Ashton Kutcher Resigns From Board Chair of Anti-Child Sex Abuse Org After Backlash From Supporting Danny Masterson

Kutcher founded the organization in 2009 with his ex-wife Demi Moore.

(Photo by Jerod Harris / Getty Images)

Ashton Kutcher has given up his spot as chairman of the board of Thorn, an anti-child sex abuse organization he founded with his ex-wife Demi Moore in 2009. 

On Friday, TIME reported that Kutcher and his current wife, Mila Kunis, who served as an observer, will resign from the company. Their resignation arrives after the couple received criticism for writing letters of support for Danny Masterson, who was sentenced to 30 years in jail for raping two women.

"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," Kutcher wrote in a letter to the board at Thorn, which was shared exclusively with TIME.

"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 added. "I cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve."

He continued, "The mission must always be the priority and 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."

The leadership over at Thorn shared a letter as well that praised Kutcher for creating the company and his other meaningful contributions.

"We would not be the Thorn that we are today without Ashton’s contributions. He has played a significant role in the impact we have made, and we are grateful for his participation over the last 15 years."

Thorn board member Ernie Allen said in statement, "He has been a strong champion for children and worked tirelessly to protect them from sexual abuse. Through the creation of the DNA Foundation that later became Thorn, he helped build the organization into a major global resource for law enforcement, tech companies and others in the fight against child sexual exploitation. He made a difference."

"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."

During Danny Masterson's rape trial, Kutcher, Kunis, and other cast members of That '70s Show wrote character letters asking the judge in his case to give him leniency. The letters weren't enough, as Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life.

Following the release of the letters, Kutcher was heavily criticized for participating as he's supported child sex trafficking victims through his organization. Kutcher and his wife shared a video apologizing for the letters, but that was also criticized by many who felt they weren't taking full accountability for their actions.

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