As part of Thursday’s sentencing hearing, supporters of Danny Masterson had a chance to send letters to the judge explaining why he deserved clemency. As it turns out, disgraced or not, the actor still had quite a few folks in his corner.
Several of his co-stars from That ’70s Show wrote to the judge about what a great guy they thought he was — rape conviction or no. That includes the show’s biggest stars, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis.
Ashton, who also starred on Netflix‘s The Ranch with Danny until the latter got kicked off the show over the accusations, was particularly effusive, calling his pal “a role model”:
“As a friend, Danny has been nothing but a positive influence on me. He’s an extraordinarily honest and intentional human being.”
The letter, first revealed by journalist Meghan Cuniff, continues:
“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. Danny is a person that is consistently there for you when you need him.”
Ashton went on to say Danny was directly responsible for keeping Ashton out of trouble in his early Hollywood days, pushing him away from bad influences, especially people who did drugs. He painted a portrait of a standup guy:
“There was an incident where we were at a pizza parlor and 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.”
The Punk’d creator said his longtime friend “always treated people with decency, equality, and generosity” and “set a standard” for the kind of father he wanted to be. He added:
“I can honestly say that no matter where we were, or who we were with, I never saw my friend be anything other than the guy I have described.”
He concluded by referring to the women whose accusations had led this conviction:
“While I’m aware that the judgment has been cast as guilty on two counts of rape by force and the victims have a great desire for justice, I hope that my testament to his character is taken into consideration in sentencing. I do not believe he is an ongoing harm to society and having his daughter raised without a present father would be a tertiary injustice in and of itself.”
Ashton’s wife had plenty to say about their co-star, too. Mila, who started on That ’70s Show when she was considerably younger than the others, called Danny “an amazing friend, confidant, and, above all, an outstanding older brother figure to me.” She wrote:
“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. 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.”
She ended by calling Danny “a tremendous positive influence” and saying she would “wholeheartedly vouch for Danny Masterson’s exceptional character.”
They weren’t the only ones. The actors who played Red and Kitty on the classic sitcom also sent letters. Debra Jo Rupp said he was the leader of the “kid” actors and made them all swear not to go down the path of drugs. Kurtwood Smith called Danny “a positive force.”
Other letter-writers include actor Giovanni Ribisi and his sister Marissa Ribisi — both also Scientologists btw — Danny’s brother-in-law Billy Baldwin, his sister Alanna Masterson, and of course his wife Bijou Phillips, who reportedly still believes he’s innocent. You can see more of the letters in full HERE.
While there were many friends and co-stars saying kind things, it just didn’t stack up to the impact statements made by the victims. The still unnamed women described once again how Danny had “drugged and raped” them. How the Church of Scientology had harassed and silenced them to protect an “untouchable” member.
Clearly the judge was more moved by the pain Danny caused these women — as she threw the book at him, handing down one of the longest rape sentences we’ve ever heard of, certainly for a rich, white male celebrity: 30 years to life.
What do YOU think of these letters? We’re curious how much continuing to vouch for a convicted rapist will affect Ashton and Mila’s careers. Does it change how YOU view them??
[Image via Katherine Christine/MEGA/WENN.]