It's official. Danny Masterson has been fired from his co-starring position on the Ashton Kutcher Netflix comedy The Ranch. This comes after numerous rape accusations made against the former That 70s Show star.
Netflix has come under fire recently for keeping Danny Masterson on the show despite four different women coming forward to say he raped them. Some believe Masterson has been protected by Scientology religion leaders that have pull in this matter, protecting the actor. Others in turn called out Netflix for keeping Masterson employed after being so quick to fire Kevin Spacey from House of Cards and cutting all ties with comedian Louis C.K. in the wake of their individual sexual misconduct scandals.
Netflix has faced increasing pressure to get rid of Danny Masterson in the past several weeks, after The Ranch was renewed for Season 3. The actor is accused of raping four different women, all with ties to Scientology, back in the early 2000s during his heyday on That 70s Show. The LAPD and the Los Angeles County District Attorney are working together to investigate these claims at this time. A Netflix spokesperson released this statement about Masterson's firing.
"As a result of ongoing discussions, Netflix and the producers have written Danny Masterson out of The Ranch. [Monday] was his last day on the show, and production will resume in early 2018 without him."
Apparently, Danny Masterson will not be cut from the already shot episodes of The Ranch Season 3. His removal comes mid-season. The second half of The Ranch Season 2 will debut on Netflix starting December 15, with Danny Masterson appearing in all of these new episodes. It hasn't been revealed how many Season 3 episodes the actor has shot. But it's possible that, with each season split into two halves over the course of the year, Masterson could appear in the entirety of The Ranch Season 3 Part 1. Which will not make some individuals very happy. As it won't appear that he is gone for quite some time. Danny Masterson has released his own statement on these allegations. He says this.
""I am obviously very disappointed in Netflix's decision to write my character off of The Ranch. From Day 1, 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."
Netflix decided to fire Danny Masterson just days after one of his accusers confronted a Netflix executive at a kids' soccer game. Exec Andy Yeatman, not knowing the woman was someone involved with the ongoing LAPD case, told the woman that Netflix did not believe Masterson's accusers. And the story went viral. Netflix later called the exec's comments 'careless' and 'uniformed'.
A petition calling for Netflix to cancel The Ranch reached 40,000 signatures. Danny Masterson serves as an executive producer on the comedy series, but there is no word if he will still carry that title moving forward. The Ranch will write Danny's absence into the show. At this time, it is believed that a new actor will be brought in to fill the void. And it very well could be another one of Ashton Kutcher's old That 70s Show buddies. This initial report first appeared at TV Line.