Kutcher, Kunis Make New Move After Masterson Backlash

Actors step down from Thorn, an anti-sex abuse group, after catching flak from backing their friend
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 10, 2023 6:00 AM CDT
Updated Sep 16, 2023 7:45 AM CDT
Kutcher, Kunis Apologize Over Masterson Letters
Danny Masterson appears at the CMT Music Awards in Nashville, Tenn., on June 7, 2017.   (Photo by Wade Payne/Invision/AP, File)
UPDATE Sep 16, 2023 7:45 AM CDT

After a much-mocked apology over writing notes to a judge on behalf of That '70s Show co-star Danny Masterson, since convicted of rape, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are now stepping down from Thorn, an anti-sex abuse group Kutcher co-founded, report the AP and Independent. "Victims of sexual abuse have been historically silenced, and the character statement I submitted is yet another painful instance of questioning victims who are brave enough to share their experiences," Kutcher wrote in a letter to Thorn's board, per Time. He said the decision came "after my wife and I spent several days of listening, personal reflection, learning, and conversations with survivors and the employees and leadership at Thorn. ... I cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts." In a statement accepting Kutcher's resignation, Thorn noted, "We would not be the Thorn that we are today without Ashton's contributions."

Sep 10, 2023 6:00 AM CDT

Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis apologized Saturday for character letters the celebrity couple wrote on behalf of fellow That '70s Show actor Danny Masterson before he was sentenced for rape this week. A judge in Los Angeles on Thursday sentenced Masterson to 30 years to life in prison for raping two women in 2003. In a video posted on Instagram, Kutcher and Kunis said they were sorry for the pain they may have caused with the letters, which were made public Friday. Kutcher said the letters that asked for leniency "were intended for the judge to read and not to undermine the testimony of the victims or retraumatize them in any way," per the AP. "We would never want to do that and we're sorry if that has taken place."

Kutcher said Masterson's family approached them after the actor was convicted in the rapes in May and asked them to write character letters describing "the person that we knew for 25 years." Masterson starred with Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and Topher Grace in That '70s Show from 1998 until 2006. He had reunited with Kutcher on the 2016 Netflix comedy The Ranch, but was written off the show when the Los Angeles Police Department investigation was revealed the following year. Kutcher described Masterson as a man who treated people "with decency, equality, and generosity," he wrote in his letter dated July 27, 2023. Kunis in her letter called Masterson "an outstanding role model and friend" and an "exceptional older brother figure."

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Kunis said in the apology video that their letters did not mean to undermine the testimony of victims or "to question the legitimacy of the judicial system or the validity of the jury's ruling." She added that "our heart goes out to every single person who's ever been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or rape," she said. Both rapes took place in Masterson's Hollywood-area home in 2003 when he was at the height of his fame on the Fox network sitcom. The victims testified that Masterson drugged them before violently raping them.

(Read more Danny Masterson stories.)

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