After facing increasing pressure to take some form of action, Netflix has fired The Ranch star Danny Masterson, effective immediately. The actor stands accused of raping four women in the early 2000s; the Los Angeles County District Attorney and Los Angeles Police Department continue to investigate the claims.
“As a result of ongoing discussions, Netflix and the producers have written Danny Masterson out of The Ranch,” a Netflix spokesperson tells TVLine. “[Monday] was his last day on the show, and production will resume in early 2018 without him.”
On The Ranch, Masterson stars alongside fellow That ’70s Show alum Ashton Kutcher. Masterson exits the multi-cam series in the middle of production on the comedy’s third season. According to sources, Masterson’s character, Jameson “Rooster” Bennett, will continue to appear through the second half of Season 2 (dropping Dec. 15) as well as in an unspecified number of episodes in Season 3 before being written out. (Update: Masterson has released a statement.)
Netflix’s decision comes just days after one of Masterson’s accusers confronted Netflix exec Andy Yeatman in public about the streaming giant’s silence with regard to the actor. Yeatman allegedly told the woman that the higher-ups at the company don’t believe Masterson’s accusers. (Netflix later called the exec’s comments “careless” and “uninformed.”)
Netflix’s inaction with Masterson sparked outrage and cries of hypocrisy after the company swiftly fired House of Cards actor Kevin Spacey for sexual misconduct. A petition demanding Netflix cancel The Ranch has gathered nearly 40,000 signatures.
Masterson also serves as an exec producer on The Ranch, although there’s no word if he will maintain the title. It’s also unclear how The Ranch will address Masterson’s absence, but it seems inevitable that another actor (or actress) will be brought in to fill the co-star void.