Hollywood couple Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis apologised on Saturday for writing letters that vouched for That ’70s Show actor Danny Masterson’s character, ahead of his rape sentencing last week.
Last Thursday, Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for raping two women at his Hollywood Hills home in 2003.
The 47-year-old starred in the television sitcom for eight seasons from 1998 to 2006, alongside the couple and actor Topher Grace.
After That ’70s Show, Masterson co-starred with Kutcher again on Netflix’s comedy, The Ranch.
But Masterson was fired and written off the show in 2017, after the Los Angeles police confirmed that they were investigating multiple rape allegations against him.
In a video posted on Kutcher’s Instagram page on Saturday, he and Kunis addressed the letters that they had written to the judge.
“We are aware of the pain that has been caused by the character letters that we wrote on behalf of Danny Masterson,” said Kutcher.
Kunis said: “We support victims. We have done this historically through our work, and we will continue to do so in the future.”
A couple of months ago, Masterson’s family reached out to them and asked them to write letters to represent the person that they had known for 25 years, said Kutcher, adding that the judge could take that into consideration regarding his sentencing.
“The letters were not written to question the legitimacy of the judicial system or the validity of the jury’s ruling,” said Kunis.
Kutcher added that the letters were intended for the judge to read and not to undermine the testimony of the victims or retraumatise them in any way. “We would never want to do that. And we’re sorry if that has taken place.”
The video concluded with Kunis saying: “Our heart goes out to every single person who’s ever been a victim of sexual assault (and) sexual abuse.”
The couple’s apology comes after their character letters for Masterson were made public last Friday.
Kutcher referred Masterson as a “role model” with “exceptional character” in his letter, reported The Hollywood Reporter last Friday.
He also said Masterson was the reason he did not fall into drug use. “Any time that we were to meet someone or interact with someone who was on drugs, or did drugs, he made it clear that that wouldn’t be a good person to be friends with,” wrote Kutcher.
Masterson has been an “exceptional older brother figure” to her, said Kunis in her letter, reported The Hollywood Reporter.
“His dedication to avoiding all substances has inspired not only me, but also countless others in our circle,” she wrote.
“Danny’s steadfastness in promoting a drug-free lifestyle has been a guiding light in my journey through the entertainment world, and has helped me prioritise my well-being and focus on making responsible choices.”
In May, Masterson was convicted on two counts of rape following a retrial. An initial trial on three counts deadlocked.
Before his sentencing, several of Masterson’s That ’70s Show co-stars, including Kurtwood Smith, Debra Rupp and David Trainer, also wrote letters to testify Masterson’s character.
Masterson’s case drew attention partly because he met the women through the Church of Scientology. His accusers said that the organisation discouraged them from contacting law enforcement.
The women said Masterson drugged and raped them in separate incidents between 2001 and 2003 at his house in the Hollywood Hills.
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