Netflix Exec Tells Alleged Danny Masterson Rape Victim the Company Doesn’t Believe Actor’s Accusers
When Kevin Spacey was hit with allegations of sexual misconduct, Netflix took swift, immediate action: Production on House of Cards was suspended as Netflix launched an internal investigation, and Spacey’s employment with the streaming giant was terminated. While the company acted responsibly in the wake of growing allegations against Spacey, it also came under fire for its hypocrisy. Danny Masterson, star of The Ranch, is the subject of an active police investigation based on four women’s claims that the actor raped them in the early 2000s. Netflix has taken no action against Masterson, and according to at least one company executive, there’s a disturbing reason behind it.
As reported by The Huffington Post, one of Masterson’s accusers recently confronted a Netflix exec about his ongoing employment, only to be dismissed and told that the company doesn’t believe the four women who claim to have been raped by the actor over a decade ago. Netflix confirmed that the executive — Andy Yeatman, director of global kids content — spoke with the unnamed woman, referred to only as Victim B, in a statement that described his comments as “careless” and “uninformed.”
Victim B approached Yeatman over the weekend at a kids’ soccer game in Los Angeles. Her husband is the head coach of a team that was playing against a team coached by Yeatman. Both families have young daughters on their respective teams. Victim B asked Yeatman if he works for Netflix, and when he said yes, she asked why the company continues to employ Masterson, who is being investigated by the Los Angeles police and district attorney’s office for allegedly raping four women.
As corroborated by another witness, Yeatman told Victim B that, although the company takes such allegations seriously, they “don’t believe” Masterson’s accusers. Not only was Yeatman unaware that he was speaking with one of the actor’s victims, but he appears to have been completely oblivious to the way his comments doubled down on Netflix’s hypocrisy.
Victim B says she informed Yeatman that she is one of the women who accused Masterson of rape, and the conversation ended. Not long after, Yeatman found Victim B and said that he didn’t realize she was one of Masterson’s alleged victims. At that point, Victim B says she was crying and told Yeatman, “I hope no one ever says that to your daughter.” Yeatman is said to have responded by explaining that he has no authority over how Netflix handles the claims against Masterson.
In an official statement, Netflix confirmed that Yeatman made these comments and offered a poor explanation for Masterson’s continued employment:
While he was coaching a youth soccer match today, Mr. Yeatman ― a Netflix kids’ programming executive ― was approached by a stranger who did not identify herself or explain her connection to Danny Masterson. Mr. Yeatman’s comments were careless, uninformed and do not represent the views of the company. Further, he would have no insights into decision making on The Ranch. We are aware of the allegations against Danny Masterson and we are following the current investigation, and will respond if developments occur.
That ridiculous statement, which does not include an apology and begins by passive-aggressively shaming Victim B for not making her status as a victim immediately known to Yeatman, really should read “Mr. Yeatman stuck his foot farther in his mouth than ever thought humanly possible and summarily folded into himself, blinking out of existence before we could fire him for promoting such a toxic perspective.”
This interaction is beyond cringe-inducing. It surpasses inappropriate and indecent. It’s offensive, and here’s why: A woman should not have to begin every conversation about sexual misconduct by declaring that she is a victim. A woman should not have to use her victimhood to qualify her position, validate her opinions, or justify questions any reasonable person has a right to ask. Furthermore, Mr. Yeatman and Netflix have implied that he can’t be expected to speak with respect and integrity without being informed of a woman’s trauma.
Common sense would seem to dictate that if Netflix swiftly fired Kevin Spacey within a week of the first allegation of sexual misconduct, that they should act with equal decisiveness when it comes to the star of another one of the company’s Original Series. Why was Spacey promptly dismissed while Masterson continues to receive a paycheck? Masterson’s case is different from Spacey’s, but the biggest way in which it’s different only further supports the need to fire him: Masterson is being actively investigated by the Los Angeles police and district attorney’s office for allegedly raping four women. One woman should be enough, let alone four.
In their statement, Netflix suggests that they are not involved with or aware of the decision making on The Ranch, in which Masterson appears opposite former fellow That ’70s Show star Ashton Kutcher. If true, that’s a rather irresponsible stance to take, but Netflix didn’t seem to have much trouble getting involved with production and decision making on House of Cards. Something doesn’t add up.
And it’s not as if the investigation into the accusations against Masterson is even relatively new: The investigation has been ongoing for almost a year, prompted by four women who claim Masterson drugged them and raped them in the early 2000s. Netflix was made aware of the allegations back in March, when journalist Tony Ortega uncovered the LAPD’s investigation. An attorney for the actor denied the accusations and said that, as a Scientologist, Masterson eschews all drug use.
Three of the four accusers are former members of the Church of Scientology; they were active members at the time of the alleged rapes.
Despite the church’s ordinance against reporting fellow members to law enforcement, Victim B filed a report against Masterson in 2004. The Los Angeles Police Department subsequently received “dozens” of affidavits from church members attacking her credibility. It’s unclear if Masterson’s relationship with Scientology is definitively playing a role in Netflix’s refusal to terminate his employment.
Whatever the case may be, it is absurd that Netflix has continued to employ an actor accused of raping multiple women while patting themselves on the back for dismissing Spacey so quickly.