We criticized Details magazine for letting "editor" Ashton Kutcher turn it into a huge brochure for Kutcher's investments. But the actor doesn't always get a free pass from the media: After seeing this shamelessly self promotional laptop in Two And A Half Men, CBS producers banished it from the show.
And no wonder. Of the four monitor stickers we recognize, every single one belongs to a company in which Kutcher invests: iPad news aggregator Flipboard, travel searcher Hipmunk, textbook rental service Chegg, and check in service Foursquare, whose founder Dennis Crowley is giddy about the sitcom plug.
Kutcher gave the laptop's backstory at TechCrunch Disrupt earlier this month (at around 3:30 in this video):
I put a bunch of... portfolio companies [on the laptop]... I pulled it off for, like, one episode and then CBS came in and told me they were going to have to take all the companies off of the laptop because they didn't want to promote companies they weren't taking a piece of or something. I don't know exactly why... So, now they're greeking all of the stickers that were on there.
So the network that was ethically comfortable building a show around Charlie Sheen thinks Kutcher has crossed a line. But at least he got one round of free plugs off before the lash came down. When Kutcher said of Two And A Half, "watch it, don't watch it, I get paid either way," we might have laughed, but he clearly wasn't joking.