November 10th, 2011
10:54 AM ET
Prolific Twitter user Ashton Kutcher is taking a break from the social media site after he posted a response to the firing of Penn State's coach Joe Paterno without knowing the full story.
According to People magazine, the 33-year-old "Two and a Half Men" actor tweeted on Wednesday night, "How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste."
Both Paterno and the president of Penn State have been let go in the wake of an alleged child sex abuse scandal.
Allegations of child rape have been brought against the school's former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, and critics have called for Paterno to resign because he reported the allegations to superiors, but not police. On Wednesday, the school's board of trustees ousted Paterno, saying that it was "necessary to make changes" because of "the difficulties that have engulfed our university."
As the news of Paterno's dismissal was unfolding on Wednesday evening, Kutcher followed up on his initial critical tweet.
"Heard Joe was fired, fully recant previous tweet!" he reportedly wrote to his 8.2 million followers. "Didn't have full story." The initial tweet and Kutcher's admission of tweeting prior to knowing all of the details surrounding the Paterno firing have since been deleted from his account.
Instead, Kutcher has announced that he's taking a Twitter sabbatical. "As an advocate in the fight against child sexual exploitation, I could not be more remorseful for all involved in the Penn St. case," he wrote early Thursday. "As of immediately I will stop tweeting until I find a way to properly manage this feed. I feel awful about this error. Won't happen again."
Update, 1:50 p.m. ET: In a statement on Posterous, Kutcher explains that while he will still express himself via his Twitter account, it will be managed by his team at Katalyst Media "to ensure the quality of [its] content."
Kutcher recalls that he first heard of the story after returning from work, and made an assumption that Paterno was fired because of his performance as a coach.
"With that assumption (how dare I assume) I posted a tweet defending his career," the actor says in the statement. "I then [went] about my evening...and about an hour later turned on ESPN where I got the full story. I quickly went back on my twitter account and found a hailstorm of responses calling me an 'idiot' and several other expletives."
At that point, Kutcher "retracted and deleted" the tweet, but says "that didn't seem enough to satisfy people's outrage at my misinformed post. I truly am sorry if I offended anyone and more over am going to take action to ensure that it doesn't happen again."
He adds that he doesn't take his 8 million plus followers for granted, and since "Twitter has grown into a mass publishing platform, where one's tweets quickly become news that is broadcasted around the world and misinformation becomes volatile fodder for critics," he feels "responsible for delivering an informed opinion, and not spreading gossip or rumors through my Twitter feed."
With the help of his management team, Kutcher believes this is "a mistake that I don't think will happen again."
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