In recent developments, actor Ashton Kutcher, known for his roles in shows like “That ’70s Show,” has found himself at the center of controversy due to his support for Danny Masterson.
What Happened To Ashton Kutcher?
Actor Ashton Kutcher has resigned as the board chair of Thorn, an anti-child trafficking organization he co-founded.
This decision follows criticism he faced for writing a letter of support for his former “That ’70s Show” co-star, Danny Masterson, who was convicted of raping two women in June.
In his resignation letter, Kutcher acknowledged his “error in judgment” and expressed his commitment to the organization’s mission, emphasizing the importance of not letting his actions distract from their work in helping children.
Both Kutcher and his wife, Mila Kunis, had written letters of support for Masterson, drawing public scrutiny.
How did Ashton Kutcher react?
Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher released a video addressing their character letters in support of former co-star Danny Masterson, who was convicted of rape in May 2023.
Character letters are important in criminal sentencing, but Danny Masterson’s letters did not adequately address the seriousness of his crimes, which reduced their impact.
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis have expressed a desire to clarify certain matters. In the letters, they portrayed Masterson as a protective figure, describing him as an older brother, a fatherly presence, and a fervent anti-drug advocate who positively impacted their lives.
Their support for Masterson has sparked controversy and debate. In an Instagram video, Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher clarified that their letters weren’t meant to challenge the legal system or the jury’s decision. They emphasized their ongoing support for victims in their work and the future.
Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, who met on the ’90s hit show “That ’70s Show” and married in 2015, faced criticism for their lackluster response video.
They were closely connected to the Danny Masterson sexual assault allegations, having worked with him on both shows. Masterson was fired from “The Ranch” in late 2017 due to these accusations.
How have critics reacted?
Critics argue that the video, where Kutcher and Kunis acknowledged the “pain caused” by their Masterson letters, fell short in terms of atonement for their previous written statements.
Chrissie Carnell Bixler, a victim of Masterson, strongly criticized Kutcher in an Instagram Story, equating him to Masterson.
Actress Christina Ricci appeared to allude to Kutcher and Kunis in her Instagram Story, acknowledging that even those we admire can commit terrible acts.
She emphasized the importance of not dismissing the experiences of the abused, highlighting that their pain should never be disregarded.
How has the victim reacted?
Kutcher expressed his concern about the historical silencing of sexual abuse victims and acknowledged that his character statement may have contributed to the pain of those who bravely share their experiences. This was revealed in a letter obtained by Time addressed to Thorn’s board.
Kunis and Kutcher’s insensitive letters have sparked a recurring question: Why not refrain from defending a rapist? This sentiment is shared by many.
The criticism of character letters in this context often misses their intended purpose. These letters, customary in criminal cases, aren’t meant to assert innocence or mount a final defense.
Instead, they serve as pleas for leniency, offering the judge a more comprehensive view of the individual and their potential for rehabilitation.
Particularly for those marginalized and confronting a daunting criminal justice system, these letters serve as a vital and modest safeguard against potential injustices.
McCormack-Maitland emphasized that the criticism directed at Kutcher and Kunis’s testimonials, which she regards as “counterproductive,” might overshadow the true purpose and significance of such statements.
She underscores the need to recognize the genuine intention behind these testimonials and their crucial role in advocating for individuals within the criminal justice system.