The fallout continues for Ashton Kutcher in the wake of the news that he wrote a letter of support for his former co-star, Danny Masterson, who was convicted on two counts of forcible rape earlier this month.
On Friday, Time revealed that Kutcher has resigned from his position as chairman of the board of Thorn, an anti-child sex abuse organization he founded in 2009 with then-wife Demi Moore.
“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 statement to the Thorn board.
“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.
Kutcher and wife Mila Kunis took to Instagram last weekend to apologize for writing character letters in support of Masterson ahead of his sentencing in his Los Angeles rape case. The actor was ultimately sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.
“We are aware of the pain that has been caused by the character letters on behalf of Danny Masterson,” Kutcher said in the video, to which Kunis followed with, “We support victims. We have done this historically through our work and will continue to do so in the future.”
The couple’s statement came one day after ET reported that they were among the 50 people who submitted letters to the judge in Masterson’s case, in the hopes of persuading her to show mercy to the disgraced actor. The couple — who portrayed Michael Kelso and Jackie Burkhart on the hit Fox sitcom — leaned on their long history and friendship with Masterson, whom the couple referred to as “a role model” with “exceptional character.”
“The letters were not written to question the legitimacy of the judicial system or the validity of the jury’s ruling,” said Kunis, in the couple’s social media apology.
“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 continued. “We would never wanna do that. And we’re sorry if that has taken place.”
On the Thorn website, the organization describes itself as “a growing full-time team of staff and contractors, working from over 21 states to unleash the power of technology on behalf of vulnerable children.” The group focuses on developing technology to identify and pinpoint child trafficking, then sharing that technology with law enforcement agencies.
“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,” Kutcher continued in his letter to the Thorn 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.”