Former That '70s Show heartthrob Ashton Kutcher is currently experiencing a revival of his own, but not the kind he'd hoped for. The star is now facing a storm over the internet as clips from his past resurface in the wake of his support for his sitcom co-star Danny Masterson, who recently received a hefty prison sentence for rape.
Chrissie Carnell Bixler, one of the three women accusing Danny Masterson of rape, took to her Instagram Story to share old videos of Ashton Kutcher from the early 2000s. The clips highlighted instances where Kutcher made sexually inappropriate comments, particularly regarding underage actress Hilary Duff and his now-wife, Mila Kunis.
In one video from a 2003 episode of Punk'd, Kutcher made a comment about singer and actress, Hilary Duff, who was just 15 at the time.
A 2003 clip of Ashton Kutcher on 'Punk'd' has resurfaced and it shows the 25 year old Kutcher saying this about 15 year old Hilary Duff:— Mr. Pop (@MrPopOfficial) September 9, 2023
"She's one of the girls that we're all waiting for to turn 18."pic.twitter.com/KjrduXZhiO
Another problematic clip comes from a 2002 appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show. During this interview, Kutcher and Kunis discussed their roles as Kelso and Jackie on That '70s Show. Kunis revealed that when they began the show in 1998, Kutcher was 19 years old, and she was just 14.
Kutcher expressed his reservations about the legality of their on-screen make-out scenes, saying, "And I'm like thinking this is slightly illegal, right," as he pondered the situation.
Topher Grace appreciation post! I always wondered why he wasn’t involved when Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson & Wilmer Valderrama opened (invested in) a restaurant together. Now it makes sense, he knew better. He was also the ‘outcast’ on the show & left early. He isn’t like them pic.twitter.com/Cg4FZndPF8— Bye Wig, Hello Drama (@nosmokenomore) September 9, 2023
Further complicating matters, Bixler shared an old clip from the same Rosie O'Donnell Show appearance in which Kunis recounted an uncomfortable incident. Kutcher had apparently made a "side bet" with Masterson about French-kissing her when she was only 14, underscoring an alarming disregard for boundaries and consent, even if it was meant as a mere joke at the time.
Another resurfaced clip depicted a teenage Mila Kunis sitting on Ashton Kutcher's lap in a promotional video for That '70s Show. In this clip, Kutcher made inappropriate comments while laughing and physically interacting with Kunis, who was clearly uncomfortable.
The clips shared by Bixler shed light on these past incidents, aiming to hold Kutcher accountable for his comments and behavior, particularly in the context of his support for Danny Masterson. She went as far as to equate Kutcher's behavior to that of Masterson, who was convicted of rape.
The controversy reached its peak when Kutcher and Kunis wrote supportive letters for Masterson prior to his sentencing. In these letters, they praised Masterson's character and expressed their belief that he was not an ongoing threat to society.
These statements were met with widespread public outrage, as they seemed to dismiss the gravity of Masterson's crimes and undermined the voices of the victims.
DANNY MASTERSON: You gonna write that letter of support for me?— Mike Beauvais (@MikeBeauvais) September 8, 2023
ASHTON KUTCHER: You know it.
DANNY MASTERSON: You gonna bring u-
ASHTON KUTCHER: Of course I’m gonna bring up 9/11! pic.twitter.com/gbykCBONkL
The backlash against Kutcher and Kunis was swift and severe, with many accusing them of prioritizing their friendship with Masterson over supporting the survivors of sexual assault. The couple eventually issued an apology in a video posted on social media in which they stressed their support for victims and expressed regret if their letters were misconstrued or caused further harm to the survivors.
This controversy surrounding Kutcher continues to spark discussions about accountability, particularly in the context of celebrities and their past actions. It underscores the importance of being aware of the consequences of one's words and actions, as well as the responsibility to support survivors of sexual assault.
Christina Ricci in response to Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’s decision to write letters on behalf of Danny Masterson. pic.twitter.com/IBd68JVAA3— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) September 10, 2023
While the celebrity couple have apologized, the controversy serves as a reminder of the need for ongoing dialogue and education regarding consent, boundaries, and supporting survivors in the #MeToo era.