Ashton Kutcher has stepped down as chairman of the board of Thorn, an organization he co-founded in 2009 with his then-wife Demi Moore to combat child sex abuse.
As first reported by Time, the former “That ’70s Show” actor sent a letter to Thorn’s board Thursday acknowledging that “victims of sexual abuse have been historically silenced” ― and saying that a statement he submitted to a court in support of fellow actor Danny Masterson, a convicted rapist, “is yet another painful instance of questioning victims who are brave enough to share their experiences.”
Kutcher said he and his wife, Mila Kunis, have “spent several days of listening, personal reflection, learning, and conversations with survivors and the employees and leadership at Thorn,” and he has “determined the responsible thing for me to do is resign as Chairman of the Board, effectively immediately.”
Kutcher added: “I cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve.”
Kunis, who served as an observer on the organization’s board, is also stepping down from her position, according to Time.
Last week, Kutcher and Kunis came under fire for writing letters asking for leniency in Masterson’s sentencing. Masterson, who co-starred on “That ’70s Show” with Kutcher and Kunis, was ultimately sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison for raping two women.
Kutcher and Kunis apologized after it was reported they’d written the letters, but they still faced the problem of supporting a charity whose mission is to stop sex crimes while having supported a friend convicted of sex crimes.
In his resignation letter, Kutcher apologized for letting down victims of sexual assault and their advocates by trying to get a lighter sentence for his old friend.
“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 cause.”
You can see the complete letter below, in a tweet posted by journalist (and former GME contributing reporter) Yashar Ali.
Kutcher’s statement won some praise on social media ― but it also drew criticism from one of Masterson’s victims, actor Niesha Trout, who noted something was missing.
“Wow. But still not a single, solitary apology to Chrissie, Jen, and myself,” Trout wrote, referring to two other women who have accused Masterson of rape, in one case resulting in a conviction. “Ashton and Mila, you are breathtakingly fraudulent beings. Keep learning I guess.”
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.