“So sometimes people we have loved and admired do horrible things. They might not do these things to us and we only know who they were to us but that doesn’t mean they didn’t do the horrible things and to discredit the abused is a crime,” Ricci, 43, wrote via her Instagram Story on Saturday, September 9.
She continued: “People we know as ‘awesome guys’ can be predators and abusers. It’s tough to accept but we have to. If we say we support victims — women, children, men [and] boys — then we must take this stance.”
Ricci’s note comes days after Masterson, 47, was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison after his sexual assault retrial. (The That 70’s Show alum had been found guilty in May on two counts of rape following past incidents from the early 2000s.)
Masterson vehemently denied the accusations against him and several of his friends — including That 70’s Show costars Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher — wrote letters to the judge on his behalf to advocate for a reduced sentence. The character letters were released on Friday, September 8, via The Underground Bunker, which specializes in covering news about Scientology.
Kunis and Kutcher’s notes sparked backlash among fans, who denounced them for supporting an alleged abuser.
“We are aware of the pain that has been caused by the character letters that we wrote on behalf of Danny Masterson,” Kutcher, 45, said in a Saturday Instagram video. “They were intended for the judge to read and not to undermine the testimony of the victims or re-traumatize them in any way. We would never want to do that, and we’re sorry if that has taken place.”
Kunis, 40, added: “Our heart goes out to every single person who’s ever been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse or rape.”
Kutcher and Kunis — who got married in 2015 — have advocated against child abuse through their nonprofit THORN, which they pointed out in their apology video.
Ricci, for her part, seemingly took aim at the letters glorifying Masterson’s accomplishments amid his assault scandal. “Unfortunately I’ve known lots of ‘awesome guys’ who were lovely to me, who have been proven to be abusers privately,” the Yellowjackets star added. “I’ve also had personal experience with this.”
Ricci concluded: “Believe victims. It’s not easy to come forward. It’s not easy to get a conviction.”
Us Weekly broke the news in July 2020 that Ricci was granted an emergency protective order against Heerdegen, 44, after police were called to their shared home on domestic violence claims. Under the order, the pair were unable to have any contact. Heerdegen was not arrested nor did he address the allegations at the time. The pair, who share 8-year-old son Freddie, finalized their divorce in December 2022. The actress has since been granted sole legal custody of Freddie with Heerdegen receiving visitation rights.
If you or someone you know are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential support. If you have experienced sexual assault, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 for confidential support.