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Danny Masterson’s attorneys pounce on A&E’s plans for resurrecting an ‘Aftermath’ episode

[Marty Singer and Leah Remini]

Danny Masterson’s attorneys wasted no time reacting to the news that his accusers will be featured in an upcoming episode of A&E’s Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.

On Monday, we reported that the episode was being resurrected and has been scheduled to air on February 18 after it was originally filmed in 2017 for Remini’s second season, but was pulled at the request of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.

The episode featured three women who allege that they were violently raped by the Scientologist actor, but the DA’s office asked Remini to hold it back as they considered the allegations. Now, more than two years since the investigation of Masterson began, DA Jackie Lacey still has yet to make a decision to file charges, even though her office has recommended that she do so.

What’s the hold up? One of Masterson’s accusers tells us that a member of the DA’s office admitted to her several months ago that Scientology’s involvement in the matter was the reason for the delay. “When I asked him what was taking so long, he said, ‘Scientology. Without going into it, that’s the only way to summarize it.’”

One person who noticed our story was Masterson’s attorney Andrew Brettler, who later that day sent an email to A&E about the network resurrecting the episode about his client…

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Tony Ortega is reporting that AETN plans to air the Danny Masterson episode of Leah Remini’s anti-Scientology program on Feb. 18. When we last spoke about this (almost a year ago) you informed us that the episode would not air given the concerns we raised, the information we provided to you about the false and defamatory claims asserted against our client by several unreliable and biased sources, and the DA’s failure to prosecute Mr. Masterson, or charge him with any crime over the past 15+ years. Please advise.

Leah Remini has said on the record that the episode was held back because the DA’s office asked her to. But it’s interesting that Masterson’s attorney is claiming credit, saying that the episode was shelved because Danny’s attorneys threatened to sue. We sent an email yesterday to Brettler asking him about that discrepancy, and we’ll add his response if he gets back to us.

Brettler is an attorney at Lavely & Singer, whose member Marty Singer is a well-known lawyer to the rich and famous in Hollywood — including Leah Remini, who was his client for many years.

But that didn’t prevent Singer from representing Masterson and sending a previous letter to A&E threatening legal action if the episode aired, which might be what Brettler was referring to in the email he sent Monday.

We have obtained a copy of that May 3, 2017 letter by Marty Singer, calling on A&E to cease and desist its plans to even mention Masterson’s name on air. We thought you’d want to see what’s in it.

Remini’s former lawyer begins his salvo with a typically pugnacious opening…

Gentlemen: Our firm is litigation counsel to Danny Masterson and we are writing in regard to an upcoming episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath that contains outrageous, false, and defamatory allegations about Mr. Masterson (the “Episode”). We understand that A+E Television Networks, LLC (“AETN”) intends to broadcast the Episode produced by Slauson Productions, LLC (“Slauson”) and its parent company, The Intellectual Property Corporation (“IPC”), this summer to promote Ms. Remini’s anti-Scientology series. Be advised that if the defamatory Episode airs, AETN, Slauson, IPC and all others associated with its production and broadcast, including Ms. Remini, will be exposed to substantial liability.

Ms. Remini’s well-documented hatred for and unrelenting attacks on Scientology now appear to be focused on Mr. Masterson, as a means of advertising and promoting the AETN series in which she stars. Ms. Remini has relied on the outrageous claims from two individuals, Chrissie Carnell Bixler and [redacted], who alleged that Mr. Masterson sexually assaulted them on separate occasions more than 15 years ago. These allegations against Mr. Masterson are patently false and defamatory per se…Because the defamatory statements are defamatory on their face, Mr. Masterson would not need to prove special damages in any legal action against AETN and/or its production partners. The resulting multi-million dollar damages would be presumed in any litigation…

Actually, four separate women have come forward and are cooperating with the investigation, all four of them alleging that they were violently raped by Masterson between 2001 and 2004. (One of the women did report her allegations to the police at the time, coming forward to the LAPD in 2004 in a case that was closed but has now been reopened.) Their statements are corroborated by other witnesses, as well as some really interesting documents involving the Church of Scientology that surfaced during the two-year probe. But let’s get back to Marty’s broadside…

Further, AETN and its production partners cannot escape liability simply by claiming that they have so-called “sources” for the defamatory statements they intend to broadcast. It appears that AETN and the producers of the Episode simply took the words of Mss. Bixler and [redacted] at face value without examining the credibility of the women themselves. In reality, there are in excess of 20 witnesses, many of whom are not members of the Church of Scientology, who will confirm that both women’s stories about Mr. Masterson are completely false. Ignoring the facts and broadcasting the outrageous and defamatory allegations is one of the most reckless examples of journalism we have ever seen. Not even a supermarket tabloid would stoop to the level to which AETN and it production partners have lowered themselves. Publication and broadcast of the false and uncorroborated claims of Mss. Bixler and [redacted] will be attributed to AETN and the producers of the Episode, exposing all responsible parties to tens of millions of dollars in damages…

The potential damage to our client from the publication and broadcast of these unsubstantiated, reckless, and false claims by two women whose everchanging stories have been refuted and contradicted by numerous people is enormous. As you should be aware, Mr. Masterson has a successful acting career and he enjoys a reputation in the community of a caring and sincere individual. In addition, the new season of Mr. Masterson’s Netflix series is scheduled to premiere on June 16, 2017. The timing of the planned broadcast of the Episode raises questions about AETN’s and Ms. Remini’s motives and intentions. Further, Mr. Masterson’s wife underwent kidney transplant surgery three weeks ago. As she recovers over the next several months and is subject to continued testing and medical monitoring, AETN and its production partners should be mindful of the emotional distress that the intended broadcast of the Episode will cause her. For AETN to promote and air the Episode to coincide with the premiere of Mr. Masterson’s series and while his wife is recuperating appears to be calculated to maximize negative impact it will have on our client’s career and personal life. AETN and its production partners will be liable for all resulting damages.

