Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis wrote support letters for Danny Masterson at rape sentencing
The former 'That '70s Show' stars were joined by the actor and actress who played Red and Kitty Forman. Actor Billy Baldwin also wrote a letter, as did Giovanni Ribisi.
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are among the 50 people who wrote letters to the judge who sentenced Danny Masterson to 30 years to life in prison Thursday for raping two women in 2003.
Kutcher called his former That ‘70s Show co-star a “role model” and “a person that is consistently there for you when you need him.”
“As a friend, Danny has been nothing but a positive influence on me. He’s an extraordinarily honest and intentional human being,” Kutcher wrote.
“Over 25 year relationship I don’t ever recall him lying to me. He’s taught me about being direct and confronting issues in life and relationships head-on, resolving them, and moving forward,” Kutcher continued.
Kunis, who is Kutcher’s wife and former That ’70s Show co-star, called Masterson “an amazing friend, confidant, and, above all, an outstanding older brother figure to me.”
“Danny Masterson’s warmth, humor, and positive outlook on life have been a driving force in shaping my character and the way I approach life’s challenges,” Kunis wrote. “His unwavering commitment to being an exceptional older brother figure to me has had a transformative impact on my life, instilling in me a sense of self-belief and encouraging me to aim for greatness, but all while maintaining a sense of humility.”
Actress Debra Jo Rupp and actor Kurtwood Smith, who played Kitty and Red Forman on That ‘70s Show, also wrote letters, as did actor Giovanni Ribisi.
Ribisi is a member of the Church of Scientology, as is Masterson. Scientology was a big part of Masterson’s trials because his victims are former members who said the Church enabled Masterson and harassed them for reporting his crimes.
Masterson’s lawyers submitted the letters with their recommendation that Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo sentence Masterson to concurrent sentences for each rape conviction, which would make him eligible for parole in 15 years instead of 30. The judge declined and made it clear she believes Masterson is guilty.
“Mr. Masterson, you are not the victim here. Your actions 20 years ago took away another person’s choice and voice. Your actions 20 years ago were criminal, and that’s why you are here,” Judge Olmedo said.
The women Masterson was convicted of raping also spoke, with one telling him, “You lived your life behind a mask, as two people. But the real one sits here now. … You are pathetic, disturbed and extremely violent, and the world is safer with you in prison.”
She also said, “When you raped me, you stole from me. That is what rape is: A theft of the spirit.”
Judge Olmedo briefly referenced Masterson’s support letters in court on Thursday.
In addition to Ribisi and the That ‘70s Show stars, the writers include actor William “Billy” Baldwin, who is married to Masterson’s wife’s half-sister, Chynna Phillips, who is the daughter of John Phillips and of the Mamas & the Papas band members John and Michelle Phillips.
He told Olmedo he’s known Bijou since she was 10 and “in many ways, I am a father figure to her” and Masterson enjoys a similar relationship with his siblings.
“Additionally, as I’ve also referenced, I have worked in the entertainment industry for 35 years and I can say unequivocally that I have never known anyone that is more beloved than Danny Masterson,” wrote Baldwin, the second-youngest of the four Baldwin brothers. “I have worked on hundreds of projects with some of the most gifted artists, many experienced, well-informed activists,and extraordinarily generous philanthropists. Never in my entire life have I had more people referto someone as ‘family’, ‘my brother’ and ‘best friend’ than Danny. Many of them have told me that he was there for them in their ‘greatest hour of need’ and ‘the darkest hour of their life’.”
Since Masterson’s incarceration after his May 31 conviction, “I have heard him on the phone with his daughter helping her with her math homework while she tries to navigate through this devastating life-changing event at only nine years old,” Baldwin wrote.
Baldwin attended some of both trials but was not in court on Thursday for sentencing.
Both Kunis and Kutcher credited Masterson with helping them stay away from drugs.
Kunis said Masterson’s “unwavering commitment to discouraging the use of drugs” is “one of the most remarkable aspects of Danny’s character.”
“In an industry where the pressures and temptations of substance use can be overwhelming, Danny played a pivotal role in guiding me away from such destructive paths,” Kunis wrote. “His dedication to avoiding all substances has inspired not only me but also countless others in our circle. Danny’s steadfastness in promoting a drug-free lifestyle has been a guiding light in my journey through the entertainment world and has helped me prioritize my well-being and focus on making responsible choices.”
Kutcher said the thought of losing Masterson’s friendship encouraged him to stay off drugs.
“I attribute not falling into the typical Hollywood life of drugs directly to Danny. Any time that we were to meet someone or interact with someone who was on drugs, or did drugs, he made it clear that that wouldn't be a good person to be friends with,” Kutcher wrote. “And for me, that was an implication that if l were to do drugs, he wouldn't want to be friends with me, which is something I never would want to risk or jeopardize.”
Kutcher also said Masterson “set an extraordinary standard around how you tteat other people.”
He described being at a pizza parlor with Masterson and seeing “a belligerent man entered who is berating his girlfriend.”
“We had never met or seen these people before, but Danny was the first person to jump to the defense of this girl. It was an incident he didn't have to get involved in but proactively chose to because the way this man was behaving was not right,” Kutcher wrote.
Masterson’s daughter is a year older than Kutcher’s daughter, and Masterson “set a standard of being a hands on dad.”
“We have spent countless hours together with our kids and he is among few people that I would trust to be alone with my son and daughter. He's also a dedicated and loyal husband with unwavering commitment to his wife,” Kutcher wrote.
Kunis said Masterson’s “role as a husband and father to his daughter has been nothing short of extraordinary.”
“Witnessing his interactions with his daughter has been heartwarming and enlightening. He prioritizes his family, education, and happiness above all else, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to being a loving and responsible parent. As a father, he leads by example, instilling in her values that reflect integrity, compassion, and respect for others,” Kunis wrote.
Other family and friends submitted letters, including Masterson’s sister, Alanna Masterson, who was Tara Chambler on The Walking Dead. She said her brother’s nine-year-old daughter would “be lost without him, we all would be.”"
“He’s our family’s true North Star; for so many friends and loved ones,” Alanna wrote.
Masterson’s brother Chris, who was older brother Francis on Malcolm in the Middle, also wrote a letter.
A PDF of Masterson’s sentencing memorandum and all his support letters is available below for paid subscribers. Your paid subscriptions make my work possible.