Kutcher, Kunis step down from roles at child abuse org. as fallout for supporting former co-star continues

Actor Ashton Kutcher and his wife Mila Kunis are officially stepping down from their respective roles in the anti-child-sex-abuse organization that Kutcher co-founded in 2009 with ex-wife Demi Moore.

(Video Credit: Access Hollywood)

Kutcher has resigned as chairman of the board of Thorn in light of his letter of support for his fellow “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson who was just convicted of raping two women. Kunis served as an observer on the organization’s board and has resigned as well.

“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 Sept. 14 letter to the Thorn board, according to TIME.

“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 have determined the responsible thing for me to do is resign as Chairman of the Board, effectively immediately,” Kutcher told the board. “I cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve.”

The actor was extremely contrite and apologized to victims of sexual assault.

“The mission must always be the priority and I want to offer my heartfelt apology to all victims of sexual violence and everyone at Thorn who I hurt by what I did,” he wrote to the board. “And to the broader advocacy community, I am deeply sorry. I remain proud of what we have accomplished in the past decade and will continue to support Thorn’s work. Thank you for your tireless advocacy and dedication to this cause.”

“Kutcher, Kunis, and several other former fellow cast members of That ’70s Show and The Ranch were among the boldface names who wrote letters of support for Masterson during the sentencing phase of his trial,” TIME reported.

“In May, Masterson was convicted of two counts of forcible rape for separate assaults on two women in 2001 and 2003. In his letter, Kutcher lauded his costar and friend as ‘an extraordinarily honest and intentional human being,’ who had helped keep him away from drugs and ‘always treated people with decency, equality, and generosity.’ The missives didn’t seem to make much difference; Masterson got 30 years to life,” the media outlet continued.

There was massive backlash after the letters went public.

“Kutcher, who in his letter of support for Masterson called himself ‘an actor, investor, philanthropist, and most importantly a father,’ and Kunis released a video in which they tried to explain they were supporting a friend and did not mean to discredit or retraumatize rape victims, but their attempt to apologize—’we’re sorry if that has taken place’—only served to inflame the issue,” TIME noted.

Journalist Yashar Ali reported that one of the victims contacted him after the letters came out, stating, “This video was incredibly insulting and hurtful. My hope is that they learn radical accountability and the importance of self-education to learn when to keep their privilege in check — especially Ashton, who claims to work with victims of sex crimes. And as to Mila, I can only think of ‘Times Up.’”

Suzanne Bell, a technology-focused lawyer, who is also a board member at Thorn, gave a statement of support for Kutcher, “Ashton founded Thorn over a decade ago with one goal in mind: to protect children from sexual abuse and give them the childhood they deserve. His unwavering dedication and commitment to Thorn throughout its journey have enabled the organization to become the leader that it is in the child safety ecosystem.”

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