Ashton Kutcher is stepping down from his leadership role at Thorn, the anti-human trafficking organization co-founded by the actor.
The Farm star and producer resigned as chairman in a letter to the board published to the Board of Directors organization’s website on Friday. The letter quoted Kutcher and partner Mila Kunis’ character letter for the convicted rapist and comrade That 70’s show star Danny Masterson.
“After my wife and I spent several days of listening, personal reflection, learning and conversations with survivors and Thorn’s staff and leadership, I have decided that it is my responsibility to step down as Chairman with immediate effect of the Board of Directors. I cannot allow my lapse in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve,” Kutcher wrote.
The actor, who co-founded the organization with fellow actor and ex-wife Demi Moore, noted that despite his more than a decade and a half of work focused on supporting sexually exploited people worldwide, his letter in support of Masterson was another form of the historic silencing of the victims the organization fights for.
“Victims of sexual abuse have historically been silenced and the character statement I have submitted is yet another painful example of questioning victims who are brave enough to share their experiences. This is exactly what we have all been working to undo for the past decade,” he said. “The mission must always be the priority, and I would like to sincerely apologize to all victims of sexual assault and everyone at Thorn who I hurt by what I did. And I think it’s very bad for the broader interest community.”
Kutcher ended the statement noting that he was “proud of what we have accomplished over the past decade and will continue to support Thorn’s work. Thank you for your tireless advocacy and dedication to this cause.”
According to a Time magazine reportKunis has also stepped down as an observer on the board. The Hollywood Reporter has contacted a Kunis representative for comment.
Nearly a week ago, the duo released a joint video apology on their Instagram after their character references asking for leniency for Masterson — who faces a minimum of 30 years in prison after being found guilty of two counts of rape — were made public.
“We are aware of the pain caused by the character letters we wrote on behalf of Danny Masterson,” Kutcher said in the video posted Saturday.
“We support victims. We have done this historically through our work and will continue to do so in the future,” Kunis added.