Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are still in hot water. Now Ashton has resigned from his charity.

Content warning: This story includes descriptions of sexual assault that may be distressing to some readers.

Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis have been in some hot water throughout the past week.

After Danny Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for raping two women, it was revealed that his long-time friends and former That '70s Show co-stars, Kutcher and Kunis, had written letters to the court to defend his character prior to sentencing.

One of the biggest reasons why the character reference didn't sit well with the public was that Kutcher has been a vocal advocate for ending sexual abuse, particularly child sexual abuse. 

He even co-founded a charity with his ex-wife Demi Moore called Thorn, which works to build technology to defend children from sexual abuse. 

Now Kutcher has announced he will be stepping down as board chair of Thorn - effective immediately. The decision rings eerily familiar to what an expert in PR publicly suggested the couple do.

Watch: Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher's Insta-apology. Post continues after video.

Video via Instagram @aplusk.

In a letter published on Thorn's website, Kutcher said he had made the decision to resign from his role, upon reflection on his actions.

"After my wife [Mila Kunis] 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," he wrote.

"I cannot allow my error in judgement to distract from our efforts and the children we serve."

The decision comes after the popular Hollywood couple issued a formal apology via social media for the letters that seemingly supported Masterton.

In a particularly awkward video shared by the couple on Instagram on September 10, Kunis said she and her husband "support victims" and "have done this historically through our work and will continue to do so in the future".

Kunis and Kutcher worked with Masterson for eight years on the comedy show, and they all remained close friends long after the sitcom finished in 2006 – so when Masterton's family asked the pair to pen their support for his character prior to his sentencing, Kutcher and Kunis were happy to oblige, they explained in the video.

"The letters were not written to question the legitimacy of the judicial system or the validity of the jury's ruling," Kunis said, looking extremely uncomfortable. 


"They were intended for the judge to read, and not to undermine the testimony of the victims or re-traumatise them in any way, Kutcher added. "We would never want to do that. And we're sorry if that has taken place."

Kutcher explained they'd been asked to write the letters to characterise "the person that we knew for 25 years, so that the judge could take that into full consideration relative to the sentencing."

The two sexual assaults that Masterson was found to have committed both occurred in his Hollywood-area home in 2003, at the height of his fame and the show's success.

As per PEOPLE, Kutcher wrote in his letter defending Masterson: "As a role model, Danny has consistently been an excellent one. I attribute not falling into the typical Hollywood life of drugs directly to Danny."

The actor recounted an incident in which he says Masterson went out of his way to defend a stranger in a pizza place against her boyfriend, who "was behaving not right". 

Kutcher said: "We had never met or seen these people before, but Danny was the first person to jump to the defence of this girl... He has always treated people with decency, equality, and generosity."

In her own letter of support, Kutcher's wife Kunis described Masterson as a man of "innate goodness" with a "genuine concern for those around him".

She shared a similar claim to her husband's, that Masterson guided her away from the drug pressures of the industry, adding: "Throughout our time together, Danny has proven to be an amazing friend, confidant, and, above all, an outstanding older brother figure to me."


Along with Kutcher and Kunis, That '70s Show co-stars Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp also wrote letters to the court, in support of Masterson's character. 

Rupp, who played Eric's mother Kitty Forman in the show, explained how Masterson took the younger actors under his wing from the time the show started and kept them on the "straight and narrow".

The three co-stars when That '70s Show was airing. Image: Getty.


Other actors who also provided character references for Masterson included Ethan Suplee, William Baldwin and Giovanni Ribisi.

"I think I'd be lost without him," Kutcher said in 2016 about his friendship with Masterson. "He anchored me, teaching me how to balance fun without crossing lines. He's truly one of my dearest friends."

In a conversation with Esquire earlier this year, Kutcher was asked for comment about his friend's trial.

"I don't want him to elude the law, but I wish for the truth to show he's innocent. I can't know… I'm not the judge, the jury, the DA, the victim, or the accused. I'm in no position to comment. I genuinely don't know."

Masterson's rape trial first began in October last year, but resulted in a mistrial. 

Following a second trial in May, he was found guilty on two counts of rape. 

The jury could not reach a verdict on the third count of rape, an allegation that Masterson also raped a longtime girlfriend.

Then in September this year, the Los Angeles Superior Court Judge sentenced Masterson to the maximum allowed by law, after hearing statements from both women about the trauma and the suffering caused by his actions in the decades since. 


It means Masterson will be eligible for parole after serving just over 25 years, but can be held in prison for life.

Masterson who has been in custody since May, sat in court and watched the women without visible reaction as they spoke.

"When you raped me, you stole from me," said one woman. "That's what rape is, a theft of the spirit. You are pathetic, disturbed and completely violent. The world is better off with you in prison."

Prosecutors alleged that Masterson used his prominence in the Church of Scientology - where the women were also members at the time - to avoid consequences for decades after the attacks.

The church has since said in a statement after the verdict that the "testimony and descriptions of Scientology beliefs" during the trial were "uniformly false".

If this has raised any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.

This story was published on September 9, 2023 and has since been updated with new information.

Feature Image: Instagram @aplusk.