After facing numerous sexual assault allegations, Danny Masterson has been dropped by top Hollywood agency United Talent Agency. The former That ’70s Show actor had been with the agency for 20 years. A source close to Masterson told HuffPost that UTA made the decision to part ways some time ago. Masterson was also recently fired from the Netflix show The Ranch, which he previously starred in alongside former That ’70s Show actor Ashton Kutcher.
In total, five women have come forward and stated that Masterson violently raped them in the early 2000s. One of the women filed a report with the Los Angeles Police Department in 2004 after being allegedly raped by Masterson in 2003. The LAPD did not move forward with the case at the time but opened an investigation in 2016 after receiving reports from three additional women.
During the investigation, a fourth woman came forward, and on December 20th, 2017, Masterson’s ex-girlfriend, actress Bobette Riales, became the fifth woman to come forward with allegations against him. In a statement made by his representative to The Hollywood Reporter, Masterson denied all allegations.
Three of the women who were initially part of the LAPD investigation were members of the Church of Scientology at the time of the alleged assaults, and Masterson is a member as well. This has led some to speculate that the church may have helped, in some way, to cover up the crimes at the time.
Former Church of Scientology members told Fox News that the church systemically covers up crimes and inappropriate actions committed by members. Former member Chris Shelton said, “The church works to protect the church first…it creates an ‘us versus them’ mentality [and tells] members that ‘wogs’ [non-members] and law enforcement won’t protect them.”
Independent journalist Tony Ortega has investigated the way sexual assault victims are treated inside the Church of Scientology. He told Fox News that the church uses an “internal justice system” that is not always fair to victims. “They will keep lying, lying and lying,” Ortega said. “They’ll cover up and double down.”
The church released a statement denying this, saying, “the church adamantly denies that it ever ignores any allegations of criminal behavior, especially at the expense of alleged victims.”
While UTA did not explicitly state its reasons for parting ways with Masterson, it seems likely at this point these allegations have something to do with it. We’re glad that Masterson’s victims are finally seeing justice, and we’ll be monitoring this case as it unfolds.