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Danny Masterson’s Scientology upbringing: An interview with his former stepdad, Joe Reaiche

[Danny and his sister Alanna]

It was 1982 and Joe Reaiche — he pronounces it “reesh” — was in Florida working his way up Scientology’s “Bridge to Total Freedom.”

He was a Lebanese-Australian professional rugby player, convinced that Scientology had the answers to help him achieve even more. So he had traveled to the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida, Scientology’s “spiritual mecca,” working hard to become the best Scientologist he could possibly be.

And while he was there doing services, he met a young family and quickly became close to them. Peter was an insurance agent. “Good guy, and a baseball player. It was an athletic family,” Joe remembers. Peter’s wife Carol was ambitious and good looking. And they had two sons, Daniel, who was 6, and Christopher just 2.

The Mastersons seemed like an ideal Scientology family, and Joe kept in touch with them as his Scientology involvement deepened.

By 1983, his rugby career had ended and he dedicated himself even more fully to the L. Ron Hubbard “technology” by taking on Operating Thetan Level Seven, which at that time was the auditing level at the top of the Bridge. It was still some years before OT 8 would become the new pinnacle in the summer of 1988.


And Joe explains that he was fully convinced that Scientology had the answers he was looking for.


“I thought that level would be the ultimate in OT immortality. At that time it was promoted that you could change anything in session and life would change, almost like a magic wand. This is almost 40 years ago, and Hubbard was still alive. At that time it was the pinnacle of the Bridge. That’s why I was doing it,” he says.

But despite his enthusiasm and his hard work, he wasn’t getting the improvement he thought would happen, and by 1984 he had gone into a funk.

By that time, Carol Masterson had split up with Peter, and she and Joe began dating. Then, they decided to make a huge commitment.

Not only would they get married in 1985, but they would also join Scientology’s exclusive Sea Organization as Joe became stepfather to Danny, then 9, and Christopher, 5.

“Let’s join the Sea Org, the world is going down, and we could be Class 12 auditors at Flag. I was already Class 5 and an OT 7,” Joe remembers his thinking to be.

They got married in the Crystal Ballroom on the top floor of the Fort Harrison Hotel, Scientology’s holiest spot, and then had a three day honeymoon.

Danny and Chris had been living with their father Peter in New York, but when Joe and Carol were married, they came down to Clearwater and enrolled at True School, a Scientology school.

“We would sleep at the QI — the Quality Inn. It was a cockroach-infested facility. Just a small room with a bathroom,” Joe remembers. Life in the Sea Org, which required signing a billion-year contract and working 365 days a year, was rough on the kids of a Sea Org family. Danny and Chris were on the floor, and Joe and Carol had the bed.

“It was a room maybe the size of a kitchen. A bathroom. And a weak air conditioner,” Joe says. “To their credit, the boys went through a lot of change to accommodate us in the Sea Org. And they didn’t complain. They were good kids.”

Joe, meanwhile, was then sent to New York to handle a special problem: Some people were asking for refunds.



[Danny, Chris, and Jordan]

In Scientology, there’s almost no worse sin. Not only was it a shocking betrayal of the idea that L. Ron Hubbard’s “technology” delivered what it promised, but a refund request put a huge burden on the Flag Land Base.

“Everything had a weekly numerical value in Scientology. If someone bought an intensive for $5,000 and then asked for a refund, it hit two times that service delivered. It was a double penalty against production that week. At the time, Flag was bringing in about $2 million a week, but if someone asked for a $100,000 refund, that was a $200,000 hit and everyone was on rice and beans,” he says.

Several Scientologists in the New York area had made refund requests at Flag, so Joe was sent up to resolve it.

We asked him, were they sending a burly former professional rugby player as muscle?

“No, they sent me because they had no one else. I sat down with them and asked them what was wrong,” says Joe, who does have an infectious affability that no doubt convinced unhappy Scientologists to open up about what was causing them to ask for their money back.

Joe was so good at talking people out of asking for refunds, it became his job for the church. “I was flown anywhere and everywhere on a minute’s notice to get that claim dropped by Thursday at 2 pm,” he says, referring to Scientology’s weekly production deadline.

