An online video accurately reported that actor Mel Gibson publicly spoke of actor Ashton Kutcher as being a "hidden handler" for Hollywood elites.
On Sept. 16, 2023, the purported celebrity gossip YouTube channel Just In (@JustInCeleb) published a video that claimed actor Mel Gibson had exposed actor Ashton Kutcher was a "hidden hander" for Hollywood elites.
The clip's title read, "Mel Gibson Reveals Ashton Kutcher Is A HIDDEN Handler For Hollywood."
This clip's narration, scripting, sequencing and thumbnail image all looked to have been a product of artificial intelligence (AI), video-creation tools.
This thumbnail image was misleading, to say the very least.
AI-GENERATED NARRATOR VOICE: Mel Gibson has gained a reputation for being outspoken about some unsettling truths within Hollywood. And this time, it appears he's set his sights on the beloved Ashton Kutcher, who recently found himself at the center of a controversy.
It's evident that he has never been afraid to speak his mind, and that includes not fearing Kutcher either. To that end, the internet seems to be abuzz with speculation that Gibson appears to be prepared to unveil some uncomfortable hidden truths about Ashton as well, suggesting that he might be a handler.
The "controversy" referenced in the video was that it had been revealed that Kutcher and his wife, actor Mila Kunis, had written character letters seeking leniency for convicted rapist and former "That '70s Show" co-star Danny Masterson. This news was first reported on Sept. 7 by ABC7 Los Angeles investigative producer Lisa Bartley and others on the same day that Masterson had been sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.
On Sept. 9, Kutcher and Kunis posted an apology video on Instagram.
Then, on Sept. 15, due to backlash to the reveal of the character letters, Kutcher announced in a statement that he would be stepping down from his position as chairman of the board of Thorn, an anti-child sex abuse organization. The YouTube video in question was posted on the next day.
Despite all of this, the truth of this matter was that the title of the YouTube video and the thumbnail image were both false. The clip never provided evidence that Gibson had publicly remarked about Kutcher's controversy involving Masterson, nor did it provide any proof of Gibson calling Kutcher a "handler" who had "betrayed us."
The video simply showed old, out-of-context clips of Gibson remarking about a variety of different subjects, none of which had anything to do with Kutcher.
The clip also misleadingly implied that Gibson had a hand in directing "Sound of Freedom," a film centered on child sex trafficking. However, the movie was was written and directed by Alejandro Monteverde, not Gibson.
The video even went so far as to claim, with no evidence whatsoever, that Kutcher had tried to stop the "Sound of Freedom" from being made.
At the very bottom of the description under the YouTube video, a spot that the vast majority of viewers likely wouldn't see, a fairly important disclaimer read as follows:
Disclaimer: Content might be gossip, rumors, exaggerated or indirectly besides the truth. Viewer advised to do own research before forming their opinion. Content might be opinionated.
As we've seen with many of these AI-generated videos across multiple celebrity gossip YouTube channels, this clip contained a misleading video title with a mix of old and unrelated news, false claims and other emotionally charged moments that likely were meant to elicit angry responses in the comments. Such videos often end up with hundreds or thousands of comments from users who indicated that they had believed the misleading information presented in the clips.
We previously reported about another video that was also published by the Just In YouTube channel. That video claimed that Gibson had revealed something not just about Kutcher, but also had exposed entertainment icon Oprah Winfrey, purportedly with similar allegations.
Dalton, Andrew. "Ashton Kutcher Resigns as Chair of Anti-Sex Abuse Organization after Danny Masterson Letter." The Associated Press, 15 Sept. 2023, https://apnews.com/article/ashton-kutcher-resignation-mila-kunis-danny-masterson-b8ee3e125e7eb703eb0cae96d4564b1c.
Liles, Jordan. "Mel Gibson Exposes Oprah Winfrey's 'Questionable Action' for 'Hollywood Elites'?" Snopes, 11 Aug. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/mel-gibson-oprah-winfrey/.
---. "Mel Gibson Interview from 1998 Goes Viral with 'Sound of Freedom' Release." Snopes, 11 July 2023, https://www.snopes.com/news/2023/07/11/mel-gibson-1998-interview/.
@LisaBartleyABC7. "#DannyMasterson Update… I Just Picked up the Letters from Masterson's Family and Friends Sent to Judge Olmedo Ahead of Today's Sentencing. Still Going through Them but Actors @aplusk and @MilaKunisv Both Speak Highly of Their Friend, Now Convicted Rapist @dannymasterson." X (Formerly Twitter), 7 Sept. 2023, https://twitter.com/LisaBartleyABC7/status/1699933510788886989.
Luscombe, Belinda. "Ashton Kutcher Steps Down as Board Chair of Anti-Child-Sex-Abuse Organization." Time, 15 Sept. 2023, https://time.com/6314436/ashton-kutcher-steps-down-thorn-danny-masterson/.
Millar, Paul. "Mel Gibson 'Stronger after Humiliation.'" Digital Spy, 20 Jan. 2010, https://www.digitalspy.com/showbiz/a197958/mel-gibson-stronger-after-humiliation/.