Archive for July 6th, 2011

Attack is the reaction; I never think I have hit hard unless it rebounds.  –  Samuel Johnson

In physics, every action results in an equal and opposite reaction.  But in human relations, actions often result in vast overreactions.  Such was the case with Hollywood denizen Ashton Kutcher, who had a very public meltdown on Twitter  late last Wednesday night in response to a Village Voice article which criticized the spurious “child sex trafficking” mythology he and his wife have used to make themselves look like great humanitarians (a sadly typical practice in today’s Hollywood).  Kutcher apparently didn’t realize that newspaper reporters and others who have to work for a living actually go home at night rather than obsessively checking Twitter 24 hours a day, because he spat out one message after another, apparently growing increasingly angry that nobody from Village Voice was responding to his ranting.

The next morning, reporters responded while Kutcher was apparently still asleep, offering to check the “facts” Kutcher claimed to have to support his trafficking mythology; they also asked him “Is money for ‘awareness’ programs that whip up fervor over mythical numbers really better than actual treatment for homeless teens?” and stated, “Here’s why @aplusk’s mythical sex slave numbers matter: activists use them to target legal adult freedoms, not underlying teen problems.”  When Kutcher eventually awoke, he obviously had no reasonable answers and therefore launched into another tirade, this time “tweeting” to several large Village Voice advertisers (namely American Airlines, Domino’s Pizza and Disney),” “Hey @AmericanAir are you aware that you are advertising on a site that supports the Sale of Human Beings (slavery)?” and “Hey @disney @dominos Are you aware that you are advertising on a site that owns and operates a digital brothel?”  As if that “digital brothel” crack weren’t enough to convince you of Kutcher’s real prohibitionist agenda, try this one on for size: “Hey @villagevoice speaking of data, maybe you can help me… How much $ did your ‘escorts’ in you classifieds on backpage make last year?” and “Hey @villagevoice speaking of Data… How many of your girls selling themselves in your classifieds are you doing age verification on?”  The snide tone and prohibitionist jargon is very telling, and since Ashton feels compelled to put scare quotes around the name of my profession I’ll return the favor:  Hey Ashton, why is it OK for you, your wife and other “actors” to make millions playing sex workers, but not for us to make tens or hundreds of thousands actually being sex workers?

American Airlines folded to pressure from this “actor” immediately, withdrawing its advertising from Village Voice at Ashton’s command, and Domino’s appears to be thinking about it.  Radley Balko of The Agitator cancelled his American Airlines bonus miles credit card as soon as he found out about it, and I call upon my readers to not only boycott American Airlines but to send them emails explaining why you’re doing so; Domino’s needs to be similarly admonished against obedience to narcissistic, megalomaniacal “actors” lest they follow suit.  And please, ask others of like mind to join us; it’s about damned time people understand that almost 450,000 American whores and 6.78 million regular customers can no longer be ignored, marginalized and demonized.

Backlash against prohibitionist lies is well-established in Europe; on July 3rd I referenced Laura Agustín’s report that public funds from European countries in which prostitution is legal had been squandered  on a ridiculous ad campaign promoting the “Swedish Model” for all of Europe.  Well, apparently at least some people in high places had similar opinions, because on the same day I published that column, Agustín reported that the following question was submitted to the European Parliament last Friday (July 1st):

Can the Commission explain if EU funds have been used directly or indirectly to finance an abolitionist “Campaign to put an end to prostitution in Europe” and “Together for a Europe Free from Prostitution”, promoting a “Europe free from prostitution” and calling on “individuals, national governments and the European Union to take concrete actions”, substantially on the basis of the Swedish model of legislation on the issue and with the aim of abolishing prostitution, which is presented as a form of violence against women?  Have notably Progress funds been used for this?  If so, can it explain how EU funds can be used to promote a certain legislative model, notably on a matter where Member States have different policies and sensitivities on the matter?  If EU funds have been directly or indirectly used, if a campaign is launched to legalize prostitution and sex work or to promote a different legislative model, would the same EU funds be eligible for it?  If not, why?  Will the Commission request that EU funds are given back, if the campaign is funded without the Commission knowledge?

Agustín points out that the current European Commissioner for Home Affairs is Swedish, and has made her anti-whore bias clear in recent speeches; it will be interesting to see if these prohibitionists either get their comeuppance or (even better) be forced to fund a series of pro-decriminalization ads as the above-quoted question proposes.  Incidentally, while you’re on Laura’s site you might read her comments on the whole Ashton Kutcher thing; regular readers may remember that Kutcher and other “actors” living out a fantasy of expertise rudely and childishly insulted Laura (a real expert on migrant labor and sex work) at a BBC event last December, thus once again demonstrating their monumental hubris and even more monumental cluelessness.

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