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Ashton Kutcher's Twitter fight gets dirtier

Ashton Kutcher stopped replying directly to the Village Voice's bait tweets on Thursday after news of his Twitter tantrum (Twantrum!) went viral, but thanks to the same journalistic tenacity that won the Voice its Pulitzers, the Streisand Effect is in full force.

As we reported on Thursday, the tweets hit the fan Wednesday night, after "Real Men Get Their Facts Straight" went live — the Voice cover story critical of Kutcher and his wife Demi Moore's anti sex-trafficking crusade.

Critical not of its well-meaning insipidness, but the campaign's oft-repeated, yet specious statistic that "100,000 to 300,000" children in America enter prostitution every year.

On Friday, in what seems more like an act of revenge than concern for at-risk minors,  Kutcher turned his star power toward Village Voice Media's major advertisers. He took this moment in his months-old crusade against child prostitution to start tweeting American Airlines, Disney, Domino's and Columbia University, telling them their advertising dollars helped support a "digital brothel."

The Voice continued to address Kutcher directly, sticking to the facts in its story, including how millions of government dollars sent to hysterical child welfare advocates never finds its way to the nonprofits that work with teen prostitutes. 

"@aplusk Don’t spout phony statistics which are then used to justify millions in spending for 'awareness.' Victims need beds and counseling." the Voice tweeted. "@aplusk Is money for 'awareness' programs that whip up fervor over mythical numbers really better than actual treatment for homeless teens?"

When Kutcher went after its advertisers, the Voice got dirty too, tweeting a link to a video of Kutcher and Demi Moore getting down last summer at a performance of Snoop Dog, who openly brags about his pimp past. "That s**t was my natural calling and once I got involved with it, it became fun. It was like shootin' layups for me. I was makin' 'em every time," the hip-hop artist told Rolling Stone in 2006. (He retired though, to spend more time with his family.)

It's on like Donkey Kong!

Much like the idea of preschools subjecting their children to devil-worshipping rituals, child prostitution is a subject that incites more emotion than clarity, which became obvious as the audience for the Twitter slap fight grew.

But if the angels are on the side of the Voice, Twitter voyeurs reacting with their emotions will instead see the hypocrisy and try some facts on for size. Those on the side of Kutcher repeat the rhetoric that numbers don't matter if they bring attention to the problem. That's the issue in the story it seems neither Kutcher or his Twitter supporters have read, at least for comprehension.

On Friday afternoon, the Village Voice broke it down CliffsNotes-style, for your convenience. "Ashton Kutcher and the Problem of Underage Prostitutes" reads, in part:

In numerous tweets blasting Village Voice Media, Ashton Kutcher never once mentioned shelter and counseling for underage prostitutes.

Our cover story this week on human trafficking exposed the scare statistics that Kutcher and wife, Demi Moore, flog to hype their pitch. Their numbers are bogus.

 The article also covered legislation which, for the first time, would devote federal funding to providing beds and assistance to underage victims of prostitution.

America does not lose 100,000 to 300,000 children to prostitution annually as Kutcher and sex prohibitionists allege. That is simply a lie.

The lie has been used to obtain millions of dollars in Congressional funding to raise awareness of human trafficking by advertising, lobbying and numerous outreach programs.

If there is not a tsunami of underage prostitutes in America, that is not to say that there are no children trapped in this world. Of course there are.

And yet, as we pointed out in our story, not a penny has been spent to shelter the victims.

If you want to help these kids there is something you can do.

U. S. Senate Bill 596 deserves your attention and your support.

More on the annoying way we live now:

Helen A.S. Popkin, never a fan of ribbons or other meaningless gestures, is always going "blah blah blah" about the Internet. Tell her to get a real job on Facebook and/or Twitter.