LAPD Investigating 'That '70s Show' Actor Danny Masterson Over Sexual-Assault Claims
This investigation was purportedly spearheaded by Leah Remini in connection with her A&E show on Scientology.
Los Angeles police are probing allegations of sexual assault against That '70s Show actor Danny Masterson, authorities told The Hollywood Reporter Friday. There is also a report of a possible cover-up by the Church of Scientology, but police did not address that in their statement.
"The Los Angeles Police Department Robbery Homicide Division, Sexual Assault Section, is conducting an investigation involving the actor Danny Masterson. Three women have come forward and disclosed that they were sexually assaulted by Masterson during the early 2000's," read a statement from LAPD's robbery-homicide division.
The 40-year-old Masterson played Steven Hyde on That '70s Show, which ran from 1998 to 2006. He currently stars alongside his '70s Show castmate Ashton Kutcher in the Netflix series The Ranch. Masterson is married to model and singer Bijou Phillips.
A rep for Masterson responded with this statement to THR:
We are aware of [the alleged victim's] 16-year-old allegations. It was only after [the alleged victim] was in contact with Leah Remini that she made allegations of sexual assault by Mr. Masterson. The alleged incident occurred in the middle of their 6 year relationship, after which she continued to be his longtime girlfriend. Significantly, during their long relationship she made numerous inconsistent claims that she was previously raped by at least 3 other famous actors and musicians.
When Danny ended the relationship she continued to pursue him, even making threats to beat up his current wife Bijou Phillips unless she left him. In fact, we are informed by the Church that the only demand [the alleged victim] made of the Church after Danny broke up with her was asking for their help to intervene so the breakup would not be permanent.
We are aware also that approximately 14 years ago a woman referred to in the blog made allegations of sexual assault that the LADP interviewed numerous witnesses and determined the claim had no merit. Based on reading the anti-Scientology blog that posted this story, these false allegations appear to be motivated to boost Leah Remini’s anti-Scientology television series since [the alleged victim] only came forward after connecting with Leah Remini.
The investigation was first reported by Tony Ortega, a former Village Voice editor, author and longtime reporter on the inner workings of Scientology who currently runs a news site titled The Underground Bunker.
Ortega cited portions of photocopied police reports in his piece. Actress Leah Remini, an outspoken former Scientologist, recently said on her A&E series, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, that the church would go to great lengths to protect its celebrity members. And according to Ortega, that series is the reason alleged victims began pointing a finger at Masterson.
Neither the Church of Scientology nor Remini immediately responded to a request for comment.
March 3, 12:05 p.m. This story has been updated with a statement from Masterson's rep.