The new celebrity cause: Sex trafficking

Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore's "real men don't buy girls" PSAs are filled with stars -- and zero substance

Topics: Sexual abuse, Children, Sex, Sex Work,

The new celebrity cause: Sex trafficking

Real men pop beers open with the TV remote, pour milk straight into the cereal box and shave using a chainsaw; therefore, um, you shouldn’t support sex trafficking?

That is the sharp line of reasoning found in Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore’s new star-studded “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls” ads. Instead of making a rational argument against buying underage girls for sex, they went for “that offbeat feel of Funny or Die,” as Kutcher put it, and ironically challenged viewers’ masculinity. Basically, they turned an Old Spice commercial into an anti-sex-trafficking PSA. In fact, Isaiah Mustafa himself is in one of the spots — shirtless, per the usual. There are also appearances from Bradley Cooper, Drake, Jamie Foxx, Jason Mraz, Sean Penn and Justin Timberlake. As though the campaign didn’t already scream “desperate to go viral,” if you “like” the campaign’s Facebook page, it will generate a custom spot featuring your profile photo and Moore purring your first name (assuming your parents didn’t give you a weird one).

I can’t hate too hard on the ads. After all, child sex trafficking is bad and vaguely socially conscious laughs are good. It’s just that the spots don’t communicate a new message, so much as cast anti-child-sex-trafficking as the hip new celebrity-endorsed cause.

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Tracy Clark-Flory

Tracy Clark-Flory is a staff writer at Salon. Follow @tracyclarkflory on Twitter and Facebook.

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