Show Your Work: Ashton Kutcher, the “feminist” & the Hawaii Five-0 salary dispute

Lainey Posted by Lainey at July 10, 2017 20:11:24 July 10, 2017 20:11:24

We begin this week’s podcast with a conversation about work posture which somehow devolves into a discussion about sh-tting posture which is a great lead-in to Ashton Kutcher. Today Ashton hosted a live chat on Facebook about gender equality in the workplace, specifically in the tech industry and a few days ago, in advance of the event, he posted the talking points.

In addition to being an actor and Mila Kunis’s husband, Ashton is known, I guess, to be some kind of tech super-investor. Which means he’s qualified to lead a discussion on gender equality and how women can advance in tech? Sure. About as qualified as Gwyneth Paltrow is to be a leader in “wellness”. As we’ve seen with GP though, people – a lot of people – have actually legitimised her status the “wellness” vertical. And a lot of people seem to look to Ashton for his, um, business acumen. So here’s Ashton, hoping to effect change, and empower women, and find ways to open up opportunities for women…by starting off that conversation with a question about… FLIRTING.

 

Flirting.

Needless to say, Ashton was told. And that resulted in an apology, sort of:


He went on to tweet about being “wrong” and asking for the “space” to be “wrong” in order to get to what’s “right”. OK. But is Ashton Kutcher – Ashton F-CKING Kutcher – the one to take us there? Is the “work” of Ashton Kutcher going to reduce sexual harassment in Silicon Valley and expand female enterprise? Or is it unfair to criticise Ashton Kutcher because he claims to mean well? Spoiler alert: there is some rage.

The rage continues when we get to Hawaii Five-0 and the news that Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park have left the show. Thank you for your emails and tweets about this issue. It was the most popular message we received last week which is why we held it for the podcast. Most people seem to agree that CBS f-cked up on this one. But Mike Hale, writing for the New York Times, offered a different take, arguing that Daniel and Grace’s characters were clearly secondary to the two leads, Scott Caan and Alex O’Loughlin, and positing that the show underserved Daniel and Grace on storyline and development well before the salary dispute took place. Duana and I discuss the merits of that position and also, in a related development, we get into Emma Stone’s recent comments in Out Magazine about how all of her male co-stars have had to take a pay cut so that she could have parity with them. This… is f-cking bullsh-t. She’s not bullsh-t but the practice of it, and the framing of it in this way, the taking away from them to give to her? It’s bullsh-t. Also, here’s the Ins Choi video that Duana references during this part of the podcast.

 

The Hawaii Five-0 drama highlighted, once again, how underrepresented people of colour are in the industry. And last week, Ashley J Cooper, in a piece for The Establishment, wrote about how Hollywood Needs To Stop Stealing Trans Stories. Then Andrew Garfield stepped in it during a platform discussion when he said that, "I am a gay man right now just without the physical act” because he plays one in Angels In America and watches Drag Race. But he was specifically asked by Tony Kushner to be in the production. So where does that leave gay actors (“with the physical act”) and trans actors and a casting process that’s based on economy and draw? The defence most commonly used for casting people who aren’t gay and aren’t trans is almost always about reach, and getting “big names” to tell stories that otherwise wouldn’t be told. Does it have any merit?

 


And finally, in this week’s installment of Do We Need To Care About …Edgar Wright? Who doesn’t seem to care about women? As Sarah wrote in her review of Baby Driver, Edgar “doesn’t invest in female characters”. Baby Driver, however, and so many of his other movies, are very good. Where’s the line then between enjoying his work… and having to acknowledge that his work is lacking in a way that offends you?

Let us know. We’ve been reading your emails and tweets during the podcast and we want to read more. Catch us weekly on iTunes and Google Play, and hit us up on twitter at @laineygossip and @duanaelise. Thanks for listening!

Attached - Grace Park at a Battlestar Galactica event in June. 

Photos:
Rick Kern/ Getty Images