Netflix cuts ties with Danny Masterson, who still denies rape allegations
Following accusations of rape against Danny Masterson, Netflix has fired him from his role on comedy series The Ranch. In a statement, the streaming service said, "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." Masterson will appear in the second half of The Ranch, and The Hollywood Reporter says that he may return for parts in the third season, as well.
Meanwhile, Masterson continues to deny the allegations against him. A statement to People via his rep reads:
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.
Netflix previously came under fire for their lack of response to the formal allegations against Masterson by Chrissie Carnell-Bixler, one of the four women who made accusations. She blasted the streaming service in a statement, saying, "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. Like what Danny Masterson did to me didn’t matter. My body doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t belong to me. The trauma and emotional pain doesn’t matter, because I just don’t matter."
Chrissie's husband, Cedric Bixler Zavala of At the Drive In and The Mars Volta, has also spoken out about the allegations, revealing that ATDI's song "Incurably Innocent" is "about sexual abuse and being able to finally speak out," and specifically about Masterson. Cedric also responded to Masterson's continued denial of the allegations against him in a series of tweets you can see below. "He’s had about 15 years to make this statement," Cedric said; "every time he had a chance he laughed at the victims. He is surrounded by enablers. He’s also surrounded by Scientologists who are embarrassed and have always known he is pure trash but hey LRH is infallible." Cedric continued, "the real victory is making sure he doesn’t do it again. Any women near him is a potential victim. The loudest victims are making it possible for the ones we don’t know about. The battle has yet to be truly waged."
Further outcry against Netflix followed a report from Huffington Post on comments allegedly made by director of global kids content Andy Yeatman. Yeatman, the report says, was approached by a woman at a children's soccer game who asked him, before identifying herself, if he worked for Netflix, and why the company hadn't taken action against Masterson in light of the allegations against him. The report continues that according to two witnesses, Yeatman answered that while Netflix takes allegations of sexual misconduct seriously, they didn't believe the women who accused Masterson. Netflix later acknowledged Yeatman's alleged comments in a statement, calling them "careless" and "uninformed," and saying they "do not represent the views of the company."