This article discusses sexual assault.
Last week, Danny Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for raping two women in the early 2000s.
In May, Danny was found guilty of drugging the women before raping them at the height of his That '70s Show fame.
And just days after his sentencing, it was revealed that the judge involved in the case had received over 50 letters asking for leniency. Two of these letters came from Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, and they surfaced online Friday.
Ashton and Mila got married in 2015 after meeting on That '70s Show in 2000, where they also formed a close friendship with Danny.
In his letter, Ashton called his former costar a "role model" and said that he does not believe that his longtime friend "is an ongoing harm to society."
Ultimately asking the judge to consider a lesser sentence for Danny, Ashton said that the prospect of Danny's daughter being "raised without a present father would [be] a tertiary injustice in and of itself."
Meanwhile, Mila wrote, "I wholeheartedly vouch for Danny Masterson’s exceptional character and the tremendous positive influence he has had on me and the people around him." She added, "His dedication to leading a drug-free life and the genuine care he extends to others make him an outstanding role model and friend.”
Needless to say, fans were horrified and disappointed by Ashton and Mila's quiet support for a convicted rapist. Twitter erupted as the couple were called out for their letters, with many accusing them of being hypocrites, considering that Ashton has a foundation that fights to protect children from trafficking and sexual abuse.
Hours after the backlash began, Ashton posted to his Instagram account a video of himself and Mila apologizing. In the clip, the pair appeared somber as they insisted that they truly "support victims."
Ashton said that Danny's family asked them to write the letters, which were meant to "represent the person that we knew for 25 years." He also noted 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."
Mila added that their hearts go out "to every single person who's ever been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or rape."
But the video just added fuel to the fire, and Ashton ended up turning off comments on the post after he and Mila were accused of being "insincere" and "only sorry because they got caught."
The whole situation inspired some to look back at Ashton's and Mila's careers, and many have been left uncomfortable by what has been unearthed.
In case you didn't know, last year Mila confirmed that she had lied about her age to secure the role of Jackie on That '70s Show. Mila was just 14 years old at the time but told the show's creators that she was 18 so she could audition.
“It was in the heyday of older kids playing younger kids, and I was actually of the age of the character,” Mila told Vanity Fair, going on to reveal that she did come clean before she was formally offered the role.
"I went to what was then a producer’s network call; you have to sign a contract before you get the job, and in my contract, I had to put an asterisk for ‘studio teacher,'” she explained. “They were like, ‘What do you mean?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, PS, I’m 14.’ But at that point, if you talk to the creators, they were like, ‘We loved you at that point, so what did we care?'”
By the time filming rolled around, all of the cast and crew were aware that Mila was only 14 years old — and a series of newly resurfaced clips have called into question the way she was treated in spite of this.
Twitter user @koliikat created a thread of all of the most questionable moments between Mila and her That '70s Show costars, including Ashton, who played her onscreen boyfriend while five years her senior.
In a joint 2002 appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Mila reveals that Danny had bet Ashton about French-kissing her during their first onscreen kiss when she was a minor.
"She was 14 when we started the show," Ashton begins the interview. "I was like 19, and they're like, 'Alright, you guys are going to be making out in this scene."
Mila then confirms that she hadn't kissed a boy before, making Ashton her "first kiss ever," and then says, "Tell them about the bet you made with Danny about our first kiss."
As Ashton tries to insist that it wasn't their first kiss, Mila interrupts and tells Rosie, "I've never kissed a guy, Ashton's attractive, and I was a 14-year-old little girl, and I was extremely scared for my life. He was very nice about it; he was like, 'No, don't worry.'"
She reveals, "Then Danny goes to him, 'Dude, I'll give you $10 if you French-kiss her."
As Ashton argues that he did French-kiss her and insists that it was actually a $20 bet, Mila says that she "never let him" put his tongue in her mouth. She adds, "I think he tried, but I kept my mouth so tight."
@koliikat / NBC / Via Twitter: @koliikat
Changing the story, Ashton then tries to claim that Mila was actually 15 at this point, insisting, "You had turned 15 by then! It's a big difference; that one year makes the whole world change."
In another clip, which was a promo for the show, Mila begins the video before Ashton reveals that she is actually sitting on his lap. He then says that the only reason he agreed to do the promo is "because Josh told me Mila would sit on my lap if I did."
During one more cast TV appearance, Ashton introduces an uncomfortable-looking Mila to the audience by saying, "Not only do I get to work with our beautiful, beautiful, sexy, hot next guest on That '70s Show, but I'm lucky enough to play her boyfriend, so I get to make out with her."
@koliikat / VH1 / Via Twitter: @koliikat
But the buck doesn't stop with Ashton. As Mila complains about her dated wardrobe in a behind-the-scenes video for the series, Danny — who was in his 20s at the time — tells the teen, "But you look really hot in it."
And in what appears to be a blooper from filming, Wilmer Valderrama enters a scene with both Mila's and Danny's characters and makes an incredibly crude joke. Referring to Mila, he says to Danny, "Now, should I start and you watch... What's going on here? What do you want to do?"
@koliikat / Star / Via Twitter: @koliikat
Finally, in an interview from when Mila was 19 years old, she claims that the That '70s Show's writers had turned Jackie into a "whore," and that she'd had to kiss almost every one of her male costars.
Cutting off the interviewer as he says that he's "worried" about her on the series, Mila says, "Because I'm the whore in the show? I know, it's upsetting to my parents as well."
"I'm the only one who has kissed every single guy in the show except Topher," she goes on. "I've kissed the Mastersons, I've kissed everybody."
"It's so wrong, isn't it?" the host replies. Mila answers: "It is, it's quite wrong."
Referencing the writers, she adds, "I don't know what they're thinking; I have no choice but to kiss just every man on the show."
Twitter users have also shared several videos of the That '70s Show cast mentioning how "young" Mila is, confirming that there was no ambiguity about her age on set. Responding to the clips, one person wrote, "The way they treated her on that show makes me so upset."
"It actually isn't talked about enough that Mila was underaged on 'That 70s Show' and it was treated as very casual when that was revealed," another wrote.
"mila absolutely shouldn’t have supported a rapist but she’s also so clearly another victim of predatory behaviour and it’s actually sick people thought this was ever funny or cute," one more wrote in response to the clips.
@shaunasadecki / NBC / Via Twitter: @shaunasadecki
In addition to the way that Mila was treated on That '70s Show, some of Ashton's other work has come under the spotlight — including a 2003 episode of his TV show Punk'd, which featured Hilary Duff.
In a clip that has since gone viral on Twitter, Ashton — who was 25 years old at the time — mentions that Hilary is just 15 and says to the camera, "She's one of the girls that we're all waiting for to turn 18, along with the Olsen twins."
@princess_antifa / MTV / Via Twitter: @princess_antifa
Neither Ashton nor Mila has responded to any of the resurfaced clips or to the backlash over their apology video.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, which routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. You can also search for your local center here.
Ashton Kutcher Turned Off The Comments Under His And Mila Kunis’s “Apology” Video After They Were Slammed For Writing Glowing Character Letters On Behalf Of Danny MastersonLeyla Mohammed · Sept. 11, 2023
People Are Reacting To An Unearthed Clip Of Ashton Kutcher Talking About "Waiting For" Hilary Duff To Turn 18Larry Fitzmaurice · Sept. 10, 2023
People Are Disowning Ashton Kutcher And Mila Kunis After They Wrote Letters Supporting Danny Masterson In His Rape CaseChelsea Stewart · Sept. 9, 2023