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For the series finale of Scientology and the Aftermath, Leah Remini sat down with two of Danny Masterson’s rape accusers, who spoke out for the first time publicly in an in-depth interview about the actor and their life in the Church.
The That ’70s Show actor has faced accusations of rape from multiple women and is currently being sued by four women who say he and the Church of Scientology stalked and intimidated them after they filed reports against the actor.
Chrissie Bixler, who dated Masterson for six years, said that in December 2001 the couple went out for drinks, and as she got up to leave the restaurant, she blacked out. She recalled waking up the next morning with bruising on her head and feeling “like I was poisoned.” When she asked Masterson what had happened, she says he laughed and told her he had had sex with her the night before. “I said, ‘Was I unconscious?’ And he said, ‘Yeah,'” she remembered.
Bixler said she reported the rape to a Scientology ethics officer and was told it couldn’t be rape because they were in a consensual relationship. The officer threatened that she would be charged with “suppressive acts and high crimes” and kicked out of the Church if she went 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.” Masterson was the one who brought her into Scientology once they started dating, she said, which led to her being cut off from her family, friends and job as a working model.
Masterson was fired from the Netflix series The Ranch and dropped by UTA in 2017 after the LAPD confirmed it was investigating sexual assault allegations against him from multiple women. At the time, he denied the allegations and asserted that the sexual encounters were consensual. Four women have since filed a lawsuit against him and Scientology alleging stalking and a conspiracy to cover up the alleged assaults. (Masterson has denied any wrongdoing.)
Bobette Riales, a second accuser and ex-girlfriend of the actor’s, also spoke to Remini during the special and said she decided to come forward after seeing the bullying Bixler was facing online.
“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.”
She continued, “You kind of deal with this guilt. 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.”
The two-hour live special, which aired Monday, was filmed in front of a live studio audience of former Scientology members and served as the ending to the Emmy-winning A&E docuseries after three seasons. Remini, along with fellow Scientology defector Mike Rinder, revealed that she had been working on the Masterson story for more than two years, recording one of Bixler’s interviews for the show in April 2017.
Outside of the focus on the actor, the finale also highlighted testimonials alleging that Scientology policies have hindered members from reporting instances of sexual assault and physical violence to the authorities. Several ex-Scientologists sat with Remini and told stories of being sexually abused as children, covering up deaths, experiencing harmful therapy practices and being trained to lie to those outside of the Church. A panel of legal, psychological and law-enforcement experts weighed in on the stories, discussing the effects of trauma and life in the Church.
“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 in the finale. “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.”
“Our fight is not over, and I hope you are just as enraged as I am,” she added in the show’s final minutes. “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.”
When speaking recently to The Hollywood Reporter about the series coming to an end, Remini said, “We’re exposing so much, but we need to do some other things to bring the fight to a different level. The work’s not done — whether it’s with A&E or another outlet, we’re not going to stop working.”
She also added of Masterson’s accusers, “The [alleged] victims were concerned and felt hurt and betrayed by [the delay in airing], and I understand that. They also feel hurt and betrayed by the [Los Angeles] District Attorney. I wanted to open up the whole thing. If it was any other organization but Scientology, the D.A. would at least be investigating. I’ve heard nothing.”
The Church of Scientology has challenged the credibility and statements of the contributors appearing in the series.
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