Warning: This story contains disturbing details
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis apologized Saturday for character letters the celebrity couple wrote on behalf of fellow That ’70s Show actor Danny Masterson before he was sentenced for rape this week.
A judge in Los Angeles on Thursday sentenced Masterson to 30 years to life in prison for the rapes of two women in 2003.
In a video posted on Instagram, Kutcher and Kunis said they were sorry for the pain they may have caused with the letters, which were made public Friday.
Kutcher said the letters that asked for leniency “were intended for the judge to read and not to undermine the testimony 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.”
Kutcher said Masterson’s family approached them after the actor was convicted in the rapes in May and asked them to write character letters describing “the person that we knew for 25 years.” The letters were posted online by The Hollywood Reporter and other digital publications.
Masterson starred with Kutcher and Kunis in That ’70s Show from 1998 until 2006.
He had reunited with Kutcher on the 2016 Netflix comedy The Ranch, but was written off the show when the Los Angeles Police Department investigation was revealed the following year.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo handed down the sentence to Masterson, 47, after hearing statements from the women, and pleas for fairness from defence attorneys.
WATCH | Masterson sentenced to 30 years to life:
Kutcher described Masterson as a man who treated people “with decency, equality, and generosity,” he wrote in his letter dated July 27, 2023.
Kunis in her letter to Olmedo called Masterson “an outstanding role model and friend” and an “exceptional older brother figure.”
Both rapes took place in Masterson’s Hollywood-area home in 2003 when he was at the height of his fame on the Fox network sitcom. The victims testified that Masterson drugged them before violently raping them.
Kunis said in the apology video that their letters did not mean to undermine the testimony of victims.
“Our heart goes out to every single person who’s ever been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or rape,” she said.
Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. If you’re in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.