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Ashton Kutcher Breaks Silence on ‘That ’70s Show’ Co-Star Danny Masterson

Actors Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson attend a premiere

From the moment that Danny Masterson was charged with the rape and sexual assault of three different women, we’ve (mostly) heard crickets from the cast of That ’70s Show. That’s not surprising, considering they had nothing to do with it and most of them have moved on. Over the years, most of them have gone on to other projects, all leaving Masterson’s name out of the conversation.

Now, Ashton Kutcher is breaking his silence to talk about his former co-star and friend. Kutcher, who also starred with Masterson in The Ranch, says that he hopes that Masterson is “found innocent of the charges brought against him.” The quote comes from a larger feature in Esquire that covers Kutcher’s life and career.

The Esquire piece makes it clear that this is not Kutcher saying he wants Masterson to be found innocent if he actually did commit the crimes he stands accused of. He wants his friend to be innocent, which I think a lot of the articles about Kutcher’s statement are leaving out. Kutcher goes on to say that he doesn’t know whether or not Masterson is guilty of the charges against him. “Ultimately, I can’t know,” he said. “I’m not the judge. I’m not the jury. I’m not the DA. I’m not the victim. And I’m not the accused. And so, in that case, I don’t have a space to comment. I just don’t know.”

Kutcher and Masterson’s careers

That statement is not surprising because Kutcher is still hoping his friend is found innocent. It’s surprising because the rest of the cast has been silent up until this point. It does make sense that Kutcher would speak out first, given their friendship and their work on The Ranch. Kutcher’s comments are focused more on his relationship with Masterson prior to the allegations, and how he wants him to actually be innocent, rather than being let off the hook for something he did.

Kutcher says he is still in touch with Masterson, adding, “Someday, his kid is going to read about this.” Yes, that’s true. And if found guilty, Masterson’s child will probably find out about what he did. It’s clearly a complicated situation for Kutcher, who was friends with Masterson since That ’70s Show premiered in 1998. But Kutcher also acknowledges Masterson’s victims, saying, “I wholesale feel for anybody who feels like they were violated in any way.”

The allegations and charges against Masterson

In 2019, Danny Masterson was accused by four women of rape and was subsequently charged with three counts of forcible rape, two of which are tied to Masterson’s connections to the Church of Scientology. Masterson has pleaded not guilty to all three charges. The actor went on trial in Los Angeles last fall, but the presiding judge declared a mistrial when the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office remains committed to pursuing charges.

So Kutcher’s “hope” that the trial will prove his friend innocent is coming from a place of not knowing what the outcome of the case will be, and from day one, Masterson has been loudly proclaiming “innocent until proven guilty.”

Maybe everyone should have stayed silent

While Kutcher’s comments aren’t necessarily bad and clearly come from a conflicted place, they just shouldn’t have been published. Bringing up this very public case and asking Masterson’s old co-workers about it instead of the alleged victims has never sat right with me.

Asking Kutcher about Masterson in the first place isn’t great, and his reaction shows that he still is conflicted about someone he considered a friend. So maybe we shouldn’t be asking Masterson’s former co-workers and friends about it at all, especially while the case is still ongoing.

(featured image: Lalo Yasky, Getty Images)

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She/Her. A writer who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.