comScore Netflix Won't Drop Accused Rapist Danny Masterson | The Mary Sue
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Four Women Have Accused Danny Masterson of Rape, But Netflix Is Taking No Action

Don't watch The Ranch

Four different women have accused That ’70s Show actor Danny Masterson of raping or sexually assaulting them in the early 2000s, and a criminal prosecution is currently under consideration at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office – but Netflix will move forward with Masterson’s series The Ranch anyways.

In an emailed statement to HuffPost, a Netflix spokesperson said, “We are aware of the allegations and the subsequent investigation, and will respond if developments occur.” After they made the right call about cutting ties with Kevin Spacey, I have to ask: why the hell does Masterson, who is under criminal investigation by the L.A. district attorney, get a pass for being an accused predator?

Anonymous sources, some of whom are in the L.A. District Attorney’s Office, reportedly told HuffPost that the evidence against Masterson is “overwhelming” and includes “audiotapes, emails sent to and from Scientology officers at the time the alleged rapes happened, forensic computer evidence, and a threatening handwritten letter Masterson sent to one of the alleged victims.”

However, the case against Masterson has “inexplicably stalled,” as HuffPost phrased it. It’s unclear why charges haven’t been brought yet.

The case is further complicated by the fact that Masterson himself, and three of the women accusing him, are or were members of the church of Scientology. “Two of Masterson’s accusers initially reported being raped directly to the Church of Scientology,” wrote HuffPost. Reporting a fellow Scientologist to outside law enforcement is considered a “suppressive act,” punishable by immediate expulsion from the church. Expelled members face extreme ostracization, with even their friends and family members forbidden to speak to them.

Two of the women were reportedly even interviewed for Leah Remini’s documentary series, Scientology and the Aftermath, but the episode never aired after the District Attorney’s Office requested that they hold off until a decision was made about whether to file charges.

Despite the accusations against Masterson, The Ranch: Part 4 is still scheduled to premiere on Netflix in December, and sources report that Masterson and his co-star Ashton Kutcher are currently in the middle of filming The Ranch: Part 5. So why hasn’t production been stopped, as it was on House of Cards?

In Netflix’s very tenuous defense, Spacey was accused of sexual harassment and assault while on the jobwhich made his case far more pressing for them as an employer. They had a moral and legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace, and Spacey’s colleagues spoke out to say he was endangering them. Masterson’s crimes are not alleged to have happened on the set of The Ranch – so I can at least concede that they require a less immediate safety response from Netflix.

However, it’s been months since the charges were filed. Four different women have accused Masterson, suggesting a pattern of behavior rather than a single incident – a pattern which he could potentially be replicating with colleagues or coworkers. The fact that Netflix continues to place him in a position of power, knowing what he’s been accused of by multiple women, is disturbing and complicit. They must, at the very least, stop production until they hear from the DA’s Office. Stop giving alleged predators access to more victims.

(Via Huffpost and AV Club; image via Shutterstock)

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