For the first time, Ashton Kutcher has addressed the rape allegations against his former That 70s Show costar, Danny Masterson.
Masterson was arrested in 2020 on three counts of rape by force or fear after initially being accused in 2017. Masterson and Kutcher had starred alongside each other in Netflix's The Ranch until the allegations broke, after which Masterson was fired from the show.
In an interview with Esquire on Tuesday, Kutcher said he hopes for Masterson "to be found innocent of the charges brought against him."
"I wholesale feel for anybody who feels like they were violated in any way," he said, adding, "Ultimately, I can't know. 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."
After a pause, Kutcher added, "I just don't know."
Kutcher also recalled a moment during the filming of That 70s Show, around the time the series was taking off with viewers, where Masterson addressed him and other cast members Topher Grace, Mila Kunis, Laura Prepon, and Wilmer Valderrama by warning them not to "do anything stupid" and tarnish the show's reputation.
“He’s like, ‘One f*cking rule: Don’t do anything f*cking stupid and f*ck this up. Because if you f*ck it up, you f*ck it up for everybody,'" Kutcher recalled.
Masterson is a member of the Church of Scientology, with all three of his victims being former members. One of the accusers previously testified that fear of the church and retaliation kept her from coming forward initially, according to E! News.
Masterson pleaded guilty on all counts, but a mistrial was declared in November 2022 after a jury could not reach a verdict on any of the three cases. The L.A. County District Attorney's Office said they were "disappointed with the outcome" at the time.
"We also want to give our heartfelt appreciation to the victims for bravely stepping forward and recounting their harrowing experiences," they wrote. "We also are thankful for the hard work of the prosecution team and we will now consider our next steps as it relates to prosecuting this case."
A new trial date has been set for March 27, 2023.
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