- Three counts of rape were filed against Danny Masterson.
- The actor’s connections to the Church of Scientology are expected to come up in the trial.
- Danny Masterson was fired from ‘The Ranch’ on Netflix as soon as the allegations were revealed.
- Danny Masterson’s trial began on Tuesday, October 11. He faces up to 45 years in prison.
Danny Masteron’s trial for three rape charges began on Tuesday 11 October. The actor (46) was accused of sexual assault by three women in 2017, and the women filed a lawsuit against him in 2019. The following year, Danny was arrested on three charges. of rape cases in 2003. Danny asked for the case to be thrown out, but he was unsuccessful. A trial was originally scheduled to begin in August in Los Angeles, but it was postponed until October.
Now that the trial has begun, Danny’s connection as well as three of his victims’ connections to Scientology have been brought to the forefront of the trial. It pissed off though Judge Charlaine Olmedo, who do not want Scientology to be the center of discussion. During a break, she said (via Variety), “I understand these witnesses’ lives may be completely overrun with Scientology. This trial is not going to be overrun with Scientology.”
As the trial continues, find out everything you need to know about Danny and the charges against him.
The latest on the trial
The criminal trial against the actor began on October 11. The trial is separate from the civil lawsuit filed by four of Danny’s victims, who are also suing the Church of Scientology. The women also spoke out against the church. While the trial is still in the early stages, judge Charlaine Olmedo commented on the role of the controversial church in a preliminary hearing, per Variety. “This is not going to be a trial on Scientology,” she said.
The charges against Danny Masterson
Allegations of sexual assault were first brought against Danny in March 2017. Three women have accused the actor of sexually assaulting them, although the That 70’s Show star denied the claims. After the claims came out, The Mars Volta frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala came forward and said that his wife Chrissie Carnell Bixler was one of the victims in a since-deleted tweet. Danny was fired from the Netflix series The Ranch in December 2017. Shortly after his dismissal, Bobette Riales came forward to accuse him of raping her. Two years after the investigation was launched, four women, two of whom are listed as Jane Does, as well as Chrissie and Bobette, filed a lawsuit against Danny and the Church of Scientology, citing stalking and harassment.
After the 2019 filing, Danny singled out one of the victims and said he was prepared for the legal battle of the lawsuit. “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 was tracked down by this woman. And once her lawsuit is thrown out, I intend to sue her and the others who jumped on the bandwagon to sue for the damage they caused me and my family,” he said in a statement to People.
However, the lawsuit is not the subject of the October hearing. In June 2020, Danny was arrested and charged with allegedly raping three women for incidents between 2001 and 2003. The alleged victims were a 23-year-old woman in January and December 2001, another 23-year-old in October and December 2003, and a 28-year-old in April 2003. The Men at work star’s lawyer Tom Mesereau maintained his innocence in a statement at the time. “Of course Mr. Masterson and his wife are completely shocked considering that these nearly 20-year-old allegations are suddenly leading to charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that the truth will eventually come out. The people who mr. Masterson knows, knows his character and knows that the allegations are false,” he said. After pleading “not guilty” in 2021, Danny was released on bail.
The Scientology Connection
As mentioned above, the women suing Danny also filed their lawsuit against the Church of Scientology. Danny is a member of the church, and three of the women who accused him are former members, including Chrissie and her husband. The women claimed they were pressured not to share their allegations by the church, and since coming forward, the victims have claimed they are being harassed by the church. The Mars Volta singer claimed that Scientologists harassed his family and even poisoned their family dog, after the allegations came out. In social media posts that have since been deleted, Cedric claimed that people walked by his house, harassed his family on social media, slashed tires and more, via MetalSucks.
During a preliminary hearing, the women said they were worried about coming forward with their allegations because of his involvement with the church. In a statement, the church denied that they had pressured the women The New York Times, following Danny’s firing of The Ranch. “What is being said is completely untrue,” the organization said. “It has nothing to do with religion. This story is being manipulated to promote a big agenda.”
The highly questioned, yet still mystical religion was brought up by the chief prosecutor during the opening statement Reinhold Muelleras reported by Variety. “They can declare you an oppressive person,” Reinhold said, deliberately painting the church in an unpleasant light. “You are essentially an enemy of the church. Your friends, your parents – if you have children who are part of the church – they should all detach from you. Essentially, you lose everything.”
Jane Doe no. 1, the first witness to take the stand, also brought up the supposedly restrictive teachings of the religion. “The goal of Scientology is to clean up the planet,” she claimed outside the Los Angeles courtroom.
Meanwhile, defense counsel Philip Cohen try to convince the jury not to be distracted by the stories about Scientology they will hear. “This case is about three women who are going to tell you about three nights almost 20 years ago,” he said, per Deadline. “This other stuff is really the elephant in the room.” He also showed the jury a cloud of words shaped into an elephant. “Scientology” was one of the words included in the cloud.
The First Witness speaks
Jane Doe No. 1 recalled an alleged sexual interaction that took place during her first testimony with the former beloved actor. She claimed Danny fed her double and triple alcoholic drinks while they partied in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles before allegedly assaulting her. She previously said that while she thought this meeting was consensual, she later determined it wasn’t, describing it as feeling “bloody shame” because she and Danny were so close at the time. The alleged incident happened in 2002 and was not included in her lawsuit against him.
Meanwhile, the defense fired back, claiming there were inconsistencies in Jane Doe’s story as well as a lack of evidence.
Is Danny Masterson still married?
Danny was romantically involved with Bijou Phillips, 42, since 2004. The couple finally married in October 2011, and they share a daughter Fiona, 8. Through all the allegations, Danny and Bijou remained married. In Danny’s lawyer’s statement, she was mentioned that she was also “shocked” by the allegations, and appeared to stand by him.
Danny Masterson’s career
Danny has spent most of his life in the entertainment industry. He was a child model and later a teenage actor, appearing in commercials. His most famous role is still his part in That 70’s Show, where he played Steven Hyde for all eight seasons. He appeared in movies like Face/off (1997) and Dracula 2000 (2000). Since the sitcom ended, he has had roles in the series Men at work from 2012 to 2014 and The Ranch from 2016 to 2018. After the allegations came out, Danny was fired The Ranch in December 2017. Netflix released a statement about his firing. “Due to ongoing discussions, Netflix and the producers have written Danny Masterson out of ‘The Ranch,'” the company said.
Whereas Danny hasn’t appeared in anything since he was written off The Ranch, he was announced as part of the cast of Winston Jones killed, which will reportedly be completed, and the upcoming film In Limbo, per IMDb.