Masterson, who was sentenced on Thursday to 30 years in prison after being convicted on May for two counts of rape, starred alongside the married couple on That ‘70s Show. The couple remained close with the actor in the years after Fox sitcom ended in 2006, with Kutcher and Masterson starring together on Netflix’s sitcom The Ranch in 2016. (Masterson was fired from the show in 2017 following the resurfacing of sexual assault allegations.)
On Friday, character letters to the judge in Masterson’s case were published, revealing that Kutcher and Kunis had asked the judge for leniency in sentencing. In their separate letters, the couple called Masterson a “role model” and great father, as well as praised him for discouraging drug use during their time on That ‘70s Show.
The backlash was swift on social media, with many people calling out Kutcher and Kunis for supporting a person convicted of rape, while proclaiming to support victims with their work. That work includes Kutcher’s anti-human trafficking organization Thorn and Kunis’ role as the producer and star of Luckiest Girl Alive, a film in which she plays a rape survivor.
Kutcher, who also starred alongside Masterson in the Netflix sitcom The Ranch, shared the video on his Instagram account, which featured him and the Ted actress.
“We are aware of the pain that has been caused by the character letters that we wrote on behalf of Danny Masterson,” Kutcher said.
“We support victims. We have done this historically through our work and will continue to do so in the future,” Kunis continued.
Kutcher said that the letters were written a “couple of months ago,” at the request of Masterson’s family, who had reached out to them to “write character letters to represent the person that we knew for 25 years, so that the judge could take that into full consideration relative to the sentencing.”
Kunis noted, “The letters were not written to question the legitimacy of the judicial system or the validity of the jury’s ruling.”
“They were intended for the judge to read and not to undermine the testimony of the victims or retraumatize them in any way. We would never want to do that. And we’re sorry if that has taken place,” said Kutcher.
Kunis concluded the video with, “Our heart goes out to every single person who’s ever been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse.”
Kutcher and Kunis are not the only stars who wrote letters on behalf of Masterson. Fellow That ‘70s Show actors Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp also praised Masterson in letters, as did Masterson’s longtime friend, actor Giovanni Ribisi, and Masterson’s brother-in-law Billy Baldwin.