Actor Ashton Kutcher handled a protestor, who interrupted his keynote at the Airbnb Open 2016 here, very calmly.
On Saturday, when the actor took the stage to talk about his transition from an actor to a successful entrepreneur at the annual Airbnb summit — a festival which honours hosts from across the world, a protestor entered the venue and walked up to the stage, yelling and criticising Airbnb, a community-driven hospitality company.
The girl walked onto the stage, while people booed holding a sign which read ‘Airbnb out of settlements’.
The actor, who is one of the first investors of Airbnb, took the matter in hand, and tried to calm her down.
Without getting hassled, Kutcher walked up to her and asked “how are you”. And went on to say: “Let me explain something to you, of what Airbnb means to me.”
The protester — who seemed to be representing CODEPINK as the hashtag of the activist member group was mentioned on the poster — refused to listen to the actor.
It was then that Kutcher set the record straight by saying: “What people are doing is focusing on bringing people. We can get to know each other intimately and understand (that) our collective narrative is a narrative for everyone, and that we all can belong in a world together without borders.”
Kutcher, who has been associated with showbiz since he was a child through “That ’70s Show”, also lauded the whole idea of home sharing, and the team behind it.
“I can appreciate that this doesn’t happen seamlessly. I can appreciate that this doesn’t happen easily. I can appreciate that where there is change, there will be a fringe case that feels objectified, but this company is about bringing people together, and about loving one another,” he said.
The “No Strings Attached” star, who is excited about having his second child with actress Mila Kunis, praised Airbnb co-founder Brain Chesky.
Pointing towards Chesky, Kutcher said: “I know this man, I know his heart, I know his initiative, and I know that when a problem gets brought to his desk, that says that there is a discrimination or this is a displacement, that he cares.
“The first thing that he does is try to look at the system holistically and change it to make it better.”
All said and done, Kutcher didn’t leave things with the protestor on a cold and rough note.
Kutcher said to her: “If you learn to have a conversation about it, I will be happy to have a conversation.”
(The writer’s trip is at the invitation of Airbnb. Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
By Sugandha Rawal