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Ashton Kutcher Resigns from Thorn Amid Controversy Over Danny Masterson Support

Published on September 16th, 2023 | Updated on September 16th, 2023 | By FanFest

Ashton Kutcher Resigns from Thorn Amid Controversy Over Danny Masterson Support

Ashton Kutcher Resigns from Thorn Amid Controversy Over Danny Masterson Support

Ashton Kutcher Steps Back from Thorn’s Leadership

Ashton Kutcher has relinquished his position as chairman of the board at Thorn, a pioneering organization aimed at combating child sexual abuse online, which he co-founded with his former spouse Demi Moore in 2009. The announcement came on the heels of sharp criticisms for the actor and his wife, Mila Kunis—who was an observer on Thorn’s board—over their support letters for Danny Masterson, convicted for raping two women.

Acknowledging Mistakes: Kutcher’s Open Letter to Thorn’s Board

In a letter to Thorn’s board on September 14, shared exclusively with TIME, Kutcher expressed remorse for his conduct. “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 stated. “I cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve.”

The Apology That Fell Short: Impact on Survivors and Advocates

Kutcher further extended an apology for undermining the cause he had championed. He admitted his mistake impacted not only the survivors of sexual abuse but also dented the credibility of advocacy groups. “I am deeply sorry. I remain proud of what we have accomplished in the past decade and will continue to support Thorn’s work,” he concluded.

The Trigger: Supporting Letters for Danny Masterson

Before the legal sentencing of Danny Masterson, Kutcher, Kunis, and others from the casts of ‘That ’70s Show‘ and ‘The Ranch‘ had penned letters backing him. Masterson was convicted in May on two counts of forcible rape that took place in 2001 and 2003. Kutcher’s letter emphasized that Masterson was “an extraordinarily honest and intentional human being,” a statement that did not sit well with the public, leading to heightened scrutiny and backlash.

Public Outcry and Financial Contributions: A Complex Picture

The controversy holds particular weight for Kutcher, given his advocacy for victims of child sexual abuse. In fact, through running the New York City Marathon in 2022, he successfully fundraised more than a million dollars for Thorn. Following the uproar, Kutcher and Kunis tried to address the situation through a video, but their apology only fueled the fire.

Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis Issue a Vidwo Public Apology for Controversial Letters Supporting Danny Masterson

The Evolution and Impact of Thorn

Initially christened DNA (Demi and Ashton), the organization rebranded itself as Thorn in 2012. Its mission revolves around leveraging technology to eliminate Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) from the internet. It has developed multiple tools aiding law enforcement agencies and tech companies in identifying victims and removing CSAM.

Thorn’s Official Statement: A Chapter Closes

Thorn released an official statement, acknowledging Kutcher’s resignation and his integral role in shaping the organization. “To date, Thorn has helped the tech industry remove over 2 million potential child sexual abuse files from the open web, helping to end the cycle of abuse and stop revictimization,” the organization noted, while also soliciting continued support from its sponsors and partners.

A Resignation that Raises Questions on Advocacy and Accountability

Ashton Kutcher’s resignation from Thorn underscores the intricacies of public advocacy, especially when personal relationships collide with the causes one represents. The situation reveals how a single act can cause significant setbacks in credibility and goodwill, emphasizing the importance of unwavering commitment to the causes one supports. With Kutcher stepping back, Thorn’s future endeavors to combat child abuse online will undoubtedly continue, but the episode serves as a lesson on the path of public advocacy.

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