The actor founded the organization with former wife Demi Moore.
Mila Kunis, who has served as an observer on the organization’s board, is also stepping down.
“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 in a Sept. 14 letter to Thorn’s board, which was shared exclusively with TIME.
“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. “I cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve.”
The actor also apologized to victims of sexual assault and other advocates for letting them down. “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.”
Mila Kunis, Ashton, and other members of the cast of “That ’70s Show” and “The Ranch” were among those that sent in letters of support for Masterson during the sentence phase of his trial. Ashton has been under fire for some of his comments that have resurfaced about Hilary Duff, and some have questioned the murder of one of his former dates as well.
Back in May, Masterson was convicted of three counts of forcible rape for separate assaults on three women between 2001 and 2003. This month, he was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.
Kutcher lauded his costar and friend “an extraordinarily honest and intentional human being,” who had helped keep him away from drugs and “always treated people with decency, equality, and generosity.” The missives didn’t seem to make much difference; Masterson got 30 years to life.
After the letters went public, the two were met with much scrutiny, specifically Kutcher for his work on Thorn, an organization that uses technology to combat child sexual exploitation, and about the need for greater attention to the issue.
Back in 2022, the actor raised more than one million dollars for his company by running the New York City marathon.
“I put that kid on the other side of the finish line,” he told People. “I know she’s out there and I want her to know that somebody’s coming for her.”
“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,” says the organization in a statement accepting Kutcher’s resignation while also seeking its sponsors’ and partners’ continued support. “We would not be the Thorn that we are today without Ashton’s contributions.”