Danny Masterson is done at Netflix. The actor, who is facing multiple allegations of rape, has been fired from the streaming giant’s scripted comedy The Ranch.
“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,” Netflix said in a statement.
Masterson will still appear in the second half of season two, due Dec. 15, and could return for parts of the previously announced third season as the streaming giant writes him out of the Ashton Kutcher comedy. It’s unclear if another actor will be brought in to make up for the void. (Kutcher famously came in as the new male lead after Charlie Sheen was fired from CBS’ Two and a Half Men.)
The LAPD has been investigating sexual assault claims against Masterson and a potential Church of Scientology cover-up since March. Three women came forward at the time with claims that the actor sexual assaulted them. The claims stem from an alleged victim’s 16-year-old claims that were brought to light after contact with Leah Remini as part of her A&E docuseries Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.
In November, after Netflix suspended House of Cards star Kevin Spacey following sexual assault allegations, Chrissie Carnell Bixler, one of the women who accused Masterson of rape, blasted Netflix for its continued relationship with Masterson.
“What Netflix has done, feels like…I don’t matter. The other women don’t matter. Our pain means nothing, and we should be good little girls and shut our mouths. No!” she said. “I’m going to be an amazing woman who will NOT shut my mouth when I find out my rapist raped countless other women. I will NOT shut my mouth when Netflix tries to make us feel like we don’t matter. We DO matter. We ARE important. We will see justice for what was done to us, and is continuing to be done to us…and for all those who knew/know and are either actively helping this serial rapist or are choosing to stay silent…YOU don’t matter.”
On Monday (Dec. 4) , Netflix came under fire again when one of Masterson’s alleged victims recounted a story to the Huffington Post that a Netflix executive told her he did not believe four women who have made claims against the actor. The executive, director of global kids content Andy Yeatman, did not know he was speaking to one of Masterson’s alleged victims until she identified herself as such.
As of Monday, a petition calling for Netflix to cancel The Ranch had earned support from more than 38,000 people.
Masterson denied the allegations on Tuesday (Dec. 5) morning and said he was “disappointed” in Netflix’s decision.
“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,” he said in a statement. “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.”
The statement continued, “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 Ranch centers on a failed semi-pro football player (Kutcher) who returns home to Colorado to help run the family ranching business with his dad (Sam Elliott) and his brother (Masterson). Two and a Half Men alums Don Reo and Jim Patterson serve as showrunners alongside Kutcher. Masterson also produced the multicamera comedy, which is produced in-house at Netflix. The series marked a reunion for Kutcher and Masterson, who both started out on That ’70s Show.
While Netflix does not release viewership information, the streamer noted in October that The Ranch was its fifth-most-watched original series within its first 24 hours of release. Netflix’s move to fire Masterson comes after the streaming giant cut all ties with Spacey, dropping a planned movie with the actor and — following a weeks-long production shutdown — moving forward with the shortened final season of House of Cards without the star and exec producer.
For their part, Reo and Patterson have faced the challenge of writing out a star before. The duo were exec producers and writers on CBS’ Two and a Half Men when Kutcher was brought in to replace Sheen.