Ashton Kutcher has stepped down as Chairman of the Board of Thorn, a group that fights child sex abuse that he co-founded over a decade ago with then-wife Demi Moore.
His letter of resignation reads in part, “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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Kutcher goes on to explain his reasoning as follows: “I cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve.”
The error in judgment to which he refers is a letter to a judge Kutcher wrote in support of now-convicted rapist and his former That ’70s Show co-star Danny Masterson. Masterson was recently sentenced to 30 years for his crimes.
Kutcher’s wife Mila Kunis, also a ’70s Show alum, wrote her own such letter for Masterson. Time magazine reported that she, too, has resigned her role as an observer to the board. The duo had previously apologized for writing the letters of support.
Below is the entirety of Kutcher’s letter, which was just posted online by Thorn.
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. I cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve.
As you know, I have worked for 15 years to fight for people who are sexually exploited. 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. This is precisely what we have all worked to reverse over the last decade.
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. 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.
Thorn’s leadership posted its own statement along with the letter. Here is an excerpt:
We would not be the Thorn that we are today without Ashton’s contributions. He has played a significant role in the impact we have made, and we are grateful for his participation over the last 15 years.
“For the past decade I have worked with Ashton on child protection issues,” said Thorn board member Ernie Allen. “He has been a strong champion for children and worked tirelessly to protect them from sexual abuse. Through the creation of the DNA Foundation that later became Thorn, he helped build the organization into a major global resource for law enforcement, tech companies and others in the fight against child sexual exploitation. He made a difference.”
“Ashton founded Thorn over a decade ago with one goal in mind: to protect children from sexual abuse and give them the childhood they deserve,” said Suzanne Bell, Board Member at Thorn. “His unwavering dedication and commitment to Thorn throughout its journey have enabled the organization to become the leader that it is in the child safety ecosystem. It has been my privilege to join him on this mission.”
While the last few days have challenged us all in new ways, we remain steadfast in our mission, mindful of the trust our community places in us, and confident in our collective dedication to the children we serve.
We humbly ask for the continued support of our community, partners, and supporters as we continue our commitment to building a world where every child can be safe, curious, and happy.
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