“As a result of ongoing discussions, Netflix and the producers have written Danny Masterson out of ‘The Ranch,'” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday. “Yesterday was his last day on the show, and production will resume in early 2018 without him.”
Masterson’s departure comes amid mounting pressure over claims by four women who have accused the actor of rape. The Los Angeles County District Attorney and Los Angeles Police Department are currently investigating allegations against Masterson.
Masterson denied the “outrageous allegations” and blamed the current climate of sexual harassment in Hollywood for the resurfaced claims.
“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,” Masterson 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. 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.”
Part four of “The Ranch” is set to premiere on Netflix as scheduled Dec. 15, with additional episodes slated to premiere some time in 2018. Netflix has traditionally divided the series into 10-episode batches, each of which is part of a longer season. It is unknown how many episodes from will debut this month and how many will be held until next year. Masterson is not expected to appear in any episodes released after Dec. 15. Also unresolved is the fate of Masterson’s executive producer credit on the series.
The Huffington Post reported Monday that a Netflix executive, Andy Yeatman, told a woman who claims that Masterson raped her that the company does not believe any of Masterson’s accusers. According to the report, Yeatman was unaware at the time that the woman he was speaking to was herself one of Masterson’s accusers.
“The Ranch” was Netflix’s first multi-camera comedy — an area in which it has since expanded with additional series such as “Fuller House,” “One Day at a Time,” and “Disjointed.” The series stars Masterson and fellow “That ’70s Show” alum Ashton Kutcher as well as Debra Winger and Sam Elliott.
The decision to part ways with Masterson comes one day after Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos confirmed that original drama “House of Cards” would resume production in 2018 on a sixth and final season, this one set to star Robin Wright, but not her onscreen partner Kevin Spacey. Production of “House of Cards” season six was halted in October, following sexual-assault allegations against Spacey, who was later suspended from the production.