Former That 70’s Show star Danny Masterson has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted of rape. In May 2023, the actor was convicted on two of three forcible rape charges. Despite maintaining his innocence, Masterson faced the consequences of his actions. The jury found him guilty of raping two women but did not reach a verdict on another allegation. Judge Charlaine Olmedo, addressing Masterson, made it clear that he was not the victim in this case. She stated, “Your actions 20 years ago took away another person’s voice and choice. Your actions 20 years ago were criminal, and that is why you are here.” The judge sentenced him to 15 years to life on each of the two charges, to be served consecutively.
During the sentencing, Masterson’s wife, Bijou Phillips, was seen crying at the courthouse. His siblings, who are also Hollywood actors, attended the hearing as well. Half-siblings Alanna Masterson and Christopher Masterson appeared in The Walking Dead and Malcolm In the Middle respectively, while brother Jordan Masterson starred in Last Man Standing. Half-brother Will is a Hollywood producer. The support from his family was evident, but it didn’t change the outcome of the trial.
This was the second trial for Masterson. The first trial ended in November 2022 with a hung jury. The judge decided to proceed with a new set of jurors for the retrial. The prosecution, in the second trial, argued that the women had been drugged. Initially, the women testified that they had little to no memory after consuming a drink prepared by Masterson, but they didn’t explicitly state that they had been drugged. Nevertheless, the jury reached a conviction based on the evidence presented.
During the sentencing, the three women who were victims of Masterson’s assault had the opportunity to address him directly. Jane Doe 1 referred to him as “a true coward and heartless monster.” Jane Doe 2 expressed the long-lasting effects of the rape, saying, “Every time I think I’m okay, that rape comes back to me.” Jane Doe 3 revealed that she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Their powerful statements shed light on the immense impact Masterson’s actions had on their lives.
All three victims were former scientologists, and it was revealed during the sentencing that the Church of Scientology discouraged them from reporting Masterson to the police. Leah Remini, one of the most outspoken former members of the church, was present in the courtroom to support the victims. Jane Doe 1 mentioned how she followed the church’s “policy” and did not report her rape to outside authorities. In her words, “Danny was a celebrity and, therefore, heavily protected by Scientology.” Jane Doe 2 also highlighted the efforts made to cover up Masterson’s behavior, referring to herself as a “brainwashed member” of the church at the time of her assault.
The sentencing marked the end of a chapter for Masterson, whose career was defined by his role in That 70’s Show. The show, which ran for eight years between 1998 and 2006, focused on the lives of a group of teenagers in the late 1970s. Masterson starred alongside Topher Grace, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Laura Prepon, and Wilmer Valderra. However, Masterson’s actions have now overshadowed his previous success, leaving a lasting impact on the victims and the industry as a whole.
As the sentencing concluded, the victims made it clear that Masterson’s legacy would be one of emptiness, cowardice, and extreme violence. They expressed relief that he would be behind bars, believing that the world would now be safer. The trial not only highlighted the importance of holding perpetrators accountable but also shed light on the difficult experiences victims face, both during and after the incidents.
Danny Masterson’s sentencing serves as a reminder that no one is above the law, regardless of their celebrity status. The victims showed incredible courage in coming forward and seeking justice. Through their traumatic experiences, they exposed the manipulation and protection often associated with high-profile cases. With the verdict, they hope to bring about change in how society addresses and supports victims of sexual assault. Masterson’s trial may have come to an end, but it serves as a pivotal moment in the ongoing fight against sexual violence.