"Real men don't buy girls...that sounds asinine," Ashton told me last night during the launch party for their DNA Foundation in NYC. "Meanwhile, it's a $39 billion dollar industry. So I understand that people think it's asinine and that it's obvious real men don't buy girls. But is it that obvious? Because if it was, it wouldn't be a $39 billion industry—which is more than Google and Starbucks combined."
In fact, Demi and Ashton said they made the videos ridiculous for a reason.
"It's a really hard issue for people to talk about," Ashton explained. "People don't even like talking about sex with their own kids, let alone sex slavery, so maybe making it funny and maybe taking a little bit of different approach and saying something that seems absolutely obvious to everyone—'Real men don't buy girls'—maybe you have to make it that obvious for people to start talking about it."
Demi, who was also there last night for the launch party, says their goal was just to start a discussion.
"People's criticism has created even more conversation," she told me. "While we didn't want to offend anybody and it's certainly not our intention to make light of any issue we take very seriously, we see that it's actually doing what we intended."
The actress also wants to make one thing clear: "This isn't about hating men. I love men! But it's about changing behaviors that have become acceptable that men and women alike just look at it and say 'Oh, you're going to a prostitute? Men do that and she's choosing it [the lifestyle]'. But the truth is, the average age of entry is 13, and I don't know any 13-year-old choosing to be a prostitute."
Clearly, the couple are passionate about the cause and trying to make a positive difference, so we applaud them for that. The charitable duo were joined by one of their own teenage daughters last night at the Steven Alan Annex : Scout, 19, posed for a few photos before ducking inside.