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(Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix)

OAN’s Abril Elfi
6:07 PM – Friday, September 15, 2023

Actor Ashton Kutcher has stepped down as board chair of an anti-sex-abuse organization after receiving backlash for supporting Danny Masterson.

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On Friday, the 45-year-old star wrote a letter of resignation to the board of the organization Thorn which was later shared on the organization’s website. Kutcher stepped down after he faced backlash over his letters of support for his former co-star Masterson who has been convicted of raping two women. 

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

He continued by apologizing to the victims for his “inconsideration and for letting them down.” 

“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.”

This past May, Masterson was convicted on two of three forcible rape charges and was sentenced to 30 years in prison in early September. He was accused of raping three women in his Hollywood Hills home between the years 2001 to 2003, while he played the character “Steven” on That 70’s Show, his most notable role. 

Kutcher, his wife Mila Kunis, and several other former fellow cast members of That ’70s Show were among the people who wrote letters of support for Masterson during the sentencing phase of his trial. 

In his support letter, Kutcher referred to his co-star 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.” 

After the letters were made public, Kutcher, Kunis, and other supporters faced swift backlash, with Kutcher receiving special derision due to his campaigning on behalf of child sex-trafficking victims.  

The actor and his wife 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 just generated more backlash towards them. 

According to journalist Yashar Ali, one of the victims texted him the following reaction and said “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.’”

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