Ashton Kutcher resigns as board chair of his nonprofit following Danny Masterson letter

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Ashton Kutcher has resigned as chairman of the board for Thorn, an anti-child sex abuse organization he co-founded, the nonprofit announced Sept. 15.

The decision comes on the heels of the apologies issued by him and his wife, Mila Kunis, following the release of character letters written in support of actor and "That '70s Show" co-star Danny Masterson, who was convicted of rape earlier this year and sentenced this month to 30 years to life in prison.

“As you know, I have worked for 15 years to fight for people who are sexually exploited,” Kutcher wrote in a letter addressed to the board on Sept. 14 that has been shared on the Thorn website. “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. This is precisely what we have all worked to reverse over the last decade.”

NBC News has reached out to Kutcher's rep.

According to Thorn, Kutcher’s resignation is effective immediately.

“This decision is rooted in the recognition of recent events and ensuring Thorn remains focused on its mission: to build technology to defend children from sexual abuse,” the organization said in its Sept. 15 announcement.

“We would not be the Thorn that we are today without Ashton’s contributions. He has played a significant role in the impact we have made, and we are grateful for his participation over the last 15 years,” the organization also said.

Thorn was founded in 2012 by Kutcher and his then-wife, Demi Moore.

Kutcher and Kunis faced backlash earlier this month after their letters vouching for Masterson's character were released.

On Sept. 7, Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for the rape of two women.

Kutcher, 45, posted an Instagram video on Sept. 9 with his wife, Kunis, 40, in which they acknowledged the "pain that has been caused by the character letters."

"We support victims," Kunis said. "We have done this historically through our work and will continue to do so in the future."

Kutcher explained that a couple of months ago, Masterson's family asked them to write the character letters "to represent the person that we knew for 25 years" for the judge to consider during the sentencing.

Other people who wrote character letters for Masterson include his wife, Bijou Phillips, “That ’70s Show” stars Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith, and actors Giovanni and Marissa Ribisi.

"The letters were not written to question the legitimacy of the judicial system or the validity of the jury's ruling," Kunis said.

"They were intended for the judge to read," Kutcher continued. "And not to undermine the testimony of the victims or re-traumatize them in any way. We never want to do that. And we're sorry if that has taken place."

In May, Masterson, 47, was convicted of raping two women identified as Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2. No verdict was reached about the third accuser, Jane Doe #3, who was one of Masterson's former girlfriends.

The letters from Masterson's former co-stars were released Sept. 8, one day after the actor was sentenced and after three women gave statements detailing their experience being drugged and raped by Masterson.

Both Kunis and Kutcher wrote in their character letters that Masterson kept them away from drugs in Hollywood during their younger days on the popular sitcom.

“As a role model, Danny has consistently been an excellent one,” Kutcher wrote. “I attribute not falling into the typical Hollywood life of drugs directly to Danny.”

They went on to say that Masterson has now become an "extraordinary" family man.

“Danny’s role as a husband and father to his daughter has been nothing short of extraordinary,” Kunis wrote, calling his interactions with his daughter “heartwarming and enlightening.”

“He prioritizes his family, education, and happiness above all else, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to being a loving and responsible parent,” Kunis added. “As a father, he leads by example, instilling in her values that reflect integrity, compassion, and respect for others.”

Kunis said that she could “wholeheartedly vouch for Danny Masterson’s exceptional character and the tremendous positive influence he has had on me and the people around him.”

According to a statement to NBC News on Sept. 8, Masterson's legal team plans to appeal, maintaining the actor's innocence.

“Mr. Masterson did not commit the crimes for which he has been convicted and we and the appellate lawyers — the best and the brightest in the country — are confident that these convictions will be overturned,” said Shawn Holley, one of Masterson’s lawyers.

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