Netflix has finally chosen to sever ties—at least partially—with the actor Danny Masterson, the star of their hit series The Ranch who has been accused of rape by at least four women.
“As a result of ongoing discussions, Netflix and the producers have written Danny Masterson out of The Ranch. Yesterday was his last day on the show, and production will resume in early 2018 without him,” read a statement from a Netflix spokesperson.
According to those spokesperson, who spoke to The Daily Beast on condition of anonymity, Masterson will appear in the ten episodes of The Ranch that are being released on Netflix this month, as well as numerous episodes released in 2018—he simply won’t appear in any episodes that have yet to be filmed. Also, the streaming service isn’t sure if Masterson will remain a producer on the show or not. Masterson executive-produces The Ranch alongside his co-star and longtime pal, Ashton Kutcher, who has thus far remained silent on the disturbing allegations.
Masterson, for his part, released the following statement (via his attorney) addressing his dismissal: “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. 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.”
Last month, Chrissie Carnell Bixler, one of four women accusing the actor/Scientologist Danny Masterson of rape, came forward to The Daily Beast for the first time to blast Netflix for still employing him on their hit series.
“I was sick when I read Netflix’s statement on continuing with The Ranch and continuing their working relationship with a man who has violently raped and abused so many women. Four months after the story broke, and the LAPD confirmed a criminal investigation, Netflix ordered another season of The Ranch,” said Bixler. “For me, what Netflix has done, feels like a continuation of how the Church of Scientology made me feel when I reported my rape to them, as well as how Danny Masterson made me feel when I would beg him for an apology, an explanation, anything. I was made to feel unimportant. I was made to feel like I didn’t matter.”
Back in March, journalist Tony Ortega—the premier journalist covering Scientology—broke the news on his blog The Underground Bunker that the Los Angeles Police Department was in the process of investigating Masterson for “at least three alleged cases of rape or sodomy of women who were also Scientologists and who claim they were pressured by the Church of Scientology not to contact police or go public with their accusations.”
Ortega provided partial copies of the police reports, and Bixler’s read, in part: “Victim and suspect lived together for 6 years, but were not married. Vict went to bed and when she woke up and was bleeding from her anus. Vict confronted the suspect, he laug[h]ed at her and told her he had sex with her in her anus.” Ortega’s report was soon confirmed by the LAPD in a statement that read: “The Los Angeles Police Department Robbery Homicide Division, Sexual Assault Section, is conducting an investigation involving the actor Danny Masterson. Three women have come forward and disclosed that they were sexually assaulted by Masterson during the early 2000s.”
The Huffington Post’s Yashar Ali revived the Masterson story last month, reporting that despite “what one law enforcement source described as ‘overwhelming’ evidence,” the Masterson rape case—now up to four accusers—appears to have stalled, and “the charges have not been approved for filing.”
Ali’s report continued: “The evidence includes audiotapes, emails sent to and from Scientology officers at the time the alleged rapes happened, forensic computer evidence and a threatening handwritten letter Masterson sent to one of the alleged victims, according to two people with knowledge of the evidence in the district attorney’s possession.”
Late last month, The Daily Beast ran a lengthy piece on Leah Remini, Danny Masterson, and the Church of Scientology. In it, Remini called out the cozy relationship between the LAPD and the Church of Scientology, with the latter regularly hosting star-studded charity fundraisers for local police, many of which are attended by Masterson.
And on Monday, one day before the Masterson firing news broke, Ali reported that one of Masterson’s rape accusers had confronted a Netflix executive—Andy Yeatman, director of global kids content—at their children’s soccer game about why they were still employing the actor. Yeatman reportedly told the unnamed woman “we don’t believe them”—the “them” being Masterson’s rape accusers—without knowing that he was actually speaking to one of the accusers.
Netflix had come under fire for taking swift action against accused sexual predators like Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K., while refusing to act on Masterson. It took the streaming service nine months from when the rape allegations first came to light to dismiss Masterson.