Veteran sitcom star Danny Masterson will likely spend the next few decades behind bars.
Masterson, 47, was convicted of raping two women and will serve two, 15-year sentences back to back barring a successful appeal.
The verdict ends a tragic news cycle involving the “That ’70s Show” star, who most recently worked on the Netflix comedy “The Ranch.” His former sitcom colleagues have rallied to his side in a way that might not have been possible a few years ago.
“That ’70s Show” alum Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher penned a letter supporting Masterson and attempting to shrink the number of years he might serve behind bars. They said Masterson helped them avoid some of the Hollywood pitfalls when their TV sitcom vaulted them to star status.
It didn’t work. Here’s part of what Kutcher wrote on the actor’s behalf.
“I do not believe he is an ongoing harm to society and having his daughter raised without a present father would a tertiary injustice in and of itself.”
Masterson also drew support from other ex-colleagues, including Giovanni Ribisi.
“I know Danny has been convicted of two counts of forcible rape. I only ask that you consider his daughter in his sentencing. He is a good father and he is important to her and her upbringing,” Ribisi wrote.
Imagine the actors sharing similar defenses at the height of Hollywood’s MeToo movement. Just a few short years ago, A-lister Matt Damon caught sizable flack for suggesting Harvey Weinstein’s heinous actions were far worse than what actor/Senator Al Franken did by pretending to grope a woman for comic effect.
Damon quickly clammed up.
Believe all women, Hollywood stars shouted in unison, tarring anyone accused of sexual misconduct.
Except MeToo quickly showed it wouldn’t last long. For starters, Hollywood actors backpedaled from their activism when then-Vice President Joe Biden declared his run for the White House.
Stars like Alyssa Milano, a fierce MeToo activist, looked the other way when Tara Reade accused Biden of sexually molesting her in 1993.
Biden has denied the allegations, but Hollywood activists refused to support Reade or turn their backs on Biden.
Later, the industry slowly allowed actors accused of misconduct against women, like Dustin Hoffman, Casey Affleck and Johnny Depp, back onto film sets.
The annual Women’s March, along with its celebrity contingent, focused more on abortion in recent years.
The industry’s support for Masterson caused one savvy Twitter user to weigh in on the big picture.
I guess ‘metoo’ is officially over. And ‘believe all women’, we aren’t doing that anymore. How convenient.
It’s a fair point.
Vanity Fair, a reliably liberal outlet, covered the actors supporting Masterson without any MeToo-style outrage.
Masterson’s co-stars have every right to plea for leniency and share another side of the actor. They also can hope he is innocent and that an appeal will prove that to be the case. Would they do the same, though, in the months following Hollywood mega-producer Harvey Weinstein’s fall from grace?
It’s almost impossible to imagine a scenario where they would. It is now, though, and there’s little blowback to their activism.
UPDATE: Kutcher and Kunis just apologized for supporting Masterson.
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“Our heart goes out to every single person who’s ever been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse or rape,” Kunis said.