Ashton Kutcher's endeavor into improving gender equality in the workplace has been off to somewhat of a rocky start. On July 7, when the actor and venture capitalist announced his plans to host a Facebook Live Chat on workplace gender equality, social-media users criticized the selection of questions (i.e., "What are the clear red lines?" and "What are the rules for dating in the work place?") he planned to address.
During the Facebook Live event on Monday, Kutcher said that his goal was to learn, distribute useful information, and establish a pipeline for female founders to get to his venture capital firm Sound Ventures.
"A lot of my employees have come forward with abuses that they've faced and I think it's amazing that people are having the courage to come up to report these types of things," Kutcher said. "Maybe something can be done about it, because the solution is far too far off."
Kutcher, who was also joined by Effie Epstein, a managing partner at Sound Ventures, primarily discussed blind bias and how it can affect hiring. They encouraged founders who are building their companies to create diverse organizations, instead of just hiring friends. Kutcher also advised women to send more "cold call emails" to Sound Ventures as a way to increase their exposure.
"To be a responsible venture capital firm, if we aren't addressing this personally and internally, we're screwing ourselves," said Kutcher. "And screwing over a lot of people that don't deserve to be screwed over."
The two recognized that the onus was also on them to make changes, including adding women to their four-man technology team. Epstein also said that men and women must support each other and highlight female founders looking for funding.
"The assholes that are sexually assaulting people and sexually harassing people, no more hall passes," Kutcher said 13 minutes into the hour-long discussion. "This is amazing, what's happening, and women coming out and putting these, for lack of a better word, fuckers down--great."
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-- ashton kutcher (@aplusk) July 7, 2017
We have centuries of ground to make up in a short order & I don't want the basics to be off limits. some clearly don't yet get the basics.-- ashton kutcher (@aplusk) July 7, 2017
While Kutcher admitted that he was nervous after Friday's backlash (which he said included harsh comments from his wife Mila Kunis and Epstein), he reminded everyone that his goal was to fix the problem--including learning from his missteps as conversations about sexual harassment in the workplace continue to gain prominence.