Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Hollywood Hypocrite? Ashton Kutcher May Be Entangled in Diddy’s Sex Trafficking Scandal

HomeEntertainmentHollywood Hypocrite? Ashton Kutcher May Be Entangled in Diddy's Sex Trafficking Scandal

Ashton Kutcher finds himself enmeshed in an astonishing scandal engulfing his longtime friend Sean “Diddy” Combs, as federal authorities unleash an aggressive investigation into a hideous array of sex crimes the rap mogul allegedly perpetrated and concealed for decades.

The “That ’70s Show” star is tight-lipped publicly but reportedly frantic behind the scenes over potential fallout from the unspooling case against Mr. Combs. Federal agents descended last week on the impresario’s palatial estates in Los Angeles and Miami, confiscating reams of potential evidence from hidden cameras and other devices, according to court filings.

The shocking raids signal a dramatic escalation by prosecutors examining a deluge of civil lawsuits accusing the 54-year-old music titan of running a criminal enterprise facilitating a serial pattern of sexual assaults through bribery, intimidation and other illicit acts over many years.

Among the most explosive allegations are claims by multiple women that Mr. Combs raped them, including his former longtime girlfriend Cassie Ventura and other women when they were underage. One woman said she was just 17 when drugged and assaulted at Mr. Combs’s recording studio.

Mr. Kutcher, 46, has cultivated an anti-sexual exploitation activism persona through his digital security firm Thorn and other outlets. But those efforts are now seriously undermined by his decadeslong tight friendship with Mr. Combs, whose conduct is depicted in lawsuits as that of a monstrous sexual predator.

“For Kutcher’s own brand and reputation, he really has to separate himself and denounce any illegal conduct,” said Imran Ansari, a lawyer representing abuse victims. “Not doing so creates an impression he enabled or turned a blind eye to potential wrongdoing by Diddy.”

A source told The Daily Mail there’s “no way in hell” Mr. Kutcher and his wife Mila Kunis will publicly back Mr. Combs. The couple was reportedly furious last year over backlash when Mr. Kutcher supported his convicted rapist pal Danny Masterson before walking back the stance.

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“Regardless of Ashton’s long history with him, he has distanced himself from Diddy since Cassie’s lawsuit, and even more so in the wake of the new ones,” the source said of Mr. Combs.

Reps for the actors didn’t return requests for comment. But a carefully crafted image could swiftly unravel for Mr. Kutcher if any ties to misdeeds by Mr. Combs emerge from the high-stakes federal inquiry playing out on both coasts.

Mr. Combs’s legal team insists he’s an innocent victim of overzealous authorities employing heavy-handed “military-level force.” But prosecutors are taking an exceedingly aggressive tack potentially implicating a staggering range of alleged misconduct.

“There has been no finding of criminal or civil liability with any of these allegations,” Aaron Dyer, one of Mr. Combs’s lawyers, said in a statement. “Mr. Combs is innocent and will continue to fight every single day to clear his name.”

Yet a drumbeat of shocking new allegations keeps intensifying the pressure. At least four women have now sued Mr. Combs making an array of lurid claims including kidnapping, drugging, sexual battery and rape.

The cases include a lawsuit filed in February by one of Mr. Combs’s former associates, producer Rodney “Lil Rod” Jones. He alleges the hip-hop star operated a sexual abuse venture trafficking women and underage girls into depraved situations captured on surveilled video footage.

Mr. Jones claims Mr. Combs has amassed an extensive archive of such tapes from hidden cameras throughout his homes to extort and silence victims, bribing cops and others to cover his tracks over the decades he ascended as a top-tier celebrity and business titan. He’s seeking $72 million in damages.

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In November, the R&B singer Cassie Ventura publicly accused her ex-boyfriend Mr. Combs of brutally raping and abusing her over the course of their decade-plus relationship that began when she was a teenager. The two sides privately settled her lawsuit one day after she filed the explosive claims.

In December, an unidentified woman sued alleging that in 1991, a then 29-year-old Mr. Combs drugged and sexually assaulted her after taking her on a date. Court papers graphically describe him imprisoning the woman in his car on the way to a recording studio where he raped her.

Weeks later, another Jane Doe filed suit claiming Mr. Combs and singer Aaron Hall gang raped her and a friend in the 1990s. She says Mr. Combs later savagely beat her when she tried rebuffing further sexual advances.

Through the lawsuits, an unmistakable pattern takes shape of Mr. Combs using his fame, wealth and connections to procure and victimize an untold number of women and girls – while deploying enforcers, NYPD bribes and surveillance blackmail to evade accountability for decades.

In many ways, the probe seems tailor-made to ensnare Mr. Kutcher based on his very public anti-trafficking advocacy positioning. He co-founded the company Thorn in 2012, saying it aimed to use technology to combat child sexual exploitation.

“Our tool has now been used across 50 countries and by over 10,500 people giving over 600,000 reports to authorities and over 6 million children have better had a chance at a brighter future,” he said in a 2017 speech describing Thorn’s reach.

In another address that year, he expressed disgust recounting encounters with trafficking victims while preparing for movie roles portraying men who abuse children.

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“I had to watch an video of a woman being abused in the most unimaginable ways,” he said. “I became a father not too long after that and it had some effect. The next thing I did was help co-found Thorn.”

All of which casts his cozy relationship with the horror show now unfolding around Mr. Combs in a highly inconvenient light for Mr. Kutcher.

It’s an association tracing back over 20 years to when the two first crossed paths as emerging stars at MTV in the early 2000s. Mr. Combs was breaking out with his smash reality series “Making the Band” while Mr. Kutcher prepared to prank the veteran entertainer on his hidden camera show “Punk’d.”

Appearing on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” in 2018, the two pals reminisced about the beginning of the bromance.

“I was doing ‘Making the Band’ on MTV, he was doing ‘Punk’d’ and I gave him a call one day and said, ‘I heard that you are going to punk me and I just don’t think that’s a good idea,'” Mr. Combs said with a chuckle.

From there, their bond blossomed with Mr. Kutcher appearing on Mr. Combs’s albums and in his music videos. The rapper attended Mr. Kutcher’s wedding to Demi Moore in 2008. A year later, Mr. Kutcher’s venture capital firm invested in Mr. Combs’s cable channel Revolt at its inception.

If even a hint of the harrowing allegations against Mr. Combs are substantiated by evidence, it could irreparably tarnish Mr. Kutcher’s self-fashioned profile as an implacable foe of sexual exploitation.

For now, Mr. Kutcher appears to be shrewdly keeping his distance and monitoring how the shocking scandal unfolds for his once-indomitable friend.

Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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