Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis showed their loyalty to actor Danny Masterson — the newly convicted rapist who happens to be their longtime friend — by writing letters of support for him ahead of his sentencing Thursday to 30 years to life in prison.
“Good Morning America” reported that the couple were among more than 50 people who provided statements to the court about Masterson, their co-star from “That 70s Show.” The actor was convicted in May on two counts of rape, stemming from attacks that occurred in his Hollywood-area home in the early 2000s.
Journalist Tony Ortega, who reports on the alleged abuses by Church of Scientology members such as Masterson, shared the full text of Kutcher and Kunis’ letters in his newsletter. Kutcher said that Masterson has always been “consistently excellent” as a “role model,” while Kunis said she could “wholeheartedly” vouch for the actor’s “exceptional character.”
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis said recently they do not bathe themselves or their kids too often.(Jesse Grant/Getty Images)
In his letter, Kutcher said he has been friends with Masterson for 25 years, since they met on the set of “That ’70s Show,’ which ran from 1998 to 2006. He credited Masterson for convincing him to steer clear of the “typical Hollywood life of drugs.” He also said Masterson “taught me about being direct and confronting issues in life and relationships head-on, resolving them, and moving forward.”
As for Kunis, she said she has only ever sensed Masterson’s “innate goodness and genuine nature” since meeting him on “That ’70s Show.” She said Masterson, who is married to actor Bijou Phillips and is the father of a 9-year-old daughter, “has consistently displayed a profound sense of responsibility and care for those around him.” She furthermore praised her friend as an “extraordinary” husband and father.
Both Kutcher and Kunis avoided offering an opinion on the jury’s verdict, which led to Masterson’s life sentence Thursday. The couple have long positioned themselves as champions for women, children and for fighting against sexual abuse and sex trafficking.
Kutcher said he was aware that his friend had been found guilty of “two counts of rape by force” and that the victims “have a great desire for justice.” He said he hoped that his testament to Masterson’s “character” would be taken into consideration for sentencing.
“I do not believe he is an ongoing harm to society and having his daughter raised without a present father would (be) a tertiary injustice in and of itself,” Kutcher wrote.
Clockwise from left: Topher Grace, Wilmer Valderrama, Mila Kunis. Ashton Kutcher, Laura Prepon, and Danny Masterson. Exclusively for use in advertising and promotion relating to television exhibition through Fox Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. ©1998 Fox Broadcasting Company CR: Michael Lavine/Fox
Unfortunately for Masterson, Kutcher and Kunis’ words didn’t have much impact on Los Angeles Superior Court judge Charlaine F. Olmedo. She said to Masterson at his sentencing Thursday: “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 today were criminal, and that’s why you are here.”
That Kutcher and Kunis wrote letters of support for Masterson should not come as a surprise, given that the pair have stood by him throughout his legal troubles, at least privately. They faced criticism in 2019 after Ortega published a report that revealed that the couple remained friends with him and joined him at a Scientology wedding in Napa Valley. At that time, Masterson was under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department on suspicion of raping multiple women who, like Masterson, were members of the the Church of Scientology.
— Tony Ortega (@TonyOrtega94) January 29, 2019
More recently, Kutcher publicly showed his support for Masterson when he told Esquire in February that he hoped Masterson would be “found innocent of the charges brought against him,” according to the Daily Mail. Kutcher, who also co-starred with Masterson in the Netflix series “The Ranch,” was speaking ahead of the actor’s second trial on rape charges. Masterson’s first trial ended in a hung jury.
Esquire noted that Kutcher’s hope for Masterson didn’t equate to wanting “his friend to get off the hook,” the Daily mail said. Kutcher admitted that he didn’t really know what happened between Masterson and his alleged victims.
“Ultimately, I can’t know,” Kutcher told Esquire. “I’m not the judge. I’m not the jury. I’m not the DA. I’m not the victim. And I’m not the accused. And so, in that case, I don’t have — I just don’t know.”