In 2017, Danny Masterson was accused of sexual assault allegations from multiple women and was soon involved in an investigation about the accusations by the LAPD. This led to Netflix firing Masterson from its show, The Ranch.
“I am obviously very disappointed in Netflix’s decision to write my character off of The Ranch,” said Masterson. “From day one, I have denied the outrageous allegations against me. I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one.”
Leah Remini had been following Masterson’s case since it first came to light. Her documentary series, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, dedicated its series finale to talk to two of Masterson’s rape accusers, Chrissie Bixler and Bobette Riales. Four of his accusers are suing Masterson, alleging he worked with the Church of Scientology to stalk and intimidate them as a means of staying quiet.
Masterson had introduced Scientology to Bixler when they first started dating and their relationship lasted for six years. In December 2001, Bixler alleges she had become intoxicated after a night out for drinks with That ’70s Show actor. She alleges she woke up the next morning with a sickening feeling and bruising on her head which left her confused on what could have happened overnight. After asking Masterson, she alleges that he laughed and shared that they had sex. “I said, ‘Was I unconscious?’ And he said, ‘Yeah,'” she alleges.
Bixler felt like she could tell the Scientology ethics officer about this encounter, but she alleges they covered up Masterson’s horrific act by allegedly saying because they were in a consensual relationship, therefore it could not be considered rape. She alleges the Church then threatened her to not go to the police. “My job as his girlfriend was to give myself to him whenever he wanted,” she said. “I could not say no. I had to lay there and take it.”
The online backlash Bixler faced caught Masterson’s ex-girlfriend, Bobette Riales’s attention. “I couldn’t be quiet and stand by and allow someone that I know exactly how she’s feeling, because she actually shared her story a little bit to me, to a point where I was immediately like, ‘There’s no way in hell you would know that, that’s my story, that’s my life,'” Riales said. “So I spoke, and it was the right thing to do.”
Staying silent was no longer an option for Riales. “You kind of deal with this guilt,” she continued. “If I had been louder [or] if I hadn’t been so scared of what would have happened. Should I have made a bigger fuss, should I have told more people what was going on, asked more questions? And I didn’t. Maybe I could’ve protected them, and I didn’t, so that’s hard.”
Remini’s own experiences as a past member of the Church of Scientology allowed her to create this show and bring in former members of the Church to sit in as her live studio audience. Remini thanked those who listened and rallied together as a voice amidst the silence.
“When we first started out the Aftermath series, we wanted to give a platform to those who wanted to tell you what’s happened to them, their pain,” Remini said. “It’s because of you that we were able to do that for three seasons, and you gave victims a voice and platform to be heard. You cared, and we thank you.”
Sending a message out to the Church, Remini made it clear that the fight continues despite her show ending. “Our fight is not over, and I hope you are just as enraged as I am,” she said. “Our fight has to go beyond the restraints of network television. Rest assured, Scientology, that this is not the end, this is just the beginning.”