Uber’s besieged leadership probably wishes Ashton Kutcher had just kept his mouth shut this morning.
Just as the app-driven car service was starting to dig out of its latest corporate crisis, the actor – and Uber investor – tweeted Wednesday in support of remarks made by one of its executives about theoretically investigating critical journalists.
The That ‘70s Show actor then defended his stance in a series of tweets posted Wednesday morning.
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
So as long as journalist are interested and willing to print half truths as facts... Yes we should question the source.— ashton kutcher (@aplusk) November 19, 2014
To be clear I speak for my self not @Uber— ashton kutcher (@aplusk) November 19, 2014
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
Kutcher’s remarks were criticized widely on Twitter on Wednesday.
I think @aplusk is wrong. But if I had 'journalists' hiding in bushes to snap photos of my family, I'd probably feel the same way.— danprimack (@danprimack) November 19, 2014
Hey @aplusk, our critiques of Uber are based on statements and actions made publicly and have nothing to do with personal lives of employees— David Holmes (@holmesdm) November 19, 2014
In terms of media strategy, Kutcher extended the half-life of a crisis that started Monday night when BuzzFeed reported that Uber SVP Emil Michael had floated the idea of investigating journalists’ private lives, and those of their families, as retaliation for criticism.
The remarks occurred at a private dinner – held to improve Uber’s relationship with the media, of all things – that the company’s executives reportedly believed were off the record. BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith, who reported the comments, has maintained that no Uber officials or the people who invited him communicated that the event was off the record.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick apologized in a 13-tweet series on Tuesday, but did not fire Michael.
3/ His duties here at Uber do not involve communications strategy or plans and are not representative in any way of the company approach— travis kalanick (@travisk) November 18, 2014
Uber also reportedly began investigating its New York managing director for accessing the travel records of a BuzzFeed reporter without her consent.