Update: Shortly after this piece was written, Danny Masterson released a statement in response to his firing. It is presented in full at the bottom of the article.
Netflix has opted to fire embattled The Ranch star Danny Masterson, following a series of rape allegations made against the actor. This comes after criticism of the streaming giant recently heated up again for continuing to employ Masterson while quickly cutting ties with other alleged perpetrators of sexual misconduct like Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. Masterson stands accused of raping four women, and the LAPD and LA County DA say that they're still investigating the matter.
It's likely that Netflix finally deciding to let Masterson go from The Ranch has something to do with another recent hit of bad publicity the company suffered due to continuing working with the actor. This past weekend, one of Masterson's alleged victims personally confronted Netflix executive Andy Yeatman while both were on the sidelines of a youth soccer game in Los Angeles. The accuser asked the executive why Netflix had not taken any action against Masterson, to which Yeatman replied that the company didn't believe the rape allegations were true. Netflix subsequently released a statement calling Yeatman's comments "careless" and "uninformed," and said that they didn't represent the position of corporate brass as a whole.
According to a statement Netflix made to TV Line, Masterson's last day of filming on The Ranch was Monday, and he will not be returning to set once production resumes in early 2018. While he will no longer be starring on the series, Netflix has yet to specify whether Masterson will continue to be credited as an executive producer on the show. One would assume that if removing Masterson from that behind-the-scenes role is legally possible, Netflix will do so.
Premiering in spring 2016, The Ranch was Netflix's first traditional multi-camera comedy, and marked the reunion of former That 70's Show stars Masterson and Ashton Kutcher as Colorado brothers Colt and Jameson "Rooster" Bennett. Sam Elliott and Debra Winger play the Bennett parents, while Elisha Cuthbert portrays Colt's love interest Abby. The Ranch was quickly renewed for season 2, then picked up for season 3 this past summer.
Worth nothing though is that Masterson's onscreen exit from The Ranch won't be immediate. The second half of season 2 drops on December 15, and Masterson will appear in all the episodes. He'll also appear in however many episodes of season 3 that he already shot. That makes sense, as being a series lead, they obviously can't just remove his scenes from episodes already filmed. It remains to be seen how Masterson's character will be written out of the show, but considering the apparent suddenness of this decision, it wouldn't be entirely surprising to see him just disappear with little to no in-story explanation.
Danny Masterson's statement, via The Huffington Post:
"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. In this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current political 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."
The Ranch season 2.5 hits Netflix on December 15.
Source: TV Line