“I cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve”
Ashton Kutcher has stepped down from his role at Thorn, an anti-child sex abuse organisation that he co-founded more than a decade ago with his ex-wife Demi Moore.
This comes following criticism over letters of support that he and his wife, Mila Kunis, wrote on behalf of their former That 70s Show co-star, Danny Masterson, ahead of the sentencing hearing where he was handed a sentence of 30 years to life in prison for two counts of rape.
In his resignation letter shared by the organisation on its website on Friday (September 15th), Kutcher says the decision was made upon reflection amid growing disapproval over the couple’s letters of support for Masterson.
“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.
“I cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve.”
Thorn is a non-profit organisation that works to end the sexual exploitation of children and human sex trafficking, and Kutcher’s decision is to ensure it can remain focused on its mission: to build technology to defend children from sexual abuse, according to its board.
Time also reports that Kunis has also made the decision to step down as an observer on the Thorn board.
The That 70s Show actor extended his remorse for being one of 50 people to offer character references and advocate for leniency for Masterson, as well as expressing his gratitude to the organisation.
“Victims of sexual abuse have been historically silenced and the character statement I submitted is yet another painful instance of questioning victims who are brave enough to share their experiences.
“This is precisely what we have all worked to reverse over the last decade.”
“I want to offer my 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. 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.”
This comes following an open letter on social media by the couple, who shared a video acknowledging the ‘pain’ they caused once they became aware that the letters he and Kunis wrote became public.
“Our intention is not to undermine the testimony of the victims or re-traumatise them in any way. We would never want to do that. And we’re sorry if that has taken place,” Kutcher says in the video.
Followed by Kunis: “We support victims; we have done this historically through our work and will continue to do so in the future.”
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Thorn accepted Kutcher’s resignation and his 15 years of contribution and service to the organisation and stated that they would remain ‘steadfast’ in their mission.
“While the last few days have challenged us all in new ways, we remain steadfast in our mission, mindful of the trust our community places in us and confident in our collective dedication to the children we serve.”