Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher have issued a statement today on social media, with Kutcher bluntly saying, “We are aware of the pain that has been caused by the character letters that we wrote on behalf of Danny Masterson.”
Masterson was sentenced to 30 years in prison this week, after being convicted on two charges of rape in May of this year. As part of the conversation surrounding Masterson’s sentencing, news recently broke that several of his That ’70s Show castmates—including Kutcher, Kunis, Debra Jo Rupp, and Kurtwood Smith—had written character letters on his behalf, speaking warmly of him, and calling for leniency in his sentencing. (Said pleas do not appear to have had much effect on Judge Charlaine Olmedo, who denounced Masterson as both a “true coward” and a “heartless monster” before setting his first chance at parole for 2048.)
Given the glowing nature of these letters, which call Masterson an “amazing friend,” “positive influence,” and other effusive labels of support, the reaction to their publication has been pretty uniformly negative, with many people viewing them as, at best, deeply dismissive of the feelings and lived experiences of the women Masterson has now been convicted of sexually assaulting, and, at worst, actively opposed to the truth of the ruling against him.
Now, Kutcher and Kunis have responded to these criticism, issuing a brief video on Instagram this afternoon in which they apologized for, if not the letters themselves, then at least the impact that they’ve had. In the video, the couple explains that they were approached by Masterson’s family several months ago to write the letters to “represent the person that we knew for 25 years.”
“The letters were not written to question the legitimacy of the judicial system,” Kunis said, “Or the validity of the jury’s ruling.” “They were intended for the judge to read,” Kutcher adds, “And not to undermine the testimony of any of the victims, or re-traumatize them in any way. We would never want to do that, and we’re sorry if that has taken place.” Kunis: “Our heart goes out to everyone who has ever been a victim of sexual assult, sexual abuse, or rape.”