In a throwback interview that has recently made the rounds on social media, late-night host Conan O’Brien delivered a tongue-in-cheek warning to actor Danny Masterson back in 2004. While the conversation may have seemed lighthearted at the time, it now takes on a chilling new significance as Masterson faces a 30-year prison sentence for his heinous crimes.
Danny Masterson, best known for his role as Steven Hyde on the hit show “That ’70s Show,” was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Thursday after being convicted of raping two women nearly two decades ago. This shocking turn of events has led many to revisit an uncomfortable exchange between Masterson and O’Brien during a 2004 appearance on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien.”
During the interview, Masterson discussed his evolving accent, which he attributed to his years of living in Los Angeles. He explained that certain words triggered his Long Island accent, leading to a humorous exchange. Masterson’s friend, actor Bodhi Elfman, playfully teased him, saying, “Hi, my name is Danny Masterson, would you like to touch my balls?” Emphasizing the final word in a heavy accent, Masterson responded with a smirk, “I mean, you got ’em, you know what I mean? Everybody should grab.”
O’Brien, never one to shy away from a comedic jab, responded, “So why are you asking people to do that? That’s the more important question.” The audience laughed, and the exchange continued with Masterson acknowledging, “I’ve heard about you.” O’Brien playfully concluded, “And you’ll be caught soon, I know you will,” to which Masterson simply replied, “I will.”
Fast forward to 2023, and Masterson’s arrest and subsequent conviction have sent shockwaves through Hollywood. The resurfaced interview clip has gained traction on social media, prompting many to reflect on O’Brien’s seemingly prescient jest.
In court, Masterson remained stoic as Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo handed down his 30-year sentence. His two victims bravely recounted the trauma they endured at his hands, emphasizing the gravity of his actions. One of the victims poignantly stated, “When you raped me, you stole from me. That’s what rape is, a theft of the spirit.” She went on to describe Masterson as “pathetic, disturbed, and completely violent,” asserting that “the world is better off with you in prison.”
Masterson’s legal battles have been ongoing for years, with accusations of drugging and violently raping the two women in 2003. The 47-year-old actor, who is also a member of the Church of Scientology, had vehemently maintained his innocence throughout the trial.
While Masterson’s conviction marks a significant moment in the #MeToo era, it also raises questions about the state of justice in Hollywood. The maximum sentence permitted under the law, 15 years for each count served consecutively, is seen by some as a step in the right direction. However, it also highlights the need for continued efforts to hold powerful individuals accountable for their actions.
In the wake of this disturbing revelation, Masterson’s legacy as Steven Hyde on “That ’70s Show” is inevitably tarnished. The show, which enjoyed immense popularity during its run, now faces the challenge of separating the character from the actor. Masterson’s fall from grace serves as a stark reminder that fame and fortune do not shield individuals from the consequences of their actions.
As the entertainment industry grapples with the fallout from this high-profile case, it remains to be seen how it will impact the broader conversation around accountability and justice. One thing is clear: Conan O’Brien’s jest from nearly two decades ago has taken on an eerie significance, serving as a cautionary tale about the consequences of unchecked behavior in the world of celebrity.