Ashton Kutcher Addresses Backlash After Posting ‘Sexist’ Questions About Women in Workplace

Ashton Kutcher
Ashton Kutcher speaks onstage during the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Los Angeles, California on January 29, 2017. Kevork Djansezian/WireImage

He had good intentions. Ashton Kutcher found himself embroiled in a “sexism” scandal when the actor asked what some perceived as insensitive questions on LinkedIn.

After announcing on Wednesday, July 5, that he would be hosting a “live open dialog about gender equality in the work place,” the 39-year-old included a list of questions on LinkedIn in hopes it would start a discussion — and it did.

Several questions inspired negative feedback, including “What are the rules for dating in the work place? Flirting?,” “What are the clear red lines?” and “How do we create channels to promote female entrepreneurship?”

Ashton Kutcher
Ashton Kutcher/Linkedin

In response to The Ranch star’s final question, “Are these the right questions?,” Many critics responded with a resounding “no” on Twitter. Some social media users called the questions “grossly offensive” and “embarrassing.” Joelle Emerson, who is the CEO of a company called Paradigm, sounded off, “Yikes. These are definitely not the right questions. Most rely on flawed assumptions and perpetuate problematic myths.” She added, “All the stuff about workplace flirting: gross.”

The post also garnered sarcastic answers, including one Twitter user who asked, “And lastly, is this post part of the problem?”

To his credit, Kutcher took the criticism in stride. “Thank you everyone for the feedback on the questions I posted on LinkedIn. Good and bad. Already a learning experience,” he tweeted July 7. “I’ve already offended some folks by asking the wrong questions. I’m certain given the sensitivity of the topic I will say other things wrong.”

He added, “Hope we can find space to be wrong in the pursuit of getting it right.”

The discussion in question will be held on Monday morning and will be live-streamed on Facebook. Kutcher will be joined by Effie Epstein, his partner at Sound Ventures, which is a venture capital firm that he founded with Guy Oseary.

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