A day after HuffPost published an article critical of Netflix amid rape allegations against “The Ranch” star Danny Masterson, the company fired the actor from the series.
That story detailed how Netflix executive Andy Yeatman told a woman that higher-ups at the company didn’t believe the accusations of the four women who recently have come forward to the Los Angeles Police Department, which is investigating the claims — although he didn’t realize at the time that he was speaking to one of the alleged victims. He later told HuffPost that his comments were “careless” and “uninformed.”
This morning, Netflix released a statement that read: “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.”
This is the second time in recent weeks that Netflix has had to change course on a series following allegations of sexual abuse. The company also fired “House of Cards” star Kevin Spacey after multiple accusations against him; the final season of the show will cut out his character completely, focusing instead on his co-star Robin Wright.
The four women claim Masterson raped them in the early 2000s, according to HuffPost. One of the women reported the attack to the LAPD in 2004, but the case was closed after some of Masterson’s fellow congregants in the Church of Scientology disputed the woman’s claims.
In a statement provided by his lawyer, Masterson maintained his innocence:
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.
The accusations against Masterson resurfaced earlier this year after some of the alleged victims approached actress Leah Remini, who has been a vocal opponent of Scientology since leaving the church in 2013. Her A&E series “Scientology and the Aftermath” chronicles alleged abuses within the organization. The women, who had also been scientologists, told her that the church discouraged them from reporting the alleged crimes. In an interview with blogger Tony Ortega, Remini said that she then urged the women to go to the LAPD, which reopened the 2004 case but has yet to file any charges.
“The Ranch,” which also stars Masterson’s “That ’70s Show” co-star Ashton Kutcher, is set to air the second half of its second season on Dec. 15. Those episodes will still feature Masterson and, according to the Hollywood Reporter, the actor may still appear in scenes that have already been shot for the already-announced third season, but he won’t be back on set.