Trigger warning – article contains discussion of sexual assault
Last week, That '70s Show star Danny Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison on two counts of rape. The actor was accused of raping three women between 2001 and 2003 and was convicted of two of the counts, with the jury unable to reach a verdict on the third allegation.
Following the sentencing, it came to light that Masterson's former co-stars Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis had offered character letters for him, requesting leniency from the judge ahead of his sentencing.
The letters were published by Los Angeles court reporter Meghann Cuniff and revealed that Kutcher had called Masterson a 'role model' while Kunis wrote that she could 'wholeheartedly vouch for Danny Masterson’s exceptional character' adding that he is 'an amazing friend, confidant, and, above all, an outstanding older brother figure'.
However, since the documents were made public the couple has faced backlash for their support of Masterson.
The have since released an apology video on social media, stating: "We are aware of the pain that has been caused by the character letters that we wrote on behalf of Danny Masterson.
"We support victims. We have done this historically through our work and will continue to do so in the future."
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Kutcher added that he had been asked to pen a character letter to 'represent the person that we knew for 25 years', with Kunis continuing: "The letters were not written to question the legitimacy of the judicial system, or the validity of the jury’s ruling.
"Our hearts go out to every single person who’s ever been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse or rape."
Since their apology video, Yellowjackets star Christina Ricci has spoken about the importance of supporting victims. While she didn't name anyone involved, she wrote: "So sometimes people we loved and admired do horrible things. They might not do these things to us and we only know who they were to us but that doesn’t mean they didn’t do the horrible things and to discredit the abused is a crime.
"People we know as 'awesome guys' can be predators and abusers. It’s tough to accept but we have to. If we say we support victims – women, children, men, boys – then we must be able to take this stance."
"Unfortunately I’ve known lots of 'awesome guys' who were lovely to me but have been proven to be abusers privately. I’ve also had personal experience with this. Believe victims. It’s not easy to come forward. It’s not easy to get a conviction."
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, help and support is available at Rape Crisis.
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Jadie Troy-Pryde is News Editor, covering celebrity and entertainment, royal, lifestyle and viral news. Before joining the team in 2018 as the Lifestyle and Social Media Editor, she worked at a number of women’s fashion and lifestyle titles including Grazia, Women’s Health and Stylist, and now heads the Marie Claire UK news desk.
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