On Friday, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis faced fierce backlash when their letters of support for convicted rapist Danny Masterson leaked online.
In case you didn’t know, the trio worked together on That ‘70s Show in the early 2000s; the same time period as when Danny drugged two women before raping them.
He was found guilty of the attacks in May of this year, and last week he was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison. Just days later, it was revealed that the judge had received more than 50 letters requesting leniency in the sentencing.
Two of those letters were written by Mila and Ashton, who married in 2015 and have remained close friends with Danny over the years.
Ashton asked the judge to consider a lesser sentence for his former costar, who he called a “role model.” He also said that he doesn’t believe his friend “is an ongoing harm to society,” and argued that it would be a “tertiary injustice” for Danny’s daughter to be “raised without a present father.”
In Mila’s letter, she said that she can “wholeheartedly vouch for Danny Masterson’s exceptional character and the tremendous positive influence he has had on me and the people around him.” Elsewhere, she praised his “dedication to leading a drug-free life” and branded the convicted rapist “an outstanding role model and friend.”
Needless to say, people have been left horrified by Mila and Ashton’s quiet support for Danny after he’d been found guilty of the crimes.
In reaction to the scrutiny, the couple uploaded an apology video to Ashton’s Instagram account. However, this only ended up fueling the backlash as people claimed that it was “insincere.”
In the video, the two actors appear somber and insist that they “support victims” but wrote the letters to “represent the person that we knew for 25 years” after Danny’s family asked them to.
Ashton adds that the letters "were intended for the judge to read and not to undermine the testimony of the victims or retraumatize them in any way."
The social media post was flooded with comments from disappointed followers who argued that there is no justification for supporting a rapist, no matter how good a friend he has been to Mila and Ashton personally.
Other celebrities also spoke out against Ashton and Mila’s actions, including Christina Ricci and Kathy Griffin. Posting on her Instagram story, Christina said: “I’ve known lots of ‘awesome guys’ who were lovely to me who have been proven to be abusers privately.”
Meanwhile, Kathy recalled being “shunned” by her family after she repeatedly called the police on her own brother after learning that he was a pedophile.
“I don’t want to hear about Ashton and Mila and Giovanni Ribisi and people that feel like they had to stick up for Danny Masterson because he was their bro, he was their buddy,” she said in an emotional TikTok video. “This was my own brother.”
TikTok @KathyGriffin / Via tiktok.com
Ashton turned off comments on his and Mila’s apology video amid the mounting backlash, and neither star has publicly commented any further on the situation.
But on Tuesday, Ashton shocked fans when he sent out a text to his dedicated mailing list, which was first set up in January 2019. While people are able to sign up to be a part of the star’s text community and receive messages from him, they aren’t able to send replies to him personally.
I forgot I was on ashton kutcher’s text newslettter. It’s so over for him pic.twitter.com/n5N3pyfeRD
— brigid 🥀 (@brighteryork) September 12, 2023
Twitter @brighteryork / Via Twitter: @brighteryork
In his first message to his community since Jul. 28, Ashton wrote: “A friend said something me today: We have one heart we can fill in with hatred or love. I chose love.”
He reiterated in a second message: “I chose love.”
And people couldn’t be more suspicious of the timing of this message, with many interpreting it to be a not-so-subtle response to the criticism that Ashton has faced for supporting Danny.
Does anyone remember when Ashton Kutcher “leaked” his phone number and you could get automated text messages from him? Well I forgot I did that and today I decided to choose violence pic.twitter.com/0aNVIQHHI6
— 🦋 Andrea 🦋 (@andialvx) September 12, 2023
Twitter @andialvx / Via Twitter: @andialvx
Reacting to the text on a Reddit forum, one person asked: “Who’s gonna tell him that someone who chooses to fill their heart with love isn’t gonna side with a literal rapist? That is the opposite of picking love. That’s siding with violence and hatred.”
“I choose love too, I choose love and respect I feel for the victims, so fcuk Ashton and all the likes of him,” another wrote.
One more commented: “What about choosing compassion or decency? Were they not an option?” to which another user replied: “clearly not. it feels like he’s lecturing us for something HE did.”
“Another flippant statement from the guy who supports a serial rapist,” someone else mused. While another pointed out: “Notice how he hasn’t used the service since the end of July.”
Kathy Griffin Revealed That She Called The Police On Her “Pedophile” Brother After Learning Of His Crimes As She Criticized Mila Kunis And Ashton Kutcher’s Support For Danny MastersonStephanie Soteriou · Sept. 12, 2023
Mila Kunis And Ashton Kutcher Are Being Called Performative And “Insincere” After Saying Their Letters Branding Danny Masterson A “Role Model” Were Just “Intended For The Judge To Read”Leyla Mohammed · Sept. 11, 2023
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People Are Disowning Ashton Kutcher And Mila Kunis After They Wrote Letters Supporting Danny Masterson In His Rape CaseChelsea Stewart · Sept. 9, 2023