|A.K.A.||Daniel Peter "Danny" Masterson|
|Is||Actor Television actor Film actor Deejay Musician Businessperson Radio personality|
|From||United States of America|
|Field||Business Film, TV, Stage & Radio Music|
|Birth||13 March 1976, Albertson, Nassau County, New York, USA|
Daniel Peter Masterson (born March 13, 1976) is an American actor. He played Steven Hyde in That '70s Show (1998–2006), Milo Foster in Men at Work (2012–2014) and Jameson "Rooster" Bennett in The Ranch (2016–2018). In May 2023, Masterson was convicted of raping two women, both former members of the Church of Scientology; a third charge was deadlocked by a hung jury. On September 7, 2023, Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.
Early life and family
Masterson was born on Long Island, New York, to Carol and Peter Masterson. He grew up in Albertson, Garden City and East Williston on Long Island. Masterson has a brother, actor Christopher Masterson, who played Francis on Malcolm in the Middle. Their maternal half-siblings, Jordan Masterson and Alanna Masterson, are also actors. He also has a paternal half-brother, Will Masterson.
Starting at age four, Masterson worked as a child model, and was featured in magazine articles as well as television commercials beginning at age five. He starred in musicals at the age of eight, and began acting as well. Masterson's singing voice "disappeared" by his teenage years. By the age of 16, he had appeared in over 100 commercials, including ones for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, Hardee's, Hostess, Tang, and Clearasil.
In the early 1990s, Masterson had a role in Beethoven's 2nd, and starred as Justin in Cybill. After starring in the third and fourth seasons of Cybill, Masterson decided he wanted to move on and audition for a show originally titled Teenage Wasteland, which later was changed to That '70s Show. The original casting director for That '70s Show, Debby Romano, resisted Masterson's audition because he was slightly older than the rest of the cast, but ultimately allowed him to audition. She stated that, "he came in and he was just so funny", and that he redefined where the role was going and made the role of Steven Hyde the "tough, funny guy."
Masterson starred in all eight seasons of That '70s Show. His role on That '70s Show launched Masterson's career, allowing him to pursue other endeavors between tapings. After the show concluded Masterson acted in several movies and made guest appearances on television shows including Punk'd and MADtv. Along with 70's costars Ashton Kutcher and Wilmer Valderrama, he co-hosted the Fox TV special Woodstock 1999. He had a role in the 2008 comedy Yes Man. Masterson starred with his real-life wife, Bijou Phillips, in the 2009 drama The Bridge to Nowhere.
In 2011, Masterson guest-starred as James Roland in USA Network's White Collar (episode "Where There's A Will"). He portrayed Jerry Rubin in the 2010 movie, The Chicago 8.
In 2012, the sitcom Men at Work premiered on TBS, co-starring Masterson and Michael Cassidy, James Lesure and Adam Busch. In 2012, Masterson appeared in the film Alter Egos, directed by Jordan Galland.
Masterson starred alongside Sam Elliott, Ashton Kutcher, and Elisha Cuthbert in the Netflix comedy series The Ranch from 2016 to 2018. His character was written out of the series in the middle of filming the third 20-episode season due to the rape and assault allegations against him.
Due to the allegations and the resulting trial, Masterson was also the only surviving main or supporting cast member of That '70s Show not to be invited back to the sequel series That '90s Show, and his character of Steven Hyde was simply not mentioned in the new series. His former castmate on That '70s Show and a fellow Scientologist, Laura Prepon, had left the Church by the time of the allegations.
Masterson began DJing at Los Angeles night clubs in 1997 as a hobby, under the name DJ Donkey Punch, but it soon became a side business. After Donkey Punch, he changed his name to DJ Donkey Pizzle, then DJ Mom Jeans by 2010. Masterson is a self-described "rock and hip hop fanatic", and is also a fan of indie, electro, and funk music, all of which he primarily DJs with.
For a time, Masterson owned a lounge and bar in Park City, Utah, called Downstairs.
He appeared as part of a poker team, the Unabombers, in the 2005 GSN series The James Woods Gang vs. The Unabombers. He has hosted celebrity poker events, such as the Phat Farm Stuff Casino Weekend Poker Tournament, in which he won the tournament.
Masterson is a Scientologist. He started dating actress Bijou Phillips in 2004. They became engaged in 2009 and married on October 18, 2011. They have one daughter who was born in February 2014.
Sexual assault convictions
In March 2017, three women filed sexual assault allegations against Masterson, prompting an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department. Masterson, through his agent, denied the allegations. In December 2017, after a fourth victim's accusations, Netflix fired Masterson from its comedy series The Ranch, saying in a statement, "Yesterday was his last day on the show, and production will resume in early 2018 without him." Masterson stated that he was "obviously very disappointed in Netflix's decision to write [his] character off of The Ranch." A few weeks later, a fifth woman made similar rape accusations. He was dropped as a client by United Talent Agency.
