Actor Danny Masterson is best known for his role as Hyde on the early 2000s sitcom That ’70s Show.
In the years since the show ended its eight season run on Fox, however, Masterson’s career has faltered, and these days, he’s known in Hollywood circles primarily for his fanatical devotion to the Church of Scientology.
Now, several media outlets are reporting that Masterson is being investigated for rape by the LAPD.
“The Los Angeles Police Department Robbery Homicide Division, Sexual Assault Section, is conducting an investigation involving the actor Danny Masterson,” the department said in a statement released moments ago.
“Three women have come forward and disclosed that they were sexually assaulted by Masterson during the early 2000s.”
The Church of Scientology has declined to comment, but a rep for Masterson has dismissed one of the charges in a statement issued to the press today:
“The alleged incident occurred in the middle of their 6 year relationship, after which she continued to be his longtime girlfriend,” says the rep.
Of course, the fact that they were dating is immaterial, especially in the context of a relationship in which both parties are active Scientologists.
For starters, rape can and often does take place within the confines of a romantic relationship.
Additionally, former Scientologists have testified that while they were members of the cult, they were forbidden to report crimes by other Scientologists.
Materson’s team goes on to blame the accusations on actress Leah Remini, who was herself a Scientologist until 2013, and who has devoted her life to exposing the organization’s allegedly criminal practices in the years since.
“We are aware of [redacted]’s 16-year-old allegations,” reads the statement from Masterson’s reps.
“It was only after [redacted] 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.”
The statement goes on to claim that the accuser asked Scientologist officials to help her win Masterson back after their relationship ended:
“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,” Masterson’s reps claim.
“In fact, we are informed by the Church that the only demand [redacted] made of the Church after Danny broke up with her was asking for their help to intervene so the breakup would not be permanent,”
Masterson has yet to comment on the charges personally.
We’ll have further updates on this developing story as more information becomes available.