Ashton Kutcher has resigned from a charity that he co-founded to work to prevent children’s sexual exploitation, citing his “error in judgement” after offering support to former film co-star Danny Masterson, who was sentenced to prison this month after being convicted of rape.
By Adela Suliman and Herb Scribner
ASHTON Kutcher has resigned from a charity that he co-founded to work to prevent children’s sexual exploitation, citing his “error in judgement” after offering support to former film co-star Danny Masterson, who was sentenced to prison this month after being convicted of rape.
Kutcher established the non-profit organisation ‘Thorn’ in 2012 with his then-wife Demi Moore after watching a documentary that highlighted issues of child sex trafficking. The charity works to use technology to fight child sexual abuse.
In a paragraph introducing Kutcher’s online resignation letter, Thorn said Kutcher’s decision to step down was “rooted in the recognition of recent events” and that he wanted to ensure Thorn “remains focused on its mission: to build technology to defend children from sexual abuse.”
The resignation follows a video posted online in the past week by Kutcher and his current wife, Mila Kunis, in which they apologise for providing character reference letters for fellow actor Masterson, who co-starred with the pair in the sitcom ‘That ’70s Show,’ which aired from 1998 to 2006.
Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison this month after being convicted of raping two women at his California home in the early 2000s.
“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,” Kutcher said in his resignation letter.
“I cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve.”
Kutcher said he was offering a “heartfelt apology to all victims of sexual violence and everyone at Thorn who I hurt by what I did. And to the broader advocacy community, I am deeply sorry.”
Kunis had served as an observer on Thorn’s board and also is stepping down, Time magazine reported.
Kutcher’s and Kunis’s letters to the court on behalf of Masterson led to public criticism by survivors and fellow Hollywood stars.
In their widely shared apology video, Kutcher and Kunis acknowledged “the pain that has been caused” by the letters that became public shortly after Masterson’s sentencing.
The support letters “were intended for the judge to read and not to undermine the testimony of the victims or re-traumatise them in any way,” Kutcher said in the video.
Kunis added: “Our heart goes out to every single person who’s ever been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse or rape.”
– THE WASHINGTON POST