June 30, 2011— -- Upset Ashton Kutcher and you may have to contend with his seven million Twitter followers.
The actor is in the middle of a Twitter feud with the Village Voice after the New York weekly ripped apart child prostitution statistics Kutcher had been quoting as part of his "Real Men Don't Buy Girls" campaign.
After the Voice published an article Wednesday, Kutcher fired back a dozen tweets.
"Hey @villagevoice speaking of data, maybe you can help me... How much $ did your "escorts" in your classifieds on backpage make last year?" Kutcher (@aplusk) wrote, referring to the notorious escort ads on the paper's back pages.
"Hey @villagevoice speaking of Data... How many of your girls selling themselves in your classifieds are you doing age verification on?" he added.
Then, he promised more: "Hey @villagevoice I'm just getting started!!!!!!!! BTW I only PLAYED stupid on TV."
Ironically, the star of "That '70s Show" and films such as "Dude, Where's My Car?" will replace Charlie Sheen on "Two and a Half Men." No details so far about Kutcher's role on the show, but when Sheen was the star, his character was all about hooking up with prostitutes, one-night stands and other pretty young things.
Given Kutcher's strong stance on sex trafficking, his character will likely be different.
"Hey @villagevoice REAL MEN DON'T BUY GIRLS and REAL NEWS PUBLICATIONS DON'T SELL THEM," he ranted on Twitter on Wednesday.
"Wow, @aplusk having a Twitter meltdown! Hey Ashton, which part this story is inaccurate?" the Voice fired back on its Twitter feed.
"OK @aplusk, we'll bite. Tell us the hard facts you have collected. We'll fact-check for you," the paper wrote.
When Kutcher didn't respond, the Voice goaded him Thursday with, "Where's your fight now, @aplusk? Did you sleep in, or are you just tuckered out from last night's Twitter tirade?"
Kutcher was obviously still fired up. "@villagevoice don't worry I'm up, been up," he wrote.
The actor posted a link to a discussion group on sex trafficking, in which he wrote, "Human trafficking data is extremely incomplete due to the psychological complexity of the issue and the lack of funding that has been allocated to research."
"Proving force, fraud, or coercion can be very difficult considering that the victims have often times been brain washed, beaten, raped, molested, threatened, and tormented and fear revealing the identity of their trafficker," he continued.
During an April 18 appearance with wife Demi Moore on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," Kutcher quoted a figure that has been widely used in publications, including The New York Times and USA Today.
"It's between 100,000 and 300,000 child sex slaves in the United States today," Kutcher told Morgan, referring to the number of American children forced into prostitution every year. "If you don't do something to stop that, that's when there is something wrong with you, in my opinion."
The Voice challenged the figure, calling out Moore and Kutcher for their underlying thesis, which the New York weekly said was "hatched without regard to science. It is a bogeyman."
It also criticized Kutcher's "Real Men Don't Buy Girls" PSAs, which feature celebrities Justin Timberlake, Sean Penn and Jason Mraz doing "manly things" like shaving with a chainsaw and cooking a grilled cheese sandwich with an iron.
"The message is somewhat bewildering," the Voice wrote. "Ostensibly about an intense issue -- childhood sex slavery -- the videos reek of frat-boy humor."
The ads, produced by Kutcher and Moore's DNA Foundation, were their way of doing more than just paying lip service to the issue, say Moore and Kutcher.
"We want to make a difference with this," Moore told Morgan. "We don't want to just come and talk about it. We want to actually see a change, and that's not going to come by us just, you know, jumping in and doing a little bit and coming and talking."
And it doesn't appear Kutcher will be backing down anytime soon.