Ashton Kutcher's Twitter Backlash

13 Nov 2011

Actor hands over Twitter account to management

Team Ashton Kutcher has relaunched his Twitter account and handed over control of his profile, to his management team, after sparking outrage by defending ousted US college football coach Joe Paterno.

The actor shut down the account after sparking outrage by commenting on the sacking of the Pennsylvania State University football team head coach without knowledge of the growing scandal which led to the decision.

The 84-year-old coach came under fire for failing to take action against assistant Jerry Sandusky, who has been charged with molesting young boys over a 15-year period. It has been alleged that Paterno knew of the scandal.

Upon learning Paterno had been sacked on Wednesday (9 November), Kutcher took to his Twitter page to question the board of trustees’ decision, writing, “How do you fire Jo Pa? Insult. No Class. As a hawkeye (University of Iowa) fan I find it in poor taste.”

His ill-advised tweet prompted a flurry of angry messages from offended followers, with several criticising Kutcher for his response in light of the fact he co-founded a charity to end child sex slavery.

The actor quickly deleted the post and closed his page, admitting he felt “awful” about his comment, adding, “As an advocate in the fight against child sexual exploitation, I could not be more remorseful for all involved in the Penn St. case.”

Kutcher has since addressed the matter in a lengthy post on his blog, explaining, “I walked by the television and simply saw a headline that Joe Paterno had been fired. Having no more information than that, I assumed that he had been fired due to poor performance as an aging coach... I assumed that the university had let him go due to football related issues.”

“With that assumption... I posted a tweet defending his career. I then when about my evening... and about an hour later turned on ESPN where I got the full story. I quickly went back on my twitter account and found a hailstorm of responses calling me an ‘idiot’... I quickly retracted and deleted my previous post; however, that didn’t seem enough to satisfy people’s outrage at my misinformed post. I am truly sorry.”

But Kutcher has decided not to quit Twitter altogether and has instead put his assistants in charge of his tweets in a bid to control the messages which he posts online for his eight million followers to read.

He writes, “Up until today I have posted virtually everyone of my tweets on my own, but clearly the platform has become too big to be managed by a single individual... While I will continue to express myself through (Twitter account) @Aplusk I’m going to turn the management of the feed over to my team at Katalyst Media to ensure the quality of its content.”

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