2001-2002 seems to be a high point for Hollywood rape. If you believe in statistical modes, it’s an eerily common time period for 2017 hindsight sexual assault allegations. Saying shit happened to you fifteen years ago is extremely convenient for public attention, much less so for criminal prosecution. Fifteen year old charges can be a bitch to defend against. If you can even remember where you lived at the time.
Danny Masterson is the latest in a long string of entertainers removed from their production gigs in the wake of allegations of sexual impropriety. Masterson’s now four accusers have leveled quite serious charges of rape in the early 2000’s, all of which seem to have been brought forward at the time and not charged criminally by police. The accusers claims it’s because they were part of the Scientology Church along with Masterson and the Church used their excessive influence with Los Angeles officials to squelch prosecution. Maybe so. We only know an arrest never happened.
Some number of the ladies re-brought the charges against Masterson earlier this year, which you can legally do, because why not. Since somebody in show business actually made the effort to file formal complaints with the cops, among the hundreds of #MeToo’s that did not, L.A.P.D. are kind of obligated to follow up.
Netflix decided not to wait to find out the outcome of the investigation and preemptively relieved Masterson of his work responsibilities on their show, The Ranch. It’s a show that might be okay but since Ashton Kutcher’s mug pervades, you skip. This after Netflix shit-canned Spacey from House of Cards and seemed to be dragging their feet on going full allegation-fire on Masterson. In fact, HuffPo and their trail of tears liberal arts college white women editorial staff reported that a Netflix exec told a Masterson accuser off-mic that he didn’t believe the accusers. Whoops. He’s future fired too.
Masterson accepted being written off the show with some level of acceptance, while wondering if maybe people shouldn’t be fired on unproven allegations alone:
“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. 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.”
Who knows if Masterson is guilty or not. Not you or I. He does raise a reasonably valuable element of U.S. jurisprudence tradition. That is, waiting for the conviction prior to the sentencing. Though private companies are certainly not bound by the same principles of justice, you’d think they’d at least acknowledge the fact that they’re firing a dude based entirely off of refuted and as yet unproven allegations. You know, while setting a super dangerous precedent that allegations alone are a termination worthy event. Believe that will come back to haunt them all in some form of karmic justice down the road.
I wouldn’t want my daughter working alongside a guy who four other women claim once raped them. Even if the women’s credibility wasn’t entirely certain. The odds of Masterson raping Kutcher remain almost nil, though even the small chance would seem to merit some consideration.
The hottest job in Hollywood at the moment are writers penning sexually accused actors out of key TV show roles at Netflix. Probably just random bad luck. Though they might consider amending their casting background checks to include, have you ever been convicted of rape, accused of rape by multiple people, or do you ever plan on raping somebody while working here at Netflix.