In a shocking turn of events that has reverberated throughout Hollywood, ‘That ‘70s Show‘ actor Danny Masterson has been sentenced to 30 years to life in prison following his conviction for the rape of two women. This marked the end of a high-profile legal battle that spanned several years and culminated in a courtroom moment where Masterson blew a kiss to his wife, Bijou Phillips before being led away in shackles. The verdict, delivered by the justice system, signifies a significant moment of justice served, and it sheds light on the broader issue of accountability within the entertainment industry.
Let’s delve into the details of this landmark case and explore the implications it has for both the entertainment world and the ongoing conversation surrounding sexual assault allegations in the #MeToo era.
On Thursday, actor Danny Masterson, renowned for his role in ‘That ’70s Show,’ received a 30-year to life prison sentence for the sexual assault of two women that occurred two decades ago. The decision was delivered by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo, who presided over the case and took into account the harrowing testimonies of the victims regarding the emotional trauma and pain they endured.
Danny Masterson Receives 30-Year-to-Life Sentence
The sentencing follows a jury’s verdict in May that found Danny Masterson guilty of two counts of rape. This high-profile trial, which prominently featured the Church of Scientology, stood out as a rare instance of legal action against a prominent Hollywood figure in the #MeToo era. Throughout the trial, prosecutors contended that Masterson, who held a prominent position within the Church of Scientology, leveraged his affiliation with the church to evade responsibility for the alleged sexual assaults.
The imposition of this sentence comes in the wake of a jury’s May verdict that found Danny Masterson guilty of two counts of rape. This widely-publicized trial, in which the Church of Scientology played a prominent role, represented a notable case of legal action against a prominent Hollywood personality during the #MeToo era.
Throughout the trial proceedings, the prosecution consistently argued that Masterson, who occupied a significant position within the Church of Scientology, exploited his association with the church as a means to elude accountability for the alleged sexual assaults.
Actor Danny Masterson sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for rape
Two of the accusers, both former members of the Church of Scientology themselves, revealed that the church discouraged them from contacting law enforcement for an extended period. They testified that when they reported the incidents to Scientology officials, they were met with denial, subjected to ethics programs, and cautioned against involving the police, especially when the accused held such a high position within the organization. One of the women even described experiencing social isolation and exclusion within the community for taking this step.
In response, the Church released a statement after the verdict, asserting that the “testimonies and descriptions of Scientology beliefs” during the trial were “uniformly false.” They further emphasized that there is no policy within the Church that prevents or discourages members from reporting criminal activities, regardless of whether the individuals involved are Scientologists or not.
During the trial, Masterson did not testify, and his defense team did not call any witnesses. Their strategy focused on portraying the alleged acts as consensual encounters and attempting to cast doubt on the credibility of the women’s accounts by highlighting inconsistencies and changes in their stories over time, suggesting possible coordination. Masterson continues to maintain his innocence, and his legal team intends to appeal the verdict.
Following the sentencing, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón commented, stating that “justice was finally served.” He expressed hope that the sentence would bring some measure of peace to the survivors and serve as an example of courage to others. Gascón also underlined his commitment to ensuring that Los Angeles would no longer tolerate being a hunting ground for elite Hollywood figures who feel entitled to prey on women.