Netflix Fires Actor Danny Masterson Amid Rape Allegations
Netflix (NFLX) has fired Danny Masterson and written the actor off of The Ranch web series amid multiple rape allegations. His last day of work on the comedy series produced by Netflix was Monday.
Four women have accused Masterson of raping them in the early 2000s. The rape allegations have been publicly known since at least March 2017, when journalist Tony Ortega first reported that police were investigating Masterson, a prominent member of the Church of Scientology, for at least three alleged cases of rape or sodomy of women who were also Scientologists.
The Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office have been investigating Masterson for just under a year. The case has stalled in recent months.
Netflix tweeted Tuesday that after discussing the matter with producers, the company decided to write Masterson off of The Ranch. Netflix will make new episodes of the comedy, which stars Sam Elliott, Ashton Kutcher, and Debra Winger, without Masterson. Kutcher and Masterson also starred together in the hit Fox TV comedy That 70’s Show.
Masterson issued a statement to Fortune on Tuesday in response to Netflix’s action.
“I am obviously very disappointed in Netflix’s decision to write my character off of The Ranch. From day one, I have denied the outrageous allegations against me. Law enforcement investigated these claims more than 15 years ago and determined them to be without merit. I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one. In this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current climate, it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused. I understand and look forward to clearing my name once and for all. In the meantime, I want to express my gratitude to the cast and crew that I’ve worked so closely with over the past three seasons. I wish them nothing but success. I am also so thankful to the fans that have supported me and continue to do so.”
Masterson’s firing follows a Huffington Post report of a Netflix executive telling one of Masterson’s accusers over the weekend that the company doesn’t think the allegations are credible.
“We don’t believe them,” Andy Yeatman, Netflix’s director of global kids content, reportedly replied to a woman when asked about the situation on the sidelines of a children’s soccer game. The woman replied “I’m one of them,” according to the Huffington Post report. Netflix released a statement calling Yeatman’s comments “careless” and “uninformed.”
Netflix renewed The Ranch for a third season of episodes that will air in 2018. It’s unclear when or how Masterson will be written off of the show. Masterson will appear in the second half of season 2, which airs Dec. 15. He is expected to appear in the first 10 episodes of season 3, which were filmed before his dismissal, Deadline reported.
The Masterson dismissal follows Netflix’s decision to sever all ties with actor Kevin Spacey, one of the stars in the fictional political drama House of Cards, in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against the actor.
Netflix initially suspended production of the sixth season of House of Cards at the end of October after actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of making unwanted sexual advances toward him more than three decades ago when Rapp was underage. Netflix announced last month that it would no longer work with Spacey and stopped the release of its Gore Vidal biopic that starred Spacey. The Netflix original feature film was already in post-production.
Netflix confirmed House of Cards will return for a sixth and final season without Spacey.