News broke on Friday, September 15, that Kutcher, 45, has resigned from his post as chairman of the board for anti-human trafficking organization Thorn, which he cofounded with ex-wife Demi Moore in 2009. (Kutcher and Moore, 60, split in 2011 and finalized their divorce two years later.)
“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 letter to Thorn’s board on Thursday, September 14, via 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. I cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve.”
Kutcher apologized for his actions, writing, “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 concluded: “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 and Kunis’ decision to step down from Thorn’s board came after the couple made headlines for writing letters in support of Masterson, 47, as he awaited sentencing in his rape trial.
Masterson — who costarred on That ‘70s Show with the pair and later with Kutcher on The Ranch — was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison on September 7. He was convicted in May on two charges of rape for sexually assaulting two women in 2003. A verdict was not reacted on the allegation that Masterson raped an ex-girlfriend in 2001.
After Kutcher and Kunis, 40, received backlash for their letters, they took to Instagram to explain their thought process. “We are aware of the pain that has been caused by the character letters that we wrote on behalf of Danny Masterson,” they said in a video posted on September 9.
Kunis insisted, “We support victims. We have done this historically through our work and we will continue to do so in the future.”
Kutcher then explained that they wrote the letters “a couple of months ago” after Masterson’s family “reached out” and asked for “character letters to represent the person that we knew for 25 years.” The letters were meant to inform the judge when sentencing Masterson.
“They were intended for the judge to read and not to undermine the testimony of the victims or re-traumatize them in any way,” Kutcher said. “We would never want to do that, and we’re sorry if that has taken place.”
Kunis, who married Kutcher in 2015, concluded: “Our heart goes out to every single person who’s ever been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse or rape.”