A planned 2019 episode of Leah Remini's show Aftermath, focusing on the Masterson rape allegations, was delayed due to what one of Masterson's accusers characterized as pressure from the Church of Scientology. The episode eventually aired on August 27, 2019.
Cedric Bixler-Zavala, singer for the bands The Mars Volta and At the Drive-In, alleged that Masterson sexually assaulted his wife, and stated that At the Drive-In's song "Incurably Innocent" (from the 2017 album In•ter a•li•a) is about the incident.
In August 2019, four women filed a lawsuit against Masterson and the Church of Scientology for stalking and harassment, stemming from their rape allegations. The plaintiffs alleged that Scientology "mobilized an aggressive Fair Game campaign against them", and though the campaigns against each plaintiff differed, each had commenced after they individually had left the church. One plaintiff claimed her dog died from (unexplained) traumatic injuries to its trachea and esophagus, also alleging that church members chased her as she drove her car, filmed her without permission, harassed her online and posted ads to social media sites soliciting sex in her name. Another plaintiff stated that she and her neighbors observed a man snapping pictures from her driveway and later that night someone broke a window in her 13-year-old daughter's bedroom. Masterson has since responded to one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, claiming: "I'm not going to fight my ex-girlfriend in the media like she's been baiting me to do for more than two years. I will beat her in court—and look forward to it because the public will finally be able to learn the truth and see how I've been railroaded by this woman... and once her lawsuit is thrown out, I intend to sue her and the others who jumped on the bandwagon for the damage they caused me and my family." He did not address the stalking or harassment claims.
On January 22, 2020, Bixler-Zavala reported that a second of his family pets had to be put down due to being fed rat poison wrapped inside a rolled-up piece of raw meat, alleging this was done by Scientologists in response to his repeated public statements alleging Masterson raped his wife (who was one of the four women who filed suit against Masterson). Masterson has yet to directly respond to any of Bixler-Zavala's claims or his prior allegations made; the closest acknowledgment being Masterson's wife Bijou Phillips making an Instagram post mocking court papers against Masterson.
On June 17, 2020, Masterson was charged with raping a 23-year-old woman in 2001, a 28-year-old woman in early 2003, and a 23-year-old woman in late 2003. The three counts came after a three-year investigation beginning in 2017.
On January 21, 2021, Masterson pleaded not guilty. A four-day preliminary hearing began on May 18, 2021. On May 21, 2021, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo said that she "found all three witnesses to be credible and the evidence presented during a preliminary hearing sufficient to support the charges." She ordered that Masterson be bound over for trial on three counts of rape by force or fear and that he surrender his passport at his next arraignment, which was set for June 7, 2021.
On June 7, 2021, Masterson pleaded not guilty to rape accusations alleged to have occurred between 2001 and 2003. His defense attorney accused the three women of colluding against Masterson, claiming that they were in contact with each other. His defense attorney also stated that one of the Jane Does had obtained money from Masterson in 2004. After the June 7 arraignment, Masterson remained free on $3.3 million bail. A pretrial hearing was set for August 9, 2021.
During the pretrial hearing on August 9, 2021, Judge Olmedo rejected numerous subpoena requests from Masterson's defense attorneys, calling them "stunningly overbroad", including requests for LAPD records related to David Miscavige and Shelly Miscavige, a subpoena on the producers of the TV show Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, and a subpoena on an investigative reporter. The defense filed a motion to dismiss the case based on a lack of evidence presented during the May preliminary hearing, and Olmedo sent that motion to another judge. On November 10, 2021, Los Angeles County Judge Ronald S. Coen ruled that the testimony of the alleged victims was credible and sufficient to support the charges, setting trial for August 29, 2022 in Judge Olmedo's courtroom.
The August 29 trial date was subsequently rescheduled for October 11, 2022, at the request of Masterson's lawyers. Near the end of the month-long trial, Masterson decided not to testify nor call witnesses in his defense. Both parties rested their cases on November 14, 2022, and made their closing arguments the following day. The jury deadlocked after three days in deliberation; instead of declaring a mistrial, the judge ordered the jury to resume deliberations the week after Thanksgiving. The jury remained deadlocked once deliberations resumed; consequently, a mistrial was declared on November 30, 2022. The jury foreman said that the panel of six men and six women leaned towards acquitting Masterson on all counts because they found the testimonies of the complainants inconsistent and implausible; for instance, one Jane Doe testified in court that Masterson threatened her with a gun during the attack, but a firearm was not mentioned when she reported to the police: "The big big problem for her, credibility-wise, was the gun present in the testimony but not in the early reports," the jury foreman said.
