Friday, August 19, 2011
Ashton Kutcher...failed to disclose investments! May face FTC investigation!
Pop Culture's favorite twit - um - twitterer may have pulled a fast-one on subscribers at DETAILS recently, when he acted as a guest editor in an online version of the trendy fashion mag.
The editors, who made the lucrative offer to the "Two And a Half Men" star, were counting on Kutcher's twitter popularity to rustle up hits (and sales) at their jazzy web site (which it did).
But, the editors at DETAILS left out one mind-boggling detail - ouch! - and got more than they bargained for.
In addition to the headaches, both the publisher - and Ashton Kutcher - may be facing an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission on the grounds that the actor pitched products in the spread (referred to as the "Social Issue") without disclosing that he held stock in the companies that he was slyly promoting off-the-cuff.
By law, Kutcher was required to disclose the information.
In a nutshell, the naive (?) actor's involvement in the promotion amounted to a conflict of interest.
Bloggers are keen to the FTC rules which were newly-instituted last year.
Any individual who plugs a product on a web site - who receives remuneration (or maintains a financial interest in the company that manufactures it) - is required to disclose the information in a conspicuous spot on the homepage.
In addition to a potential probe by government officials at the FTC, Kutcher may also face searing scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission if the enterprises he promoted offer stock to the general public in the near future.
Meanwhile, it should be noted for the record, that a spokesperson for DETAILS is vehemently denying any wrongdoing on their part.
"If you read Ashton's editors letter, you'll see he succeeded in his mission to get people to talk about and even criticize this social issue. I stand by how we communicated Ashton's involvement with some of the companies included in our coverage and remain extremely proud of the work we did on this project."
Government investigators often take a harder line.
Just ask Martha Stewart!
News at 11!