“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,” a spokesperson for Netflix said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Dec. 5.
Masterson will still appear in the second half of Season 2, which premieres Dec. 15, as he already filmed that set of episodes.
It’s unclear how his character, Jameson (Rooster) Bennett, will be written out of the comedy series, which stars his former That ’70s Show co-star Ashton Kutcher. Masterson’s executive producer credit on the show is also unresolved.
Masterson responded to the news in a statement to Huffington Post by his lawyer. “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. I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one. 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.”
The actor continued, “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’s decision to cut ties with the actor comes in wake of the Huffington Post publishing a story Monday about one of Masterson’s alleged victims having a conversation this past weekend with a Netflix executive about their decision to keep Masterson on The Ranch.
According to the report, the executive, Andy Yeatman, told the woman they didn’t believe the alleged victims, after which she revealed she was one of them.
Netflix responded to the report in a statement calling Yeatman’s remarks “careless, uninformed, and do not represent the views of the company.”
“We are aware of the allegations against Danny Masterson,” the statement continued, “and we are following the current investigation, and will respond if developments occur.”
As of Monday, a petition calling for Netflix to cancel The Ranch had earned support from more than 39,000 people.
The Los Angeles Police Department has been investigating sexual assault allegations against the That ’70s Show actor since March. Four women claimed Masterson raped them in the early 2000s.
At least three of the women were Scientologists and said they reported the alleged assaults to the Church of Scientology at the time.
Masterson denied the allegations in a statement in March, calling them “false.”
A representative for Masterson claims that the women were motivated to come forward by a producer for Leah Remini‘s Scientology TV show, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, and the rep also says one of the accusers was once his girlfriend, who continued to date him after the alleged incident. His rep has attacked the credibility of the accusations, saying it amounts to nothing more than a PR stunt for the show and against Scientology. Here is the statement in full:
“We are aware of [the alleged victim’s] 16-year-old allegations. It was only after [the alleged victim] was in contact with Leah Remini that she made allegations of sexual assault by Mr. Masterson. The alleged incident occurred in the middle of their 6-year relationship, after which she continued to be his longtime girlfriend. Significantly, during their long relationship, she made numerous inconsistent claims that she was previously raped by at least 3 other famous actors and musicians.
“When Danny ended the relationship she continued to pursue him, even making threats to beat up his current wife Bijou Phillips unless she left him. In fact, we are informed by the Church that the only demand [the alleged victim] made of the Church after Danny broke up with her was asking for their help to intervene so the breakup would not be permanent.
“We are aware also that approximately 14 years ago a woman referred to in the blog made allegations of sexual assault that the LADP [sic] interviewed numerous witnesses and determined the claim had no merit. Based on reading the anti-Scientology blog that posted this story, these false allegations appear to be motivated to boost Leah Remini’s anti-Scientology television series since [the alleged victim] only came forward after connecting with Leah Remini.”
—With files from Chris JancelewiczFollow @KatieScottNews
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