[Note: This article contains descriptions of alleged acts of animal cruelty.]
Actress Chrissie Carnell Bixler and her husband, At The Drive-In and Mars Volta frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala, have been outspoken and passionate critics of the Church Of Scientology for several years at this point. Carnell Bixler is a former member of the Church, and one of several women who have accused actor Danny Masterson—still a prominent member of the organization—of sexual assault, and the Church itself of covering up the act. She came forward with her accusations back in 2017, stating that, when she approached Church leadership about the alleged rape, she was told that, “Danny Masterson is a celebrity. He flourishes and prospers in life. You protect that and reward that.” (The Church has denied the accusations.)
The couple have continued the campaign against the Church over the last several years (including, among other things, Bixler-Zavala’s revelation that several lines on the most recent At The Drive-In album, Inter Alia, were veiled references to Scientology.) They’ve been vocal critics of the Church and its members, accusing them of intimidation, cover-ups, and turning a blind eye to alleged abuses—much of which was outlined in the harassment suit they helped bring against the Church last year. (Said pressure, along with news that the LAPD was investigating the claims against him, was presumably a major factor in Netflix’s decision to remove Masterson from its sitcom series The Ranch.) And, like many who have criticized Scientology over the years, they’re now approaching the public with claims of even darker actions allegedly intended to silence them.
Both Carnell Bixler and Bixler-Zavala went on Instagram tonight, accusing the Church of feeding poison to their family dog, Biscuit, who they say they were forced to put down earlier today. Bixler-Zavala claims to have found rat poison wrapped around raw hamburger in the family’s yard; he also alleges, per The Hollywood Reporter, that this isn’t the first time that the family has suffered a mysterious death of a family pet since their campaign against the Church began.
Accusations of this kind of attack against critics of Scientology are not exactly uncommon; reporter Joel Sappell, among others, levied a similar charge (with a similarly sad result) back in 2012. (Meanwhile, reading about the details of Operation: Freakout, which ended with the FBI raiding the Church’s offices and finding numerous documents outlining plans to discredit or harass opponents, may also be instructive for those looking for context.) In any case, it’s presumably too late in the day for the Church to respond to the family’s claims—although denials are, we have to assume, on their way.