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‘I cannot allow my error in…’: Ashton Kutcher resigns as Board Chair of Anti-Child-Sex-Abuse Organization amid backlash over Danny Masterson character letter

Ashton Kutcher, who co-founded Thorn, an organization dedicated to combating child sexual abuse, has resigned from his position as Chairman of the Board. This decision has caused a stir within the advocacy community, as evidenced by the letter published by TIME. The reason behind this move is the public backlash that ensued after Kutcher and his wife, Mila Kunis, expressed support for actor Danny Masterson, who was found guilty of raping two women. In a letter dated September 14th, Kutcher expressed remorse for his actions, acknowledging the pain his endorsement had inflicted on survivors of sexual assault and advocated for their rights.

Ashton Kutcher’s statement amid leaving the Board Chair of the Anti-Child-Sex-Abuse Organization

In his resignation letter shared by TIME, Kutcher admitted that victims of sexual abuse have historically been silenced by mentioning, “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.”

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According to the letter published by TIME, Ashton Kutcher made the decision to step down from his position after a period of reflection and discussions with survivors, employees, and Thorn’s leadership. He emphasized that he believed it was the responsible and necessary course of action. Kutcher acknowledged that he couldn’t allow his “error in judgment” to divert attention from Thorn’s essential mission of fighting against child sexual exploitation.

Furthermore, Kutcher extended a heartfelt apology in the letter to all victims of sexual violence and to Thorn’s dedicated team. He also expressed remorse to the broader advocacy community for his actions by mentioning, “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,” he wrote to the board.

The actor added, “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.”

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How did the entire controversy begin? 

As reported by TIME, the controversy flared up when Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and other former cast members of well-known TV shows penned letters in support of Danny Masterson during his sentencing proceedings. In his letter, Kutcher spoke highly of Masterson, describing him as an “extraordinarily honest and intentional human being” and even highlighted Masterson’s positive influence on his own life. Nevertheless, he was ultimately sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.

The criticism directed at Kutcher was especially severe, given his prominent role as an advocate against child sex trafficking. As per the TIME, he had testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2017, shedding light on the disturbing issue of online child abuse that he had encountered in his work with Thorn. Moreover, as reported by PEOPLE, he went the extra mile by raising over a million dollars for the organization through his participation in the 2022 New York City Marathon, driven by his heartfelt commitment to assisting child victims.

Furthermore, in an attempt to address the controversy, Kutcher and Kunis released a video explaining that their support for Masterson was aimed at helping a friend and not meant to discredit or retraumatize rape victims, as reported by TIMES. However, their apology appeared inadequate to many, with one victim expressing disappointment and calling for “radical accountability.”

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