One day after the sentencing, journalist Meghann Cuniff, who was in court covering the case, published the letters sent to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo. Along with Masterson’s wife, actress/model Bijou Phillips, married couple Kutcher and Kunis, who co-starred with Masterson in the Fox TV series from 1998 to 2006, each wrote individual pleas in support of Masterson’s character.
Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp, who played parents on the show, also sent letters as did Masterson’s brother-in-law Billy Baldwin and actor/fellow Scientologist Giovanni Ribisi.
The general theme was that Masterson could never drug anyone, let alone worse, as he has long been anti-drug. The actor, also of TV’s The Ranch, was convicted of drugging and raping two women — whom he met through the Scientology organization — at his Hollywood Hills home in 2003, during the That 70’s Show era. During the trial, the jury heard that Scientology allegedly punished the victims for coming forward.
Bijou Phillips, Masterson’s wife since 2011, called him an “extraordinary husband” and a “life-saving partner to me” as well as an “amazing father” to their 9-year-old daughter, Fianna. She wrote that “Danny has always been against drugs and helped so many friends and colleagues get sober. My husband, who never smoked a joint in his life, has strong feelings about drugs that have never wavered. He tried to shield the younger actors he worked with from such temptations and offered them advice on their careers and in their lives.”
Phillips, daughter of The Mamas & the Papas singer John Phillips and half-sister to Wilson Phillips singer Chynna and One Day at a Time actress Mackenzie, said, “We need him more than you can imagine.”
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’s letters
Masterson’s long-time co-stars and friends went to bat for him as well.
Kutcher — who submitted his letter on his legal name “Christopher A. Kutcher” — said his long-time friend, whom he considers a “brother,” is a “role model,” “extraordinarily honest” and “nothing but a positive influence” on him. Kutcher said in the 25 years they’ve known each other, Masterson has never lied to him and he credited him for helping him avoid drugs in Hollywood as a young star.
“I attribute not falling into the typical Hollywood life of drugs directly to Danny,” he wrote.
Kutcher said they’ve traveled the world together and shared “countless family moments” raising their children. He said Masterson is “among few people I would trust to be alone with my son and daughter,” Wyatt and Dimitri. He also wrote about Masterson once stepping in to stop a fight in which a male strange was yelling at his girlfriend in a pizza shop, and said Masterson raised money for firefighters after Sept. 11.
“I do not believe he is an ongoing harm to society and having his daughter raised without a present father would a tertiary injustice in and of itself,” Kutcher wrote at the end of his letter.
Kunis also worked to dispel the notion that Masterson would ever drug anyone.
“One of the most remarkable aspects of Danny’s character is his unwavering commitment to discouraging the use of drugs,” Kunis wrote. “His influence on me in this regard has been invaluable. In an industry where the pressures and temptations of substance use can be overwhelming, Danny played a pivotal role in guiding me away from such destructive paths. His dedication to avoiding all substances has inspired not only me but also countless others in our circle. 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 prioritize my well-being and focus on making responsible choices.”
Kunis also said Masterson was an “extraordinary” husband and father to his 9-year-old daughter. He “prioritizes his family, education and happiness above all else,” and had a “remarkable influence” on her life with his “innate goodness and genuine nature” as a “role model” and “older brother figure.”
She ended by writing, “I wholeheartedly vouch for Danny Masterson’s exceptional character and the tremendous positive influence he has had on me and the people around him.”
Support from Kurtwood Smith, Debra Jo Rupp, Billy Baldwin, Giovanni Ribisi and more
There are many other letters, including That ’70s Show actor Smith. He wrote, “Danny treated all women on the show with respect, not only the women in the cast, but women on the crew as well. It was my observation that he treated the woman he married in a respectful and loving way. Later, when we were working on The Ranch. I was aware that, not only were they a happy couple, but he was a wonderful father to his daughter.”
Rupp, who has gone on to co-star with Smith in That ’90s Show, wrote about how Masterson led the young actors on their show in a “pact that no one would do drugs because of the nature of our show… I remember thinking that it was such a smart thing to do and something I never would have thought of. As a result, you never saw them in the tabloids. Danny made sure of that and I was so appreciative. They all kept their word.
Ribisi, who is a Scientologist like Masterson, said he’s “always known Danny to be an ethical, honest person, who lived with the highest standards in work and family.” He also called him “a good father” and said it was important to the upbringing of his daughter to have a shorter sentence.
Baldwin, who is the actor husband of Phillips’s half-sister Chynna, said Masterson is “admired, revered and respected” by everyone in their family. “When my son was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. When Bijou required a life-saving kidney transplant, when friends have had marital problems, financial struggles, addiction issues … Danny was there,” wrote the Backdraft actor. “‘Danny got me a job.’ ‘Danny helped me get my health insurance back.’ ‘Danny let me crash at his house while I was going through a tough time.’ ‘Danny helped pay my bills and feed my children.’ Danny has always quietly been there for his family, friends, community, and even strangers with support, words of wisdom, or sage advice about life, career, relationships, and, most importantly, family and parenting. All of it without seeking any recognition or praise.”
Tony Ortega, a journalist known for his coverage of the controversial Scientology organization, has all the letters also including ones from Masterson’s siblings, The Ranch creator Jim Patterson and more.
On Thursday, Masterson was sentenced to 30 years in prison for rape. He was convicted in May, during his second trial, of being guilty of two out of three counts of forcible rape. A verdict could not be reached on the third count, that the actor had allegedly raped a longtime girlfriend in 2001.
During sentencing, the Judge Olmedo came down hard on Masterson, refusing to let his two 15 year sentences run concurrently. She told him, “Mr. Masterson, you are not the victim here. Your actions 20 years ago took away another person’s choice and voice. Your actions 20 years ago were criminal, and that’s why you are here.”