The sentence of 30 years to life in prison was delivered by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo. Prior to the charges and the ensuing trials that led to his conviction, Kunis and Kutcher, now a married couple since starring on the sitcom together, had spoken highly of the now disgraced actor.
The couple’s letters were leaked online, and first brought to the masses on X via one of Masterson’s survivors. A woman named Niesha Trout claimed that the couple sent the letters to the judge asking her for leniency on his sentencing. Trout was previously identified as an anonymous Jane Doe in reports on the case.
The letters will be leaked soon, but I want you all to know that post Danny Masterson's conviction & after they read all of the gruesome sworn-under-oath testimony of 5 of Danny's victims, Ashton Kutcher & Mila Kunis submitted letters to the judge asking her for leniency on Danny
— Niesha Trout (@nieshatrout) September 8, 2023
The news of the leaked letters came as a shock to much of the public, who now recognize Kutcher for his longtime advocacy for victims of human trafficking. Now, some online sleuths accuse the actor of false advocacy and actually doing more harm than good.
I thought Ashton Kutcher had a charity that fought against exactly this sort of thing!?
— Dhanum K. Nursigadoo (@_dhanum) September 8, 2023
The couple were among 50 individuals who allegedly sent letters to the judge regarding Masterson’s sentencing. Kutcher’s letter recounted their 25 year friendship, and stated that Masterson’s fatherhood is the primary reason why he did not deserve jail time. “I do not believe he is an ongoing harm to society and having his daughter raised without a present father would [be] a tertiary injustice in and of itself,” the actor wrote.
Kunis’ letter additionally refers to Masterson’s “exceptional character.”
The letters were first obtained and published by Meghann Cuniff.
Social Media Reactions
Fans of the actors, “That 70s Show”, and spectators alike are condemning Kunis and Kutcher’s decisions to send the letters. As active activists for feminism and the Time’s Up movement, coupled with Kutcher’s human trafficking advocacy, their blatant defense of a convicted rapist simply because of a personal friendship came as a disappointment.
Letters in support of a rapist??? Oh they should’ve disposed of those letters. I get that’s your friend, but sometimes you just really don’t know who your friends are behind closed doors…
— steven ❀ (@arianaunext) September 8, 2023
Another of Kutcher’s defense points was that Masterson’s daughter Fianna would have to “read about this” one day. Now, X users are pointing out that Kutcher’s daughter will have to read that her father once defended a convicted rapist.
and now YOUR kids can read about how you defended a r……. well done. pic.twitter.com/eozW989Gaw
— 𝐒𝐮𝐯𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐚🕊️❥𝕾𝖙𝖆𝖓✰ᵇᵘⁿⁿʸ✰ (@Suvarna_17) September 8, 2023
Others expressed that they felt the letters displayed a typical defense tactic used to defend rapists–that solely because they have friends or loved ones, it is impossible for them to commit such a crime.
“he was so nice to me, he can’t possibly be a bad person”
— ガブリエル (@gabiu_x) September 8, 2023
Kunis tweeted a vague message that some felt referred to the situation.
We can be changed by what happens to us. But we refuse to be reduced by it. There is no doubt that uncertainty, challenges, and obstacles can change our lives, but we must not allow ourselves to be manipulated by them. Have the courage to follow your own intuition.
— Mila (@MilaKunisv) September 7, 2023
Neither Kunis nor Kutcher have directly spoken on the leaked letters at this time. The other letter writers remain anonymous, and it remains unclear whether they were also associated with “That 70s Show”. Masterson’s two other survivors are yet to comment.