Ashton Kutcher Exits Anti-Sex Abuse Org Board, Citing Danny Masterson Character Letter as an 'Error in Judgment'

Kutcher apologized for writing the letter in support of Masterson, admitting that it was "yet another painful instance of questioning victims who are brave enough to share their experiences"

RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Ashton Kutcher is seen at
RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Ashton Kutcher is seen at 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' on August 11, 2022

Ashton Kutcher is stepping down from the board of the anti-sex abuse organization he co-founded in 2009 with ex-wife Demi Moore.

Kutcher, 45, announced the decision to resign as chairman of the board of Thorn on Thursday amid backlash for writing a character letter in support of Danny Masterson, who was sentenced 30 years in prison in his rape trial last week.

"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," Kutcher shared a letter to Thorn's board, which was published on the organization’s website on Friday.

"After my wife and I spent several days of listening, personal reflection, learning, and conversations with survivors and the employees and leadership at Thorn, I have determined the responsible thing for me to do is resign as Chairman of the Board, effectively immediately,” he wrote. “I cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve."

<p>Kevin Mazur/WireImage</p> Ahston Kutcher and Danny Masterson attend the 2017 CMT Music Awards on June 7, 2017

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Ahston Kutcher and Danny Masterson attend the 2017 CMT Music Awards on June 7, 2017

Related: Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis Apologize for Any 'Pain' Caused by Their Letters of Support for Danny Masterson

Kutcher went on to apologize for his actions and vowed to continue to support the organization’s work.

"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 shared. "And to the broader advocacy community, I am deeply sorry.”

He added: “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."

The organization also shared in a statement, “Today we are sharing that Ashton Kutcher, our co-founder, will be resigning from his role as Board Chair at Thorn, effective immediately. This decision is rooted in the recognition of recent events and ensuring Thorn remains focused on its mission: to build technology to defend children from sexual abuse.”

The decision to resign comes after Kutcher and his wife Mila Kunis addressed their controversial letters of support for their That '70s Show costar on Saturday.

<p>John Shearer/Getty; David Livingston/Getty</p> Danny Masterson, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis

John Shearer/Getty; David Livingston/Getty

Danny Masterson, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis

Related: Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis Among 'That '70s Show' Stars Who Wrote Letters in Support of Danny Masterson Before Sentencing

“We are aware of the pain that has been caused by the character letters that we wrote on behalf of Danny Masterson,” Kutcher said in a video posted on his Instagram alongside his wife Kunis, who said that they “support victims and will continue to do so in the future.”

“A couple months ago Danny’s family reached out to us and they asked us 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,” he continued.

“The letters were not written to question the legitimacy of the judicial system or the validity of the jury’s ruling,” Kunis, 40, added.

Kunis concluded the video by saying, “Our heart goes out to every single person who’s ever been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse or rape.”

Related: Ashton Kutcher Wants 'That '70s Show' Costar Danny Masterson to Be 'Innocent' in Ongoing Rape Trial

In the letters of support obtained by PEOPLE last Friday, Kutcher called Masterson, 47, a "role model" who he attributed to helping him not fall “into the typical Hollywood life of drugs.”

He also recalled an incident from a pizza parlor where he said Masterson stepped in to help a stranger who was being "berated" by her boyfriend, and noted that Masterson “always treated people with decency, equality, and generosity."

Meanwhile, Kunis named Masterson as someone with "exceptional character” in her own letter and said she “could sense his innate goodness and genuine nature" while working with him on That '70s Show.

"Throughout our time together, Danny has proven to be an amazing friend, confidant, and, above all, an outstanding older brother figure to me. His caring nature and ability to offer guidance have been instrumental in my growth both personally and professionally," she wrote.

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After the letters were released, Kutcher and Kunis received criticism online for vouching for Masterson, who was found guilty on two counts of rape in May, despite pleading not guilty.

That '70s Show and That '90s Show stars Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp also sent in letters defending Masterson’s character alongside, Ethan Suplee, Eric Balfour, William Baldwin, Giovanni Ribisi, Marissa Ribisi, Jonathan Tucker and Masterson's siblings, Jordan, Christopher, Will and Alanna. The contents of the letters were first reported by Good Morning America.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

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