Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis released a statement via video on Saturday in response to the criticism that ensued after news broke that they had each written character letters in support of their former That ‘70s Show costar, convicted rapist Danny Masterson. The actor was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
The married couple appeared side-by-side in the new video shared on social media where they appeared to speak in a stilted, read-like style.
Kutcher spoke first, saying, “We are aware of the pain that has been caused by the character letters that we wrote on behalf of Danny Masterson.” Kunis added: “We support victims. We have done this historically through our work and will continue to do so in the future.”
Their letters, which vouched for Masterson’s character, were shared by journalist Meghann Cuniff on her Substack, and revealed one day after Masterson was formally sentenced on Sept. 7. In May, Masterson was found guilty of two counts of forcible rape in his second trial on the charges (the first trial ended in a deadlocked jury, resulting in a mistrial). During the trial, his three accusers — all of whom were former members of the Church of Scientology of which Masterson is a member — claimed in testimony that Masterson drugged them before raping them.
Among the praise they conveyed in the letters, Kutcher called Masterson “an extraordinarily honest and intentional friend” and said he was “a positive influence on me” as well as a “role model.” Meanwhile, Kunis described him as “an amazing friend, confidant, and, above all, an outstanding older brother figure to me.”
Both of them credited Masterson as a good parent and someone who discouraged the use of drugs in their letters.
In their new video, Kutcher explained that Masterson’s family reached out to them a couple of months ago. “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.”
Kunis added the intent was not to question the judicial system or the decision made by the jury.
“They were intended for the judge to read and not to undermine the testimony of the victims or retraumatize them in any way,” Kutcher said. “We would never want to do that. And we’re sorry if that has taken place.”
“Our heart goes out to every single person who’s ever been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or rape,” Kunis said.