Mila Kunis and Aston Kutcher's Apology
Category: Insight

What Crisis PR Professionals Can Learn from Mila Kunis and Aston Kutcher’s Apology

Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis find themselves embroiled in a continuing fallout stemming from the character letters that they wrote in support of their former co-star on That ’70s Show, Danny Masterson, ahead of his trial sentencing. Masterson was recently sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for the rape of two women, a decision that stirred both public discourse and controversy.

Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis

The fallout for the celebrity couple began when their character reference letters for Masterson came to light. In these letters, Kutcher described Masterson as a “role model,” while Kunis referred to him as an “extraordinary family man” and praised his parenting values, which she claimed reflected “integrity, compassion, and respect for others”. These character references triggered a substantial backlash on social media platforms from fans and the public. In an attempt to address the mounting criticism, Kutcher posted a video on his Instagram account on September 9th, a day after the letters became public. However, this video may have inadvertently worsened the backlash. The public’s scrutiny of Kutcher has intensified because of his association with Thorn, an organization he co-founded with Demi Moore to combat child sexual abuse. In the video, Kunis and Kutcher mentioned how they “support victims” in the work they do, adding another layer of complexity to the situation. The public backlash to their statements stemmed from a dissonance between the video’s perceived intention and the actual content. While the video was positioned to be an apology, it was perceived to be more of an explanation, which left fans dissatisfied. Many viewers felt that the couple was not apologizing for writing those letters but for getting caught, leading to a perception that it was a hastily crafted response to the controversy. In the video, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis explained the context in which the letters were written. They stated that Masterson’s family had requested character reference letters representing the person they had known for over two decades. Character reference letters are commonly submitted to provide judges with context about the defendant. However, the video failed to acknowledge the impact their actions may have had on Masterson’s victims, referred to as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 in the trial.

Aftermath and apology

Nearly a week later, Kutcher issued an apology to Thorn and announced his immediate resignation from his role as board chairman. This development has led to a significant PR crisis for both Kutcher and Kunis.

Accountability

To address the fallout effectively, it’s important for Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis to issue a more comprehensive apology that acknowledges the effect of their actions on Masterson’s victims. This acknowledgment is crucial for the apology’s credibility and effectiveness. The public often seeks accountability rather than blame-shifting, in cases like this, it’s better to have a sit-down interview focused on taking concrete actions to rectify the situation. While the fallout may affect their careers for a significant period, genuine accountability can help mitigate the damage over time. Celebrities at Kutcher and Kunis’s level meticulously plan and calculate every statement they make. The setup of the entire video, featuring the couple in casual attire seated before a plain wooden wall, is intended to create a relatable and humble image. This choice of setting aims to emphasize their normalcy and mitigate perceptions of privilege.

Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis find themselves embroiled in a continuing fallout stemming from the character letters that they wrote in support of their former co-star on That ’70s Show, Danny Masterson, ahead of his trial sentencing. Masterson was recently sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for the rape of two women, a decision that stirred both public discourse and controversy. Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis The fallout for the celebrity couple began when their character reference letters for Masterson came to light. In these letters, Kutcher described Masterson as a “role model,” while Kunis referred to him as an “extraordinary family man” and praised his parenting values, which she claimed reflected “integrity, compassion, and respect for others”.…