After criticism online, former “That ’70s Show” actors Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis apologized Saturday for writing letters of support to the judge overseeing their co-star Danny Masterson’s rape case several months ago.
In one Video Kutcher and Kunis, who are married, posted on Kutcher’s Instagram account, explaining that Masterson’s family had reached out to her to write the letters of support “to represent the person we knew for 25 years,” so the judge could could take them into account when sentencing Masterson.
“The letters were not written to question the legitimacy of the justice system or the validity of the jury’s decision,” Kunis said in the video.
“They were intended for the judge to read and not to undermine the victims’ statements or retraumatize them in any way,” Kutcher added. “We would never want to do that. And we’re sorry if that happened.”
The apology video arrived just a day later Letters were shared publicly. In the letters, the couple described their co-star’s positive influence on them in several paragraphs.
In his letter, Kutcher described Masterson as a “role model” and “a person who is always there for you when you need him.” Similarly, Kunis described Masterson as “a great friend, confidante, and most importantly, a standout older brother figure to me” and detailed his positive influence on her.
“I am aware that the verdict [sic] was found guilty of two counts of forcible rape and the victims have a strong desire for justice. I hope that my testimony regarding his character will be taken into account in sentencing,” Kutcher wrote in his letter. “I don’t believe he is doing any lasting harm to society and if his daughter were to grow up without a father present, that would be the case [be] a tertiary injustice in and of itself.”
The couple was criticized online for writing the letters from several people, which continued following the apology video.
“We recognize the pain caused by the character letters we wrote on behalf of Danny Masterson,” Kutcher said at the start of the video.
“We support victims. We have done this in the past through our work and will continue to do so in the future,” Kunis added, likely referring to that Foundation, endowment Kutcher co-founded the organization to combat human trafficking and child sexual exploitation in 2009.
Masterson, 47, was Accused of sexually assaulting three women in June 2020 and was subjected to two trials. The actor is a Scientologist, as are the women he raped. Prosecutors said Scientology officials protected Masterson for years after he drugged and sexually abused the women. The victims said the church had forbidden them from reporting the attacks to the police.
Masterson was in the second trial, which ended May 31 found guilty of raping two women. (The jury was unable to reach a verdict on another rape of a third woman.) He was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison on Thursday for raping two women at his Hollywood home in the early 2000s.
“Our condolences go out to every single person who has ever been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse or rape,” Kunis concluded in the apology video.
The letters of support were written after Masterson’s guilty verdict was announced and in the months before the judge made his sentencing decision. “Good Morning America” reported On Friday, Kutcher and Kunis joined more than 50 others who also wrote letters of support to the judge, including former “That ’70s Show” stars Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith.
Complete copies of letters from all four former “That ’70s Show” co-stars were published by reporter Meghann Cuniff on Friday.