Danny Masterson hasn't appeared on a new episode of his signature TV series, That '70s Show, since 2006. But after he was convicted of raping two women and sentenced to 30 years to life in prison, his association with the sitcom is back in the spotlight.
Masterson spent eight seasons on the Fox show, playing the character Hyde. While his legal problems prevented him from being one of the few original cast members not invited back for the rebooted series, That '90s Show, which launched on Netflix in January, Masterson can still be seen in reruns of the original series on Peacock and Laff. Episodes are also available for purchase on Prime Video.
Yahoo Entertainment has reached out to the networks to see whether there are plans to discontinue offering the series in the wake of Masterson's sentencing on Friday, but no response so far.
There's been a growing outcry among viewers calling for the series to be yanked from the air — something that has happened to other shows with disgraced stars.
Did Peacock remove "That 70s Show" from their streaming platform yet?
— Kim Wexler's Ponytail (@MadisonKittay) September 9, 2023
Open my peacock and That 70s show is in my featured section up at the top 🤢 no thank you!
— RealityLindsey (@RealityLindsey) September 9, 2023
peacock promoting that 70s show on my tv. booooo
— Lady WhistleWhileYouTwerk (@JanetScoop) September 10, 2023
— Pinkydoll’s Flatiron (@kimikoko73) September 9, 2023
There's certainly precedent. In 2014, TV Land dropped episodes of the blockbuster hit The Cosby Show from its lineup, after Cosby was infamously accused of having raped, sexually assaulted or sexually harassed more than 60 women. He was ultimately convicted of sexual assault, but a higher court overturned that decision on a technicality in 2021, and Cosby was released. His groundbreaking series about an upper-middle class Black family is no longer as ubiquitous as it once was, but episodes remains available for purchase on Prime Video — as does Seventh Heaven.
In 2014, that show's star Stephen Collins confessed to molesting children. Reruns of the family drama were quickly pulled, but episodes returned to the airwaves by the following summer. It's currently airing on Hulu.
Several of Masterson's former co-stars on That '70s Show, including Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp, wrote letters to the court pleading for leniency ahead of Masterson's sentencing. They in turn have faced waves of backlash, including from Kathy Griffin and Christina Ricci, who openly criticized the couple.
A day after the letters were revealed, Kutcher and Kunis apologized for having sent theirs. While they had written the judge calling Masterson a "role model," they wanted to emphasize that they felt for the people affected.
"We support victims," Kunis said somberly in the couple's apology video. "We have done this historically through our work and will continue to do so in the future."
The apology didn't seem to go over well with at least one of Masterson's accusers. His ex-girlfriend Chrissie Carnell Bixler, who was one of three women who made rape allegations against the actor, published a video on her Instagram Story over the weekend shading Kutcher. In the clip, from a 2003 episode of his prank series Punk'd, Kutcher, who was 25 at the time, talked about how he couldn't wait for child actresses Hilary Duff (then 15) and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (then 17) to turn 18.