That 70s Show fans have claimed Danny Masterson’s 30-year life sentence for raping Topher Grace clears allegations he was too stuck-up to spend time with the cast.
Grace’s early exit from the series sparked rumors about why he didn’t seem close to his co-stars. The rumors resurfaced when Masterson was sentenced on Thursday, September 7, to a minimum of 30 years and a maximum of life in prison.
Fans reacted to the news on social media, causing Grace’s name to trend on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
They claimed the case against Masterson absolved Grace from speculation that the leading man thought he was better than his castmates.
One user wrote: “For years, Topher Grace was portrayed as being a stuck-up asshole because he wasn’t best friends with the rest of the cast of That ’70s Show, but guess who didn’t write a letter in defense of a has rapists this year…’
Topher Grace has not provided any response about the Masterson case, but his silence and distance from his co-stars have been praised by fans
Grace left the show a year before it ended, sparking rumors that he believed he was better than his castmates
The 45-year-old star plays Tom Hayworth on the ABC sitcom Home Economics and has appeared in a number of films including the hugely popular space film Interstellar.
Recalling claims that Grace was “too good for the show” after his departure, another user tweeted: “Look who’s turned out to be the unproblematic one whose name isn’t dragged through the mud.”
Others created “appreciation posts” for the star.
Grace left the show a year before it ended. In the finale, he returned for a cameo as his character Eric Forman. He also guest-starred on That 90s Show, a companion series that debuted on Netflix in January 2023.
The actor currently portrays Tom Hayworth on the ABC sitcom Home Economics.
At least three women accused Masterson of rape between 2001 and 2003, claiming the actor used his position in the Church of Scientology to prevent the news from becoming public.
The women were all members of the church, which focuses on a number of practices by author L. Ron Hubbard.
This includes the belief that man is an immortal being called a thetan. Followers go through a process known as auditing, in which they are pushed to answer deeply personal questions that guide them through past lives.
The church is widely described as a cult and is known for using intimidation to silence former members.
The term “fair game” is used to describe policy toward enemies. This includes character assassination and lawsuits against media representatives.
Grace has not publicly commented on Masterson’s conviction.
However, his wife, Ashley Hinshaw, posted an Instagram Story on Friday that appeared to reference the news of Masterson’s verdict.
It read: “To every rape victim who is re-traumatized by society’s debate and focuses their attention on what will happen to the RAPIST… I see you.”
Hinshaw’s remark was praised by fans, including one who commented: “You’ve gained a following but most importantly my respect for your support for the SA victims involved in the Masterson case.”
Masterson’s belief was supported by other actors such as Billy Baldwin, who is married to Masterson’s wife’s half-sister, and fellow Scientologist Giovanni Ribisi.
That 70s Show co-stars Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp also expressed their support.
The castmates who drew the most attention were Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, who played Michael Kelso and Jackie Burkhart.
The couple wrote individual letters asking Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo to consider a lighter sentence.
The Documents were obtained on September 8 by legal reporter Meghann Cuniff. Character letters are intended to express support for a defendant in a criminal case.
Kutcher described himself as an “actor, investor, philanthropist and, most importantly, father.”
He wrote: “As a friend, Danny has had nothing but positive influence on me.” “He is an exceptionally honest and determined person.”
Kutcher also praised Masterson’s family values and relationship with his 9-year-old daughter.
Kunis also praised her effusively and spoke at length about her sisterly relationship with Masterson and his promotion of a drug-free lifestyle.
“His genuine concern for those around him and his commitment to leading by example make him an outstanding role model and friend,” the actress said.
While Grace declined to comment, his wife, Ashley Hinshaw, posted a message in support of sexual assault victims
Her words stood in stark contrast to testimony read during the trial, which contained graphic descriptions of the ways Masterson drugged and abused his victims.
One woman said she violated the church’s “code” by making allegations against an “untouchable” like Masterson.
Following the backlash, Kutcher posted a video of himself and Kunis on Instagram. The comments have been disabled.
Kutcher said Masterson’s family asked her to write character letters so the judge “could fully take this into account” when sentencing.
“We are aware of the pain caused by the character letters we wrote,” the actor said.
“We support the victims,” Kunis added, before vaguely referring to the work the duo has done “historically.”
Kutcher said he never wanted to “re-traumatize the victims.”
Fans highlighted the irony of Kutcher’s defense while he ran a charity that combats child sexual abuse.
Kutcher founded Thorn with his ex-wife Demi Moore. The organization works with technology companies, NGOs and law enforcement agencies to combat child trafficking in the digital age.