Netflix announced today that the company will write actor Danny Masterson out of its original series The Ranch, following allegations from multiple women who say Masterson raped them in the early 2000s. A Netflix statement says Monday was Masterson’s last day on set, and that the comedy series will continue in 2018 without him.
The announcement comes one day after the Huffington Post reported that one of Masterson’s alleged victims approached Netflix executive Andy Yeatman at a children’s soccer game in Los Angeles this weekend and asked why Netflix hadn’t responded to the allegations against Masterson. Yeatman, Netflix’s director of global kids’ content, reportedly responded, “We don’t believe them.” Yeatman later reportedly said he wasn’t in a position to make any decisions about Masterson.
At least four women have accused Masterson of raping them in the early 2000s. Masterson has been under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department for about a year, according to the Huffington Post, but the case has stalled, apparently in large part due to Masterson’s Scientology affiliation. The Huffington Post reports that after one of Masterson’s accusers filed a police report in 2004 saying that Masterson raped her while she was “passed out,” “the Church of Scientology intervened and submitted more than 50 affidavits from Scientologists who denied the woman’s account.”
Back in March, journalist Tony Ortega broke the story 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 Huffington Post reporter Yashar Ali that evidence against Masterson was “overwhelming,” but the case was slow to move forward in the Los Angeles district attorney’s office.
Masterson, who is probably best known for playing Steven Hyde on That 70’s Show, has denied the allegations.
Ten episodes of The Ranch’s second season, which Masterson executive produces along with Ashton Kutcher, are set to land on Netflix on December 15th. A Netflix spokesperson told The Daily Beast that Masterson would still appear in those episodes, plus several season 3 episodes set to premiere in 2018. The streaming service hasn’t commented on whether Masterson will remain an executive producer on the series.
Last month, Netflix fired Kevin Spacey from House of Cards and canceled a Gore Vidal biopic starring Spacey following allegations of sexual assault and harassment. The company also quickly cut ties with Louis CK after the comedian admitted to accusations of sexual misconduct. Netflix has been slower to react to accusations against Masterson, which have been public for months.
The Verge has reached out to Netflix for comment and will update with any new information.