If you’re a longtime fan of Ashton Kutcher, you probably remember the role that launched his career. From 1998 to 2006, the Iowa-born actor played the dimwitted Michael Kelso on the hit Fox sitcom. That 70’s show. The show played along too Mila Kuniswho eventually became Kutcher’s real wife, and Danny Masterson, who became one of Kutcher’s best buddies. But has a string of sexual misconduct allegations against Masterson affected the duo’s closeness? Here’s our examination of their relationship.
Kutcher and Masterson have been BFFs ever since That 70’s show
Kutcher and Masterson hit it off immediately when they met after being cast That 70’s show. While both actors were young (20 and 22 at the time), Masterson had been around since childhood and had some experience under his belt. Kutcher, on the other hand, was brand new to Hollywood and quickly relied on his new friend for guidance.
“That 70’s show was my first job, and this guy [Masterson] was an absolute mentor for me, not only as a performer but also as a person”, Kutcher explained in a 2016 interview persons. “And I think without him I wouldn’t know where I would be as a person because he kept me grounded and he would knock me over again every time I was a little too high on my horse. He saved me from trouble. He taught me how to have fun without pushing too hard and he’s one of my best friends in the whole world.”
Kutcher and Masterson stayed close after that That 70’s show went out of air. They were frequently spotted around town together and often made cameos on each other’s social media feeds. In 2016, the friends got a chance to work together again when they were cast as brothers on the Netflix comedy. the ranch Kutcher said it felt natural that they played siblings on the show.
“The opportunity to work together and you know, in a lot of families, brothers are best friends and we really get to play out a lot of our personal dynamic on this show, which is so fun,” he said Persons. “For example, when we sit down and do scenes together, it just feels like we’re shooting the shit, which makes the job, you know, easy and fun.”
allegations against Masterson
While the ranch was a hit and eventually ran for four seasons, Masterson was fired from Netflix in season two and his character was written off the show. His termination came as a result of multiple sexual assault allegations made against the actor in March 2017 by four women who claimed to have been assaulted by Masterson in the early 2000s. Later that year, a former girlfriend of Masterson’s added fuel to the fire when she came forward and claimed she had been repeatedly raped during their relationship That 70’s show Star.
Masterson denied the claims and expressed frustration at being left out by him the ranch. “I’m obviously very disappointed with Netflix’s decision to write my character off the ranch” he said in a December 2017 statement. “From day one I have denied the outrageous allegations against me.”
Despite his rejection, the Men at work star was indicted by the Los Angeles District Attorney in 2020 on three counts of rape. “There have been repeated attempts to politicize this case.” Masterson’s attorney said in a statement after notification of the fees. “He is absolutely not guilty and we will prove it.”
In 2021 Masterson pleaded not guilty to the charges and currently remains free on $3.3 million bail. His criminal trial is scheduled to begin in August 2022.
Did these allegations cause Kutcher to retire?
Kutcher has long been a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement and co-founder of Thorn, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting children from online sexual exploitation. He has also spoken openly about supporting women’s rights and gender equality in the workplace. “Many of my employees have come forward about abuses they have faced and I find it amazing that people have the courage to report such things.” Kutcher said during a 2017 Facebook Live event. “Maybe something can be done about it because the solution is far too far away.”
But the No strings attached star hasn’t opened up about the allegations against Masterson, so it’s hard to know how or if the allegations impacted their relationship. Here’s what we know about the current status of the Masterson-Kutcher friendship.
Signs that Kutcher is distancing himself from Masterson
While best buds used to frequently pop up on each other’s social media feeds, Kutcher hasn’t posted any content featuring or about Masterson on his own social networks since the allegations in 2017 Dude, where’s my car? Star is executive producer at the ranch, which means he must have had a say in the decision to fire Masterson from the Netflix show.
Then there’s the fact that Kutcher has signed on to appear in the upcoming one That 70’s show reboot, That ’90s show. He will appear alongside most of the original cast, including Topher Grace, Laura Prepon, Mila Kinus, Wilmer Valderrama, Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp. Masterson is the only former cast member that was not invited back to reprise his role. If Kutcher was still close with his former co-star, wouldn’t he have passed on the gig in solidarity?
Signs they’re still as close as ever
While Kutcher hasn’t made a public statement in support of Masterson, he hasn’t spoken out against his former either the ranch and That 70’s show co-star. For many a clear sign that the Two and a half men Star has decided to help his friend behind the scenes. One of Masterson’s accusers, Chrissie Carnell Bixler, has criticized Kutcher for that decision, noting the hypocrisy of his silence.
“Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis have positioned themselves as champions for women, children and the fight against sexual abuse and sex trafficking.” Bixler said in a 2019 statement. âPublic supporters of the #MeToo movement and Time’s Up. Ashton and Mila marched at the forefront of the Women’s March on March 13, 2018 in Los Angeles. As much as I applaud them for speaking up for women, I am confused and heartbroken as to why they refuse to speak up for all the women they know who have been violently raped by their boyfriend, Danny Masterson.”
Does that mean Kutcher is actually on Masterson’s side? It certainly could be the case, especially since Bixler claims Kutcher personally knew Masterson’s victims. Then there’s more alarming evidence — photos of the friends partying together as recently as 2019. In January of this year, the journalist Tony Ortega friends leaked photos posted having a prom at their mutual friend’s (and co-star’s) Scientology-sponsored wedding the ranch), Justin Mooney. Mila Kunis also appeared in the pictures, and neither Kunis nor Kutcher appear to have any ill will toward the accused rapist.
It will be interesting to see what happens when the criminal trial begins later this summer!