Former That 70s Show star Danny Masterson has been fired from his new Netflix comedy series The Ranch amid rape allegations made against him. “As a result of ongoing discussions, Netflix and the producers have written Danny Masterson out of The Ranch,” a Netflix spokesman told CNN in a statement Tuesday. Netflix confirmed in the statement that Monday was his last day on the show and he would not be welcome back when they resume production of The Ranch in 2018. Masterson starred in and was an executive producer for the show.
Netflix’s decision to cut ties with the actor, best known for playing Steven Hyde on the popular TV series That 70s Show, was made not long after the Huffington Post published a story about one of Masterson’s alleged victims approaching a Netflix executive about their decision to keep Masterson on The Ranch. According to the report, executive Andy Yeatman told the woman they didn’t believe the alleged victims, after which she revealed she was one of them.
Following the story’s publication, Netflix has called Yeatman’s remarks “careless” and “uninformed,” stating they “do not represent the views of the company.” Netflix also said they were aware of the allegations against Danny Masterson and were “following the current investigation.” But many were not pleased with the company’s slow reaction to the sexual assault allegations, particularly after stars like Kevin Spacey had been immediately ousted from the Netflix series House of Cards following accusations against him. A petition was created for Netflix to cancel The Ranch and earned support from more than 39,000 people. Masterson vehemently denied the allegations.
Back in March, the story broke that Masterson was being investigated by the LAPD 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.” A law enforcement agent reportedly told a Huffington Post reporter that evidence against Masterson was “overwhelming,” but the case has stalled in large part due to Masterson’s Scientology affiliation.
Four women have now claimed Masterson raped them in the early 2000s and at least three of the women were Scientologists. The Huffington Post reports that one of Masterson’s accusers filed a police report in 2004 saying that Masterson raped her while she was “passed out.”
A rep for the Church of Scientology told TMZ, “The Church adamantly denies that it ever ignores any allegations of criminal behavior, especially at the expense of alleged victims. What is being stated is utterly untrue. This has nothing to do with religion. This story is being manipulated to push a bigoted agenda. The Church follows all laws and cooperates with law enforcement. Any statement or implication to the contrary is false.”
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