On the sidelines of a children’s soccer game in Los Angeles this month, a Netflix executive reportedly told a woman that people at the company did not believe the rape allegations against Danny Masterson, an actor who was starring in the series “The Ranch.”
Andy Yeatman, the executive, did not know that the woman he was speaking to was one of several who had come forward to accuse Mr. Masterson of rape, HuffPost reported. Shortly after she revealed this, the conversation came to an abrupt end.
On Wednesday, Netflix confirmed that the executive, Andy Yeatman, no longer worked for the streaming service.
Four women have alleged that Mr. Masterson sexually assaulted them. A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department said it was investigating the claims, and Netflix said last week that it had fired Mr. Masterson from “The Ranch,” a comedy series also starring Ashton Kutcher.
Mr. Masterson has denied the claims against him, calling them “outrageous.”
Until this week, Mr. Yeatman was the director of global children’s content for Netflix. The company acknowledged Mr. Yeatman’s conversation at the soccer game in a statement reported by HuffPost on Dec. 4.
“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.
HuffPost reported that, when asked why Netflix had not yet done anything about Mr. Masterson in light of the rape accusations, Mr. Yeatman said the company took allegations of sexual misconduct seriously but said of the accusers, “We don’t believe them.”
The conversation ended shortly after he learned that the woman was among those accusing Mr. Masterson, but Mr. Yeatman reportedly approached her about an hour later to clear the air.
In its statement, Netflix said Mr. Yeatman’s comments “were careless, uninformed and do not represent the views of the company.”
Mr. Yeatman did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment on Wednesday.
“Law enforcement investigated these claims more than 15 years ago and determined them to be without merit,” Mr. Masterson said in a statement. “I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one. In this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current climate, it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused.”
One woman who filed a report said that Mr. Masterson anally raped her, while another said he raped her while she was passed out and then choked her when she woke up. Police reports about the allegations were published in March by Tony Ortega, a former editor of The Village Voice and an outspoken critic of the Church of Scientology.
Mr. Masterson, a Scientologist, is best known for playing Steven Hyde, a main character on the sitcom “That ’70s Show.” He will continue to appear in the already filmed fourth part of “The Ranch,” scheduled for release on Friday, and in some episodes to premiere next year.
Since last month, tens of thousands of people had signed online petitions expressing outrage that Mr. Masterson was still working on the series months after allegations against him were publicized.