Ashton Kutcher resigns from board chair of anti-child-sex-abuse org after Danny Masterson letter
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Ashton Kutcher has resigned from his role as Board Chair of Thorn, the anti-child-sex-abuse organisation, in the wake of criticism over his and his wife Mila Kunis' letters of support to former co-star Danny Masterson, who has been convicted of raping two women.
Thorn was co-founded by Kutcher and his then-wife Demi Moore in 2009. Kunis has also stepped down from her role as an observer on the organisation's board. The organisation uses technology to address the proliferation of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) online.
In a letter written on September 14 to Thorn's board that was shared exclusively with TIME, Kutcher wrote: "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."
Speaking on the backlash he and Kunis faced after their letters to the judge handling Masterson's case were revealed to the public, he said: "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 judgement to distract from our efforts and the children we serve," he added.
The letter also included an apology to victims of sexual assault and advocates. "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. "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 case."
The letters penned by Kutcher and Kunis asked the judge for leniency when sentencing Masterson. Kutcher described his former That 70's Show co-star as a "dedicated and loyal" husband and father, and hoped that his "testament to his character is taken into consideration in sentencing".
In her letter, Kunis called Masterson "an amazing friend, confidant, and, above all, an outstanding older brother figure to me".
The two then apologised in a video saying they didn't intend to "undermine the testimony of the victims" and apologised if they had "retraumatised them in any way".
In 2017, Kutcher testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the online child abuse he'd seen as part of his work at Thorn. And in 2022, he ran the New York City marathon for the organisation, raising more than a million dollars.