Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are responding to criticism for writing letters of support for former TV co-star Danny Masterson prior to his receiving a 30-year sentence for sexual assault on Thursday.
“We are aware of the pain that has been caused by the character letters that we wrote on behalf of Danny Masterson,” Kutcher said alongside Kunis in an Instagram video posted to Kutcher’s account.
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“We support victims,” Kunis added. “We have done this historically through our work and we will continue to do so in the future.”
Kutcher gave context for why he and Kunis wrote the letters: “A couple of months ago, Danny and his family reached out to us and they asked us to write character letters to represent the person that we knew for 25 years so that the judge could take that into full consideration, relative to the sentencing.”
“The letters were not written to question the legitimacy of the judicial system or the validity of the jury’s ruling,” Kunis sad.
“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 added. “We would never want to do that. And we’re sorry if that has taken place.”
The pair ended the video by reiterating their support for sexual assault victims. “Our heart goes out to every single person who’s ever been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse or rape,” Kunis said.
The letters, all addressed to Judge Charlaine Olmedo, were obtained by journalist Tony Ortega, who shared several of them via Substack. Ortega regularly reports on issues involving Scientology, of which Masterson is a prominent member.
“As a friend, Danny has been nothing but a positive influence on me,” Kutcher’s letter reads. “He’s an extraordinarily honest and intentional human being.” Kutcher professes that Masterson has “consistently been an excellent” role model, attributing his drug-free lifestyle to their friendship. “Any time that we were to meet someone or interact with someone who was on drugs, or did drugs, he made it clear that that wouldn’t be a good person to be friends with. And for me, that was an implication that if I were to do drugs, he wouldn’t want to be friends with me, which is something I never would want to risk or jeopardize.”
Kunis also focuses on Masterson’s “unwavering commitment to discouraging the use of drugs” in her letter of support, in which she describes him as an “amazing friend, confidant and, above all, an outstanding older brother figure.” She ends her letter by saying, “I wholeheartedly vouch for Danny Masterson’s exceptional character and the tremendous positive influence he has had on me and the people around him.”
Kutcher and Kunis both co-starred opposite Masterson on That ’70s Show, which ran from 1998 to 2006 on Fox, while Kutcher also shared the screen with him on Netflix’s The Ranch from 2016 to 2017. Masterson was fired from The Ranch in 2017 after he was accused of raping four women in the early 2000s, but he and Kutcher remained close. Kutcher even brought Masterson out for applause at the show’s final taping in 2019.
Masterson’s sentence was issued Thursday in Los Angeles. The actor had been found guilty of two counts of forcible rape on May 31, after a previous attempt to prosecute him ended in a mistrial. The jury in Masterson’s retrial was deadlocked on a third rape charge and did not reach a verdict.
Masterson was charged with three counts of rape by force or fear in June 2020, regarding separate incidents of sexual assault against three women that allegedly occurred at his home between 2001 and 2003. He pleaded not guilty to all three charges in 2021.
Watch Kutcher and Kunis’ Instagram video below:
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