Former actor Danny Masterson, renowned for his role in “That ’70s Show,” received a 30-year-to-life prison sentence on Thursday for sexually assaulting two women. In September 2021, a Los Angeles jury found the 45-year-old actor guilty of three counts of rape.
The victims, identified as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, testified that Masterson had assaulted them at his Hollywood Hills residence in 2001 and 2003, respectively, alleging that he had provided them with alcohol and drugs prior to the incidents.
Masterson vehemently denied these allegations, and his defense team contended that the accusers were driven by financial motives and a desire for attention. Nevertheless, the jury reached a guilty verdict after deliberating for slightly over four hours.
During the sentencing, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven W. Van Sicklen underscored Masterson’s “lack of remorse” for his actions and highlighted how he had exploited his celebrity status to victimize others.
Masterson’s conviction stands as a significant milestone for the #MeToo movement, which has brought to light issues of sexual assault and harassment within the entertainment industry. It represents one of the first major convictions of a celebrity accused of sexual assault since Harvey Weinstein’s guilty verdict in 2020.
The legal case against Masterson was initially filed in 2017 but encountered multiple delays, including an unsuccessful attempt by Masterson’s legal team to have it dismissed. In 2019, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office dropped the charges against Masterson based on “credible” allegations that one of the victims had misled the grand jury. However, the charges were reinstated in 2020 following an independent investigation that uncovered sufficient evidence to proceed.
While Masterson’s conviction signifies progress for the #MeToo movement, it serves as a reminder that many women have accused powerful men of sexual assault, and securing justice remains a formidable challenge.
Nevertheless, the Masterson case provides hope, demonstrating that it is feasible to hold influential individuals accountable for their actions and offering reassurance to other victims that their voices will be heard and believed.
Masterson is currently incarcerated at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles and intends to appeal his conviction.
The Aftermath of the Verdict
Reactions to the Danny Masterson verdict have been mixed. Some applaud the justice system for holding him accountable, while others express concerns about the prolonged nature of the case and Masterson’s persistent denial of guilt.
The case has also reignited debates surrounding the #MeToo movement. Some argue it has gone too far, while others assert its essential role in holding powerful individuals responsible for their actions.
The Masterson case is complex, and there are no easy answers. Nevertheless, the verdict undeniably represents a significant victory for the #MeToo movement and all survivors of sexual assault.
The Legacy of Danny Masterson
The legacy of the Danny Masterson case is poised to have a lasting impact on Hollywood. It serves as a stark reminder that even high-profile celebrities can face consequences for their actions, reinforcing the enduring strength of the #MeToo movement and its commitment to believing survivors of sexual assault.
The case also serves as a cautionary tale for other celebrities, making it abundantly clear that they can no longer evade accountability when facing allegations of sexual assault. Such individuals will now confront legal repercussions.
The legacy of Danny Masterson is still unfolding, but it is evident that he will be remembered as one of the first major celebrities to be convicted of sexual assault in the #MeToo era.