Netflix Fires Exec Who Told Danny Masterson Accuser "We Don't Believe" Rape Claims
Andy Yeatman, director of global kids content at Netflix, was at a children’s soccer game when one of Masterson’s accusers confronted him about the streamer’s involvement with the star of 'The Ranch.'
Netflix has fired the executive who told one of Danny Masterson's alleged sexual assault victims that he did not believe the claims against the former Ranch star, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
Andy Yeatman, director of global kids content at Netflix, was let go from Netflix on Monday over his early December comments, made on the sidelines of a children's soccer game. The Netflix exec is said to have not known that he was speaking to one of the accusers.
"Mr. Yeatman is no longer employed at Netflix," a Netflix spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday in a statement.
Yeatman responded on Wednesday morning with a statement that reads in part, "I am proud of Netflix's values and I condemn sexual violence in the strongest possible terms. I have always believed the victims' voices should be heard and that every victim should get the justice they deserve. My heart goes out to anyone who has been sexually assaulted or harmed in any way."
On Dec. 4, HuffPost published the account of an anonymous Masterson accuser — referred to as "Victim B" — who says that she met Yeatman at a soccer game in Los Angeles. When Victim B discovered that Yeatman worked for Netflix, she confronted him and asked why the streamer had not taken action against Masterson. According to HuffPost's retelling of the exchange, based on accounts from Victim B and other witnesses, Yeatman said that Netflix takes misconduct allegations seriously but "we don't believe" Masterson's accusers.
At the time, Netflix confirmed that Yeatman had made the comments, saying that "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."
The day after the HuffPost piece was published, Netflix announced that it had fired Masterson from The Ranch. "As a result of ongoing discussions, Netflix and the producers have written Danny Masterson out of The Ranch. [Monday] was his last day on the show, and production will resume in early 2018 without him," the company said in a Dec. 5 statement. Masterson will appear in the second half of season two, which debuts Friday, and could also appear in parts of season three.
Before Netflix cut ties with Masterson, the streaming giant drew criticism for continuing its relationship with the actor, who also served as co-executive producer of The Ranch. A Los Angeles Police Department investigation into allegations of sexual assault by multiple women in the early 2000s against Masterson became public in March. In July, several months after the LAPD investigation first came to light, Netflix renewed the scripted comedy, one of its most-watched series during the first 24 hours after release, for a third 20-episode season.
One of Masterson's accusers, Chrissie Carnell Bixler, spoke out against the streamer in November after it took quick action to suspend production of House of Cards following sexual assault allegations against star Kevin Spacey. "I will NOT shut my mouth when Netflix tries to make us feel like we don't matter," she told The Daily Beast. "We DO matter. We ARE important. We will see justice for what was done to us, and is continuing to be done to us ... and for all those who knew/know and are either actively helping this serial rapist or are choosing to stay silent ... YOU don't matter."
An online petition demanding that Netflix fire the star followed, garnering more than 38,000 signatures.
Masterson has denied the allegations. "I am obviously very disappointed in Netflix's decision to write my character off of The Ranch," he said in a statement responding to his firing. "From day one, I have denied the outrageous allegations against me. Law enforcement investigated these claims more than 15 years ago and determined them to be without merit. I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one."
Yeatman's full statement reads, "While I was coaching one of my daughter's soccer games, I was approached by a stranger who asked if I worked at Netflix. She went on to question why we were not canceling a show in which one of the actors was accused of sexual assault. To try and end the conversation and refocus on the soccer game I made a careless and uninformed comment. I did not know that the woman was one of the victims and I deeply regret that I did not have the opportunity to focus on the conversation.
"I am proud of Netflix's values and I condemn sexual violence in the strongest possible terms. I have always believed that victims' voices should be heard and that every victim should get the justice they deserve. My heart goes out to anyone who has been sexually assaulted or harmed in any way.
"I am truly grateful to all the friends, colleagues and members of my community who know me and my family and have reached out to support us during this difficult time. For those who don't know me and only read the headlines, think about yourself in this situation and how a 30-second conversation on amorning could change the course of your life."
Dec. 13, 11:46 a.m. Updated to include Yeatman's statement.