One day after a HuffPost report revealed that actor Danny Masterson is the subject of a criminal investigation into allegations of rape by four women, Netflix, which produces and airs the program he co-stars on, “The Ranch,” has told HuffPost it isn’t taking any action against him.
“We are aware of the allegations and the subsequent investigation, and will respond if developments occur,” a Netflix spokesman said in a statement emailed to HuffPost.
Four women have accused Masterson of violently raping them in the early 2000s. One year ago, the Los Angeles Police Department opened an investigation into the claims and found the evidence compelling enough to refer the case to the Los Angeles County district attorney. The investigation has been overseen by one of the top prosecutors in the office, Reinhold Mueller.
One of Masterson’s accusers initially filed an LAPD report in 2004 saying that she was raped in 2003 while she was “passed out” and that, when she awoke and realized Masterson was raping her, she struggled with him until he choked her and she passed out again. The case was not referred to the district attorney at the time after more than 50 members of the Church of Scientology, which both Masterson and his accuser belonged to, submitted affidavits to the LAPD denying the woman’s account. The tactic is a common one for the organization, which is known for using fear and intimidation in order to silence anyone perceived as attacking Scientology.
Two of Masterson’s accusers initially reported being raped directly to the Church of Scientology. Scientology rules say that members of the church must never report a Scientologist to law enforcement. The punishment would be immediate expulsion from the church, which would include family and friends being ordered not to associate with or speak to the banished member.
HuffPost was the first to reveal that there is a fourth accuser who has been interviewed by the district attorney’s office. Additional information about that accuser is not available.
The evidence that the district attorney has amassed as part of this case has been described as “compelling” and “overwhelming” by multiple sources 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.
HuffPost was the first to report that there were concerns in the district attorney’s office that the investigation had inexplicably stalled despite the substantial evidence.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has declined to comment on the case.
Netflix announced that “The Ranch: Part 4” would premiere on its website in December. The company made the announcement on Oct. 17, seven months after news of the LAPD investigation was made public by journalist Tony Ortega and subsequently reported by multiple news outlets.
According to a source familiar with “The Ranch” production schedule, Masterson and co-star Ashton Kutcher are in the process of filming Part 5 of “The Ranch.”
Two days after a BuzzFeed report that detailed a sexual misconduct allegation against actor and producer Kevin Spacey by actor Anthony Rapp, Netflix suspended filming of Spacey’s “House of Cards” series. It’s unclear why it hasn’t made a similar decision when Masterson is the subject of a years-long law enforcement investigation involving four allegations of rape.
A Netflix spokesman has not immediately replied to follow-up questions sent after its statement about not taking action against Masterson.
UPDATE: Nov. 7 ― The Church of Scientology provided a statement to HuffPost late Monday, saying that it “has no practice or policy forbidding the reporting of criminal wrongdoing allegedly committed by Scientologists or anyone else, nor does the Church expel, let alone punish, members who report crimes.”
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