks only for himself.

Finally, Kutcher attempted to pre-empt criticisms of his stance. 

Pando editor Paul Carr responded:

TechCrunch’s Alexia Tsotsis had more to say:

As Business Insider’s James Cook pointed out, Kutcher responded with “haha” to a joke about “disappearing” journalists:

Finally, Kutcher said he was on the “wrong side of this”:

Photo via TechCrunch (CC BY 2.0)

Rob Price

Rob Price

Rob Price is a technology and politics reporter who served as the U.K.-based morning editor for the Daily Dot until 2014. He now works as the news editor for Business Insider, and his work has appeared in Vice, Slate, the Washington Post, and the Independent.