Ashton Kutcher resigns as chair of anti-child abuse group after Masterson letter

Kutcher stepped down alongside his wife, Mila Kunis, following backlash

Actor Ashton Kutcher
Ashton Kutcher has faced significant backlash from his support for convicted rapist Danny Masterson
(Image credit: Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Actor Ashton Kutcher announced Friday that he was stepping down as chairman of the board of his self-founded anti-child abuse organization. The move comes following widespread criticism of his support for convicted rapist Danny Masterson. 

Kutcher said he was resigning immediately from the board of Thorn, which he co-founded in 2012 as an "engineering and data science team focused solely on developing new technologies to combat online child sexual abuse." Kutcher's wife, actor Mila Kunis, also announced that she was stepping down from her role as an observer on Thorn's board. 

In a statement, Kutcher offered "my heartfelt apology to all victims of sexual violence and everyone at Thorn who I hurt by what I did." The actor added that he had "worked for 15 years to fight for people who are sexually exploited," but that he "cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve."

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Both Kutcher and Kunis have faced backlash from Hollywood and beyond for their prior support of Masterson, who was recently sentenced to 30 years to life in prison after being convicted of raping two women. Kutcher and Kunis, who co-starred alongside Masterson on "That 70's Show," sent character reference letters to the judge during Masterson's trial. In the letters, copies of which were obtained by journalist Meghann Cuniff, Kutcher described Masterson as "an extraordinarily honest and intentional human being" who was "among few people that I would trust to be alone with my son and daughter." Kunis wrote that Masterson "displayed a profound sense of responsibility and care for those around him."

Following Masterson's conviction, Kutcher and Kunis were lambasted on social media for supporting him. The pair released a video on Instagram apologizing for their letters, though one of Masterson's victims described the video as "incredibly insulting and hurtful," according to journalist Yashar Ali

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Justin Klawans

Justin Klawans is a staff writer at The Week. Based in Chicago, he was previously a breaking news reporter for Newsweek, writing breaking news and features for verticals including politics, U.S. and global affairs, business, crime, sports, and more. His reporting has been cited on many online platforms, in addition to CBS' The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

He is also passionate about entertainment and sports news, and has covered film, television, and casting news as a freelancer for outlets like Collider and United Press International, as well as Chicago sports news for Fansided.