One of actor Danny Masterson's alleged sexual assault victims says a Netflix executive told her this weekend that higher-ups at the company don't believe the four women who have accused Masterson of violent rape.
Netflix confirmed in a statement thatAndy Yeatman, its director of global kids content, made those "careless" and "uninformed" comments, but noted that he was not initially aware that the woman he was speaking to had accused Masterson of rape.
Masterson stars in the Netflix program "The Ranch," alongside his former "That '70s Show" co-star Ashton Kutcher ("That '70s Show" is also streaming on Netflix). Although four women have accused Masterson of raping them and the Los Angeles County District Attorney and Los Angeles Police Department are investigating the allegations, Netflix has not taken any action against the actor, not even a suspension pending investigation.
The lack of action on Netflix's part ― even though the company moved quickly to suspend and then fire Kevin Spacey after BuzzFeed published a report detailing an allegation of sexual misconduct against the actor ― has led to outrage on Twitter, an online petition that had gained over 36,000 signatures by Monday morning, and a Daily Beast story titled "Netflix's Disturbing Sexual-Assault Hypocrisy."
Victim B told HuffPost she never expected Yeatman to say such a thing and was left stunned. She said she then told him, "I'm one of them."
Yeatman spoke with the woman, whom HuffPost is referring to as Victim B, on the sidelines of a kids' soccer game in Los Angeles. Yeatman is the head coach of a soccer team for 8- and 9-year-old girls. Victim B's husband is the head coach of the team that played against Yeatman's on Sunday. Their respective daughters play on the teams that their fathers coach.
When Victim B approached Yeatman and asked him if he worked at Netflix, she says he answered in the affirmative.
Victim B said she asked Yeatman why Netflix was not taking action against Masterson in light of the district attorney's investigation and the multiple accusations of rape. According to Victim B and another witness, Yeatman said Netflix takes sexual misconduct allegations seriously but that "we don't believe them," referring to Masterson's four accusers.
Victim B told HuffPost she never expected Yeatman to say such a thing and was left stunned. She said she then told him, "I'm one of them," indicating she was one of Masterson's accusers.
The conversation ended quickly.
Victim B said Yeatman approached her at the game about an hour later, ostensibly to clear the air, and told her that he'd had no idea she was one of Masterson's alleged victims.
Victim B told HuffPost that she began to cry and told Yeatman, "I hope no one ever says that to your daughter."
Yeatman then told her that he can't decide whether Netflix takes action against Masterson.
Victim B told Yeatman that she and the other women accusing Masterson of rape were telling the truth and that "Netflix is going to regret this, this is a mistake, they're going to see."
Victim B said, and the witness confirmed, that Yeatman said, in what they described as a condescending tone, "we'll see."
A Netflix spokesman denied that Yeatman said "we'll see."
But the company confirmed in a statement that Yeatman told Victim B that Netflix executives didn't believe the four women accusing Masterson of rape.
"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," the statement read. "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."
Victim B said she initially approached Yeatman when she found out from her husband that he was a Netflix executive. Frustrated by the silence from Netflix on the Masterson issue, she said she hoped he could provide some direction. She said she didn't intend to identify herself as an alleged victim until Yeatman said higher-ups at Netflix didn't believe Masterson's accusers. Victim B noted that she had seen Yeatman in the past at other soccer games and that her husband knew him from previous games.
Masterson has been the subject of an almost year-long investigation conducted by the LAPD and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. Four women have accused Masterson of violently raping them in the early 2000s. They have told law enforcement that they believe Masterson spiked their drinks with something that led them to black out before and during the alleged rapes.
Masterson has denied all allegations of rape and said that the encounters in question were consensual. An attorney for the actor denied that Masterson ever placed any drugs in someone else's drink and said that as a Scientologist, Masterson has a strict anti-drug policy for himself and for guests in his home.
Sources in the police department and district attorney's office have described the evidence against Masterson as "compelling" and "overwhelming."
Netflix has known about the accusations since at least March, when journalist Tony Ortega revealed that the LAPD had an active investigation into multiple allegations of rape against the actor.
Three of the women who have accused Masterson were members of the Church of Scientology at the time they say they were raped. Church doctrine says that contacting law enforcement to report another Scientologist is a high crime and will lead to being declared a suppressive person ― meaning that person will be shunned from the church, and their friends and family members who are church members must stop speaking to them.
Despite that edict, Victim B filed a police report against Masterson in 2004. But the case was quickly thwarted when dozens of Scientologists filed affidavits with the LAPD claiming that Victim B wasn't telling the truth.
The LAPD officially reopened the case against Masterson in January, and referred it to the district attorney in April. Sources in the police department and district attorney's office have described the evidence against Masterson as "compelling" and "overwhelming."
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