Ashton Kutcher has stepped down as chairman of Thorn, the anti-child-sex-abuse group he cofounded. His resignation comes days after he and his spouse, Mila Kunis, publicly addressed the letters they wrote in help of their That ’70s Present castmate and convicted rapist, Danny Masterson.
“Victims of sexual abuse have been traditionally silenced and the character assertion I submitted is one more painful occasion of questioning victims who’re courageous sufficient to share their experiences,” wrote Kutcher in a letter to Thorn’s board on September 14. “After my spouse and I spent a number of days of listening, private reflection, studying, and conversations with survivors and the workers and management at Thorn, I’ve decided the accountable factor for me to do is resign as Chairman of the Board, successfully instantly. I can not permit my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the youngsters we serve.”
Kutcher and Kunis, together with That ’70s Present forged members Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith, wrote letters in support of Masterson, who, on Could 31 was convicted of two counts of forcible rape for separate assaults of two girls in 2003. Kutcher and Kunis’s letters of help, which have been first printed by journalist Meghann Cuniff, spoke glowingly of Masterson’s character and urged the decide to think about a lighter sentence for his or her former costar. Kutcher wrote that he thought of Masterson “a very sincere and intentional human being” and a “position mannequin” who was “amongst few those that I might belief to be alone with my son and daughter.” Kunis described Masterson’s “distinctive character” and the “large constructive affect” on her over time. Regardless of their present of help, Masterson was sentenced to at least 30 years behind bars.
After their letters have been printed, Kutcher and Kunis confronted swift backlash from the general public, a lot in order that Kutcher and Kunis launched an Instagram video addressing their determination to help Masterson. Within the video, Kutcher mentioned that he wrote the letter “to signify the person who we knew for 25 years,” whereas Kunis mentioned that “the letters weren’t written to query the legitimacy of the judicial system or the validity of the jury’s ruling.”
“We help victims,” she added. “We have now carried out this traditionally by our work and can proceed to take action sooner or later.”
Kutcher and Kunis’s Instagram video incited extra ire from the general public, with many followers flooding the comment section of his past Instagrams to criticize the couple for what they discovered to be an inadequate apology. (Feedback on the Instagram video have been closed.) Kutcher delivered a extra direct mea culpa whereas resigning from the Thorn board, apologizing particularly to victims of sexual assault within the letter. “The mission should all the time be the precedence and I wish to provide my heartfelt apology to all victims of sexual violence and everybody at Thorn who I harm by what I did,” he wrote. “And to the broader advocacy group, I’m deeply sorry. I stay happy with what we now have completed prior to now decade and can proceed to help Thorn’s work. Thanks on your tireless advocacy and dedication to this trigger.” Kunis, who was an observer on the group’s board, has additionally resigned.
Kutcher based Thorn in 2009 along with his then spouse Demi Moore. Thorn, initially referred to as DNA (for Demi and Ashton), goals to fight baby sexual abuse materials on-line. In 2017, Kutcher testified earlier than the Senate Overseas Relations Committee in regards to the horrific abuse he had witnessed as a member of the Thorn board. In 2022, Kutcher raised over $1 million for Thorn by working within the New York Metropolis Marathon, citing one sufferer as his motivation for working the race. “I put that child on the opposite aspect of the end line,” he informed People. “I do know she’s on the market and I would like her to know that any person’s coming for her.”