Danny Masterson, who played Steven Hyde on That 70’s Show through all eight seasons, has been charged with the rape of three women at various times during the early 2000s. The actor also appeared on Netflix comedy The Ranch with fellow That 70’s Show cast member Ashton Kutcher, but Masterson was fired in 2017 when it was announced that he was under investigation by the LAPD.
Masterson began his career as a child actor, appearing in guest spots or one-off episodes on shows like Roseanne, Party of Five and NYPD Blue. He then became a household name playing Hyde on That 70’s Show, appearing in all 200 episodes that aired from 1998 to 2006. The rape allegations came to light in 2016, and in 2017 the LAPD announced that they were investigating Masterson. That was when the producers of The Ranch announced that Masterson would not be returning to the show. Last year, Masterson, who is a Scientologist, and the Church of Scientology were sued by four women who alleged that they and their families had been harassed and stalked by members of the Church of Scientology for reporting the rapes.
Now, Variety is reporting that the LAPD arrested Masterson on Wednesday morning, on three counts of rape. He was granted bail at $3.3 million and has been released. The charges allege that Masterson raped a 23-year-old woman sometime in 2001, a 28-year-old woman in April 2003, and another 23-year-old woman in late 2003. The LAPD had been investigating two other cases against Masterson but has not pursued them due to insufficient evidence in one case, and the other exceeding the statute of limitations.
The That 70’s Show star released a statement via his attorney saying that he denies the charges and will fight to clear his name. The statement reports that Masterson and his wife are “in shock” at the charges, saying people who know Masterson know “the allegations to be false” and that the “truth will come out.” If convicted of all three charges, Masterson faces up to 45 years in prison.
While these allegations are nothing new, the fact that the LAPD has chosen to arrest Masterson means that they must believe that the charges will stick. Masterson is one of many Hollywood stars to be accused of sexual misconduct in recent years, with the case of Harvey Weinstein being the most high profile. Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison earlier this year. Other stars accused of sexual misconduct include Kevin Spacey, Max Landis, TJ Miller, and Casey Affleck.
Masterson’s arrest will only serve to further illuminate the power imbalance in Hollywood, and will likely see the Me Too cause rightfully gain traction in the public consciousness once again. Whether Masterson is guilty or not, it’s clear that Hollywood needs to address the issue of sexual assault and take a stand for women who have been sexually abused or raped by men in the movie industry.
More: That ‘70s Show: What Happened To Hyde’s Parents