Danny Masterson, former star of That 70’s Show continues to lose his court battles. The most recent of which is the appeal to have the Church of Scientology arbitrate a case involving alleged stalking and harassment toward his accusers.
This court battle is part of an ongoing case in which Danny Masterson is the defendant. The accusers in the suit reported multiple rape allegations against Masterson. He has since been charged with multiple counts of rape and an upcoming criminal trial awaits him in August.
This specific suit isn’t about the rape allegations themselves, but rather the stalking and harassment that the accusers experienced from the church in retaliation to their reporting of the rapes. The women involved in the suit further alleged that the Church of Scientology forbids members to report other members to the police. This suggests that reporting Danny Masterson for rape was against the policy of the church. According to the women, those who go against this rule are subjected to a “Fair Game” response from the church. According to the suit, the “Fair Game” measures that were taken against these women included surveillance, email hacking, murder of their pets, phone taps, vehicle break-ins, being run off the road, and more.
In response to the stalking and harassment allegations regarding Danny Masterson, the Church of Scientology attempted to force arbitration with their religious panel. The Church of Scientology lawyers argue that they have signed agreements to arbitrate through the church first. A lower court ruling would have forced this arbitration, but The California Court of Appeal ruled that these women are not bound by those signed agreements due to their freedom and First Amendment right to leave the church. Since they are no longer members, they don’t have to be held to those agreements any longer.
In the ruling, the court also states that the church is attempting to force members to waive certain constitutional rights. Due to the unconstitutional nature of such agreements, it seems like it was an easy decision for the court to rule in the favor of the Danny Masterson accusers. The Scientology lawyers attempted to state this would be “hostility to religion,” but this didn’t seem to sit with the appeals panel. This is especially the case since the harassment and stalking occurred after the women left the church, effectively removing them from any sort of arbitration obligation. Though this ruling doesn’t necessarily have any bearing on the Danny Masterson criminal case, it is a win for his accusers and it does mean that the accusers won’t have to be subjected to arbitration panels that they’re not involved with anymore.
The plaintiffs of the case have also filed a motion to pause civil proceedings until the matter of Danny Masterson’s criminal case is resolved. The hearing for that motion is scheduled for April 13. If the motion is passed, the suit will likely be picked up very quickly after the final ruling on Masterson’s charges is determined. Masterson’s criminal trial is scheduled to start in August and we will update you on the verdict when that time comes.