A new trial was held in April and May 2023, and on May 31 Masterson was convicted of two of the three counts of forcible rape. The jury was hung 8–4 in favor of conviction on the third charge. Masterson was remanded without bail until sentencing. As of June 2, he was incarcerated at Men's Central Jail in Los Angeles, in "administrative segregation" for his safety.
On June 7, 2023, the judge sanctioned Masterson's previous legal team of Tom Mesereau and Sharon Appelbaum for leaking confidential discovery material to Vicki Podberesky, an attorney defending the Church of Scientology in a related civil lawsuit, in direct violation of "repeated directives and orders to refrain from providing criminal discovery to litigants and attorneys in the civil case." The files contained confidential information of the victims including addresses and other personal information. Podberesky then used the information to file complaints against the lead prosecutors in Masterson's rape trial, requested the police department start criminal inquiries into the two detectives who testified in the trial, and alleged that the Masterson victims filed false police reports.
In July 2023, prosecutors announced that they would not retry Masterson on the charge which had resulted in a hung jury.
On September 7, 2023, Masterson was sentenced to "30 years to life", meaning life imprisonment with a possibility of parole not earlier than 30 years.
|1995||Bye Bye Love||Mikey|
|The Faculty||"Fucked-up" kid|
|1999||Dirt Merchant||Dirt Merchant|
|2001||Alex in Wonder||Patrick|
|2002||Hip, Edgy, Sexy, Cool|
|Comic Book Villains||Conan|
|2006||Puff, Puff, Pass||Larry|
|You Are Here||Derek|
|The Brooklyn Heist||Fitz|
|Made for Each Other||Morris "The Executioner" Rodriguez|
|The Bridge to Nowhere||Kevin|
|2012||The Chicago 8||Jerry Rubin|
|The Polterguys||Tim Burr|
|2015||In Passing||Neighbor||Short film|
|2016||Hot Bot||Agent Koontz|
|1988||Jake and the Fatman||Butch||Episode: "After You're Gone"|
|1993||Joe's Life||Leo Gennaro||11 episodes|
|1994||Roseanne||Jimmy Phillips||2 episodes|
|1994–1997||NYPD Blue||John||2 episodes|
|1996||American Gothic||Ray||Episode: "Rebirth"|
|Seduced by Madness||Seth||Television film|
|Tracey Takes On...||King the Dog||Episode: "Family"|
|Party of Five||Matt||3 episodes|
|Her Last Chance||Ryan||Television film|
|1996–1998||Cybill||Justin Thorpe||16 episodes|
|1998–2006||That '70s Show||Steven Hyde||Main cast; 200 episodes|
Nominated – Teen Choice Award for TV Choice Sidekick
Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Best Performance in a TV Series by a Young Ensemble
|2001||Strange Frequency||Randy||Television film|
|Grounded for Life||Vince||Episode: "Baby You Can't Drive My Car"|
|How to Make a Monster||Jeremy||Uncredited; Television film|
|2003||King of the Hill||Cory||Voice; Episode: "Megalo Dale"|
|Robot Chicken||Various||Voice; 2 episodes|
|Stephen King's Dead Zone||Dr. Alex Conners||Episode: "Vanguard"|
|2006||Kim Possible||Quinn||Voice; Episode: "And the Mole-Rat Will Be CGI"|
|2011||Raising Hope||Lucy's Boyfriend||Episode: "Don't Vote for This Episode"|
|White Collar||James Roland||Episode: "Where There's a Will"|
|2012–2014||Men at Work||Milo Foster||Main cast; 30 episodes|
|2012||Supah Ninjas||Limelight/ Lemuel Lightner||Episode: "Limelight"|
|2013||Haven||Anderson Harris||Episode: "Shot in the Dark"|
|2014||Royal Pains||David Van Dyke||Episode: "Ganging Up"|
|2016–2018||The Ranch||Jameson "Rooster" Bennett||Series regular; 50 episodes|
|WWE Raw||Himself||October 3, guest with Ashton Kutcher|
|2017||Easy||Annie's Boyfriend||Episode: "Baby Steps"|
|1999||"That '70s Song (In the Street)"||Cheap Trick||Hyde||Along with Cast of That '70s Show|
|2011||"The Way I Fiesta" (ft. Clayton Vice)||Eduardo Fresco||DJ|
|2008||The Brooklyn Heist||Film||Producer; Jury Award for Best Florida Comedy|
|2014||Men at Work||Television||Producer; 10 episodes|
|2016–2018||The Ranch||Television||Co-Executive Producer|