Once best known for his role on That '70s Show and then his move to The Ranch on Netflix, actor Danny Masterson made headlines back in 2017 when he was accused of sexual assault. A member of the Church of Scientology, Masterson was booted from The Ranch by the end of 2017, and his character received a brutal sendoff. Now, Masterson and the Church of Scientology have been sued by sexual assault accusers who claim they were targeted by the Church after making their allegations against Masterson.
A lawsuit was filed on Wednesday, August 14 from four women who claim that they were intimidated and stalked by the Church of Scientology after they reported Danny Masterson for alleged sexual assault. The four women made their allegations against the actor to the Los Angeles Police Department in late 2016 and early 2017, which is when news of the investigations into Masterson became public.
According to the lawsuit (via Variety), the four women were followed by agents of the Church of Scientology in retribution for coming forward with claims against Danny Masterson. Although only two of the women have shared their names publicly and given specifics about what they say has been done to them, their stories are certainly upsetting.
Chrissie Bixler, who is one of the four women who filed the suit, has stated that she was chased in her car in October 2017, she was harassed online, false Craigslist ads were posted soliciting sex in her name, stalked, run off the road, targeted for credit card fraud, and had her home security system disabled. She also states that her dog died due to "traumatic injuries to the trachea and esophagus," as determined by a necropsy.
The second plaintiff who was willing to be identified by name is Marie Bobette Riales, who has similar claims about harassment by agents of Scientology. According to Riales, she was followed and photographed, including while on vacation, had her email accounts hacked, her food truck vandalized and fake reviews shared online, fake ads offering to sell the truck circulated, and the window of her 13-year-old's bedroom was smashed late at night.
The other two women who filed the suit did not identify themselves by name in the suit, but their allegations are reportedly similar to those of Chrissie Bixler and Marie Bobette Riales. One of the unnamed women stated that she hasn't left her home much since filing the initial police reports two years ago. According to the suit, the women are "fair game" due to their moves to involve the authorities.
The lawsuit was only just filed, so it'll undoubtedly be a while before we know what comes of it. The allegations against the Church of Scientology do echo those that people involved in Leah Remini's Scientology and the Aftermath were harassed while putting together an episode concerning the allegations against Danny Masterson. This harassment reportedly resulted in A&E deciding to shelve the episode, although that has not been confirmed.
Only time will tell what comes of this lawsuit against Danny Masterson and the Church of Scientology. At the very least, I think it's quite safe to say that Danny Masterson won't be involved in any further That '70s Show reunions, and The Ranch is ending next year, even if his odds of returning to that show were any better.
Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.
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