Fourteen years after co-founding the anti-child-sex-abuse organization Thorn, Ashton Kutcher is stepping down from his position as the chairman of its board following his character statement in support of Danny Masterson, according to Time. Kutcher co-founded the organization in 2009 with then-wife Demi Moore. Mila Kunis, Kutcher’s current wife, is also stepping down from her position as an observer of the board. “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 said in a letter to the board. Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life for two accounts of forcible rape on September 7.
“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,” Kutcher wrote in the letter. “I cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve.” He apologized to “all victims of sexual violence and everyone at Thorn who I hurt by what I did,” saying “the mission must always be the priority.” He additionally apologized to Thorn’s larger advocacy community, writing, “I remain proud of what we have accomplished in the past decade and will continue to support Thorn’s work.”
In his letter, Kutcher said Masterson “always treated people with decency, equality, and generosity.” Kutcher and Kunis were among other That ’70s Show co-stars requesting leniency for Masterson, though they received particular scrutiny due to their connection to Thorn. The couple initially addressed the backlash in an apology video filmed outside their Los Angeles farmhouse, clarifying “the letters were not written to question the legitimacy of the judicial system or the validity of the jury’s ruling.”