HOLLYWOOD—When Ashton Kutcher and his wife Demi Moore started the non-profit organization DNA and began running their video campaign titled “Real Men Don’t,” which has gone viral after their joint appearance on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” they probably thought it would receive a lot of buzz in order to help the cause of young girls being trafficked for the sex trade. However, there is a new buzz brewing on the Internet about the concept of “Real Men Don’t.”
DNA’s mission is to bring awareness to underage sex slavery across the world, including right here in the United States. However, Tom Kiesche feels the similarities between his online version of “Real Men Don’t” was similar to the one rolled out this week for DNA.
Kiesche tells Canyon News how he initially found out about the new videos produced by Kutcher and Moore’s new organization. “I was actually living life and not paying attention to my cell phone when I got the first text. I think Demi and Ashton were on TV shedding light on the serious issue of sex trafficking. Apparently they showed a few shorts from their new campaign Real Men, and the text I received was a good friend promptly alerting me, how very similar their videos were to mine. The next morning, I went online to look for myself. Truly, not at all thinking anything would be similar except the title,” said Kiesche. “I was a bit shocked when just seeing how similar the screen captures they used were to the graphics we used. But when I watched a few of their shorts, the tone, the color, the length, the graphics and the humor were all extremely similar.”
Tom says he created his “Real Men Don’t” videos first. He explained, “My videos have been online making people laugh or being made fun of for at least five years.
You know Tommy, I’m very happy [Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore] are making noise, and bringing awareness to a very serious issue. I support it. I support people using their celebrity for good causes. And I’m not looking for them to stop doing what they’re doing. If and when I reach their level, I hope to continue with all the causes I support now. I’m also happy that they’ve proved to me, and everyone else, that my concept was/is funny, and that it does have an audience that will watch. As many friends have pointed out, it’s a validation. However, I’m not happy that my concept got put down years ago. I’m not happy that I still have projects being ridiculed and not able to crack into the world of the popular rich kids in Hollywood. I’m not happy that I won’t be able to revisit the idea in the future without the public at large thinking I’m ripping off Ashton and Demi’s ‘original’ concept.”
Kutcher and Moore’s videos have already enlisted the support and name recognition of Justin Timberlake, Sean Penn, Jason Mraz and Jamie Foxx. Speaking supportively of DNA’s mission, Kiesche added, “It’s a great idea to bring awareness to such an important issue; however, by using my ideas, wouldn’t you say that is a kind of social injustice of another kind?”
Entertainer Tom Kiesche is fired up about his work and a concept he feels has not been taken seriously for five years. “I didn’t want to believe what I was seeing on my computer Monday morning. I didn’t want to believe that what I created and showed to the public for five years, was now being done by celebrities, and these celebs were discussing ‘their’ concept with a celebrity on national TV, with big time celebrities acting in them, and everyone being praised. All of them at a level that has been closed to me my entire career,” said the filmmaker.
Kiesche feels a bit miffed at the way the new videos are being perceived and received. “I haven’t even had a chance to figure out how I should proceed with it all other than bringing awareness to it. I did post on Ashton’s Facebook page, and Demi and Ashton’s DNA Foundation Facebook page trying to make them aware of the situation. But I don’t imagine they’ll or anyone really reads what fans write on those pages,” said Kiesche. “As someone that hasn’t been able to crack the ceiling above me for 17 years, I feel like my only hope in having them contact me is if enough people in this world of social networking sites feel that a social injustice occurred and everyone together makes enough noise. If enough squeaky wheels squeak they won’t be able to ignore it. And at the same time, I’ll be helping them get publicity for their message. It’s a win-win in a way.”
Regarding any legal matter on this situation Kiesche concluded, “I have already been contacted by a lawyer asking if I want to bring a plagiarisms suit against them, as he feels there is absolutely no doubt in his mind someone somewhere saw one of my videos, and whether or not they consciously realize they copied the concept, there’s no question they did. He even sent me an article about a $35 million lawsuit that was filed about this very same thing, on a different project. But honestly, that’s not really what I’m all about. While I would love to buy a four-bedroom house in the Los Feliz Hills just outside of Griffith Park, I’d rather earn that with a respectable career that allows me to afford a slew of things for the next 40 years. And again, I don’t want Ashton and Demi to stop their campaign, because it’s an important message. And with my series 'Real Men Don’t' truthfully, it was just about being funny, gaining exposure, and possibly selling the concept down the line. I’d like some sort of recognition that their series is nearly identical to one I created.”
Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore were unable to be reached because they were doing work for their new foundation. However, a spokesman who manages the organization tells us, “This allegation is absurd. There are 7.8 million results on Google for the phrase (Real Men Don’t) used in all sorts of media.”
Videos of both “Real Men Don’t” are below.