Since this letter was written, Bijou Phillips seems to have healed up from her surgery. And Danny Masterson is no longer with his Netflix show. Although some people would like for him to be reinstated.

For all the reasons detailed below, Mss. Bixler and [redacted] are textbook examples of unreliable sources. It is deeply troubling that Ms. Remini, AETN, Slauson, and IPC have latched upon the fiction of these women to profit at our client’s expense. Regardless of whether Ms. Remini, AETN, Slauson, and/or IPC have paid or provided any monetary inducement to Mss. Bixler and [redacted] for their cooperation and/or participation in the Episode, or whether AETN and its production partners are simply using the women as pawns to promote the television series, any broadcast of the Episode containing the false and defamatory statements about Mr. Masterson would be reckless.

Broadcasting the Episode based on inherently unreliable information obtained from Mss. Bixler and /or [redacted] will give rise to substantial claims for defamation and false light invasion of privacy against Ms. Remini, AETN, Slauson, IPC, and any other individuals and entities associated with the production and broadcast of the series…Moreover, if AETN and its production partners use any still images or video footage of Mr. Masterson in the Episode they also will be exposed to liability for misappropriation of our client’s publicity rights…

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The letter then goes into specific attacks on each of the two women: That they in fact were grateful for Masterson’s attentions, that they are only in it for the money — in other words, the usual attacks on women who come forward with sexual assault claims. (The women are not suing Masterson, and were not paid for their appearances on the ‘Aftermath’ episode.) Marty then winds up for his big finale…

This letter shall serve as notice that if the Episode containing any reference to Mr. Masterson airs on AETN, or elsewhere, our client will not hesitate to pursue all available legal and equitable claims and hold the network and producers fully accountable and liable for any and all damages, whether in the form of harm to Mr. Masterson’s reputation, lost future profits, and/or intentional infliction of emotional distress caused by the broadcast of these outrageous claims. We demand that AETN immediately cease and desist from broadcasting the Episode, as planned for this summer, and confirm as much in writing within 10 business days.

Do not underestimate the seriousness of this matter. If you broadcast the Episode, which accuses our client of multiple crimes, you will be exposed to damages well in excess of $20 million.

If you disregard this demand to immediately cease and desist from broadcasting the Episode, you do so at your own peril.

Please govern yourselves accordingly.

This letter does not constitute a complete or exhaustive statement of our client’s claims. Nothing stated herein is intended as, nor should it be deemed to constitute a waiver or relinquishment, of any of our client’s rights or remedies, whether legal or equitable, all of which are hereby expressly reserved.

Sincerely,

Martin D. Singer

So while DA Jackie Lacey is reportedly being held up by Scientology’s involvement in a case her full office is urging her to take to trial, Masterson’s own very high-priced attorneys are threatening to sue A&E for $20 million if they so much as mention his name.

Between those two attempts to silence them, you can understand why Masterson’s accusers are feeling battered and bruised after this two-year process.

 
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Jeffrey Augustine wants your help

Jeffrey Augustine asked us to invite our readers who are former members of the Church of Scientology to take a survey he helped put together. It doesn’t ask you to provide a name or any identifying personal information.

Some additional instructions from Jeffrey: After you answer questions, please scroll down to the “NEXT” box to go to the next page. Completion time is estimated at ten minutes.

Note: JavaScript and cookies need to be enabled in your browser in order for the site and surveys to work properly. If you’re experiencing technical issues, please clear your browsing history, cookies, and cache. This often solves most common technical issues. The survey can take 3-10 seconds to load:

 


Create your own user feedback survey

 
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Your proprietor does the podcast thing

We had fun hanging out with the MythInformed guys in Milwaukee, technical issues and all…

 

 
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Start making your plans!

 
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Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Jenna Elfman, Giovanni Ribisi, and Greta Van Susteren]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] The new Freedom magazine is here, and Scientology has never looked better!
[TWO years ago] Behold, it’s Scientology Jesus as you’ve never seen him before!
[THREE years ago] How Scientology hooks public officials on its addictive anti-drug front
[FOUR years ago] L. Ron Hubbard fisticuffs! Scientology secrets unearthed in a new government disclosure
[FIVE years ago] ‘The Factors’: Another video the Church of Scientology would rather you not watch
[SIX years ago] Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear: We Don’t Think Scientology Is Going to Like This Book Much
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology’s Infinite Pit and Water Wall — More Crazy Rooms in the Super Power Building!

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,332 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,463 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,965 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,445 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 508 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 396 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,703 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,571 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,345 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,119 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,465 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,031 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,951 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,118 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,699 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,959 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,999 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,711 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,237 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,326 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,466 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,786 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,642 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,761 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,117 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,419 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,525 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,928 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,799 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,382 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,877 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,131 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,240 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on January 17, 2019 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists | GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice | SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts | Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news

 

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