UPDATED with Masterson’s statement: For almost two decades, actor Danny Masterson has been under a cloud of suspicion over accusations by four women that he had raped them in the early 2000s. With renewed attention to the case amid the current crackdown on sexual harassment and sexual assault in Hollywood, Netflix is parting ways with actor, who stars opposite Ashton Kutcher in the Internet network’s popular multi-camera comedy series The Ranch.
“As a result of ongoing discussions, Netflix and the producers have written Danny Masterson out of The Ranch,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. “Yesterday was his last day on the show, and production will resume in early 2018 without him.”
I hear production is about to wrap on the first batch of 10 episodes from The Ranch‘s 20-episode third season, with one more episode left to shoot. The remaining 10 episodes will be filmed in 2018. The 10-episode second half of Season 2 of The Ranch with Masterson in it will be released on Dec. 15. He also will be be featured in the Season 3 episodes that he had filmed before his dismissal, which had been in the works.
One of Masterson’s accusers filed a police report in 2004 saying that she was raped in 2003, but the case didn’t move forward. The Los Angeles Police Department started an investigation in late 2016 after “three women have come forward and disclosed that they were sexually assaulted by Masterson during the early 2000’s,” LAPD said in a statement in March. The police referred the case to the district attorney in April of this year but no charges have been filed yet.
The allegations against Masterson, which he has repeatedly denied, have been frequently referenced in the past weeks in the context of revelations about Hollywood types accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault. A recent story in the Huffington Post implicated a Netflix executive who had been recently confronted by one of alleged Masterson victims.
The Masterson controversy has had another layer to it as he is a longtime member of the Church of Scientology, and at least three of the women who have accused him of rape also were Scientologists.
“I am obviously very disappointed in Netflix’s decision to write my character off of The Ranch,” Masterson said in a statement distributed to the media. “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 political 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.”
While Netflix has terminated Masterson’s acting services, the company’s statement does not address what is happening with his role as an executive producer on The Ranch. Masterson and his former That ’70s Show co-star and longtine friend Kutcher teamed up for The Ranch and the comedy was sold with the duo attached to star, playing brothers, and exec produce. After landing at Netflix, The Ranch cast Debra Winger and Sam Elliott as Kutcher and Masterson’s parents.