[Note: This article includes discussions of sexual assault.]
THR reports tonight that Danny Masterson—former star of That ’70s Show and The Ranch—is being sued alongside the Church Of Scientology, with four women accusing both Masterson and the Church of stalking and harassing them after they accused the actor of sexual assault. (Allegations that Masterson has denied, but which led to his firing from his Netflix sitcom back in 2017.) Chrissie Carnell Bixler, Marie Riales, and two unnamed women—most of whom are former Scientologists, and all of whom have accused Masterson of assault—say that Church policies were intended to intimidate them from making accusations for several years, and that they have been followed, harassed, and had their property vandalized in an effort to force their silence.
Allegations in the suit include assertions that the Church forbids any efforts to contact police about crimes committed by its members against other members (up to the point of not allowing phones in certain Church facilities to dial 911). They also state that one of the women, identified as Jane Doe No. 1, was forced to sit down alone in a room with Masterson to “clear the air” after she reported several instances in which he sexually assaulted her while she was too intoxicated to consent. Her account lines up with several others, including that of Bixler, who dated the actor for several years, and who says that he repeatedly forced her to have sex, and that she was told by other members of the Church that “You can’t be raped by someone you are in a consensual relationship with.”
As to the harassment, the suit details what it presents as a long campaign of intimidation, which often seemed to intensify either after the women in question began talking to Bixler to corroborate her allegations, or reported the incidents to the LAPD. The women say they’ve been repeatedly photographed by strangers and been the victims of identity theft, vandalism, and more.
Both Masterson and the Church have denied the claims outlined in the suit; Masterson characterized it as “fighting [his] ex-girlfriend,” and said he intends to counter-sue both her, and the other women in the suit. The Church, meanwhile, linked the lawsuit to former member Leah Remini, now a vocal opponent of the group, calling it “a dishonest and hallucinatory publicity stunt.” Remini previously attempted to do an episode of her show Scientology & The Aftermath about Masterson, but it ultimately never aired for, you know, whatever reason.