Ashton Kutcher steps down from Thorn amid backlash over Danny Masterson | Hollywood - Hindustan Times
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Ashton Kutcher steps down as Thorn anti-child sex abuse organisation's Chairman amid controversy over Danny Masterson

Sep 16, 2023 09:28 AM IST

Ashton Kutcher resigns as chairman of child sex abuse organization Thorn after supporting convicted rapist Danny Masterson.

Ashton Kutcher has stepped down from his role as chairman of the board at Thorn, an organization he co-founded to combat child sex abuse, after facing backlash for supporting his That ‘70s Show co-star Danny Masterson.

FILE - Ashton Kutcher, left, and Mila Kunis arrive at the Oscars on March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The couple are apologizing for character letters they wrote on behalf of fellow “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson before he was sentenced for rape this week. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)(Jae C. Hong/Invision/AP)
FILE - Ashton Kutcher, left, and Mila Kunis arrive at the Oscars on March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The couple are apologizing for character letters they wrote on behalf of fellow “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson before he was sentenced for rape this week. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)(Jae C. Hong/Invision/AP)

Masterson, who was Kutcher’s longtime friend, was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison this week for raping two women. Kutcher and his wife, Mila Kunis, wrote letters to LA Superior Court Charlaine Olmedo in support of Masterson, praising his character and questioning his guilt.

The 45-year-old No Strings Attached actor issued a statement to Time magazine today, explaining why he decided to resign from Thorn, E! News reports.

“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,” he said.

He added, “I cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve.”

In the statement, which was published in full by the US news outlet, Kutcher admitted that by writing a letter in support of Masterson, he had undermined the organization’s mission.

“As you know, I have worked for 15 years to fight for people who are sexually exploited,” the actor said.

“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. This is precisely what we have all worked to reverse over the last decade.”

He concluded with a “heartfelt apology to all victims of sexual violence and everyone at Thorn who I hurt by what I did.” The father of two also said he remains “proud” of the work Thorn has done in the past 10 years.

Thorn was founded by Kutcher and his ex-wife Demi Moore in 2012 after the former couple watched a documentary about child sex trafficking in Cambodia.

Kutcher’s involvement with the organization led him to testify at a 2017 hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he discussed America’s progress in ending human trafficking and modern slavery.

Kutcher’s announcement comes after he and Kunis’ letters to Judge Olmedo were made public, in which Kutcher described Masterson as “nothing but a positive influence” and “an extraordinarily honest and intentional human being.”

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He also said that he did not think Masterson was an “ongoing harm to society.”

Kunis then called the convicted rapist an “amazing friend, confidant, and above all, an outstanding older brother figure” to her.

The A-list couple have since shared a video statement firmly stating that they “support victims” and did not write the letters to “question the legitimacy of the judicial system or the validity of the jury’s ruling.”

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