Ashton Kutcher has stepped down as chairman of the board of Thorn, the anti-child-sex-abuse organization he co-founded in 2009 with his then-wife Demi Moore.
“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,” Kutcher wrote in a Sept. 14 letter to Thorn’s board, which was obtained by Time. “I cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve.”
Kutcher’s now-wife Mila Kunis, who was an observer on the board of Thorn, will also resign from her role. The celebrity couple have received backlash for their publicized letters of support for “That 70’s Show” costar Danny Masterson, who has been convicted of raping two women.
“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 wrote.
Kunis and Kutcher previously apologized for their letters, which requested leniency from the judge who sentenced Masterson. In a video posted to Instagram on Saturday, Kutcher explained that the “character letters,” as he called them, were written at Masterson’s family’s request.
“The letters were not written to question the legitimacy of the judicial system or the validity of the jury’s ruling,” Kunis said. “We support victims.
Kutcher ended his letter to Thorn with an apology to the organization and victims of sexual abuse.
“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 wrote to the board. “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.”
Danny Masterson was sentenced last week to the maximum 30-years-to-life in prison for raping two women in 2001 and 2003.