Meanwhile, he and Carol were trying to be parents to their kids despite their around-the-clock schedules. “We’d always eat at home and always with the kids. We’d hang out with them and then we’d go back to work at 10 pm. That was always great about Carol, she believed in ‘Family Time.’ She was a director of processing with auditors under her arm. She was originally a nurse,” he remembers. “You can understand the neglect the kids were going through, but that’s how life in the Sea Org was.”

Less than two years after joining the Sea Org, however, Joe had had enough. “I decided to leave in 1986. I told Carol she could stay, but I had to leave.”

She decided to leave with him and they moved to Los Angeles, taking their new son, Jordan, who had been born in 1986.

Joe was still working for Scientology, selling L. Ron Hubbard lectures on cassettes for Golden Era Productions and Bridge Publications, quickly becoming their best salesman.

Danny and Chris, after staying for a while with their father Peter in New York, rejoined Joe and Carol in Glendale in late 1986, and Danny and Chris continued to attend Scientology schools, Joe says. Then, in 1988, they moved to Garden City on Long Island where Joe got a job working for a mortgage company.

By then, Joe had been Danny Masterson’s stepfather for three years.


“He was a good kid. Not academic, but a good baseball player. It was his passion, and everyone knew it. He wasn’t arrogant, he was a good kid,” he says.

Carol had gotten her sons into modeling and was frequently taking them into Manhattan for auditions. It had started in the early 1980s, Joe says, and when they returned to New York in 1988 it picked up again.

It was about a 45 minute drive to the city, and usually it was Carol taking them for an audition. “Or I would do it if she needed me, or we’d all go in one van, the four of us. Back in like 1982, they would make like $75 for a shoot, for a photo in a magazine. For a bigger magazine it might be $350. It was a precursor to TV commercials as things increased,” he says.

In June 1988, the family grew when their daughter Alanna was born. Danny and Chris, meanwhile, made the transition from Scientology schools to Garden City High School.

“It was a difficult time. They weren’t good academically. They struggled. They didn’t like homework. In Scientology schools there’s no homework. And we’d pick up the kids from school and take them to the city for an audition,” he says.

But for Joe Reaiche and his four kids, the arrangement worked. The two older boys were getting gigs, Danny was playing baseball, and Peter, their father, was in the next town over. “A wonderful fellow. We all made for a good family clan,” Joe says.

And then, in 1992, disaster struck.

Joe had been convinced to invest in a new toy that he and his partners, other Scientologists, thought might take the world by storm. It was a skateboard with wide, banked sides and extra wheels. It was called the “Skatewing,” and Joe bet big on it.


[Danny Masterson modeling the Skatewing]

[Jordan, upper left, and Alanna, lower left, model the new toy]

The Skatewing bombed.

“I lost my shirt. I lost the house. I lost over $200,000,” he says. “We had to move back to Los Angeles in 1993. But the kids were easy. They didn’t care. School wasn’t a big thing for them. Carol kept them focused on their acting careers.”

That year, 1993, Danny got a recurring role on “Joe’s Life,” an ABC comedy starring Peter Onorati as Joe Gennaro, a laid-off dad taking care of his kids. It lasted a single season.


“He was good in that,” Joe says. Danny’s career was taking off, and in five years he would land his biggest role, as Steven Hyde on That ’70s Show. But for Joe, things were going in the other direction.

“The pressure to do Scientology courses and services on top of the financial problems we were having, it was too much,” he says. He and Carol split up in 1994 and divorced in 1995.

But for the next ten years, he says, he was still close to all four of his kids.

With Danny’s acting success, he moved to Laurel Canyon. “Then I got him his mortgage for his Hollywood Hills house in 1998,” Joe says. “He’d just booked That ’70s Show when he moved there. So now he has his house, he’s famous, he’s making money. And I went to his house there a few times. I trained Danny, I trained Chris, fitness training. I helped Chris train for movies, Danny needed help in dieting. Whatever help I could give them. When they were in trouble, they’d turn to stepdad Joe.”

Joe says that Danny worked hard and was “a good kid,” but he also points out that things came pretty easily to him. Chris was more reserved. Jordan needed his guidance in 2004 when things weren’t working out the way he liked. But all four of them, he says, were close to each other and looked up to Joe for help and direction.

He remembers one particular moment in 2004 like it happened to someone else. “I was making breakfast for my daughter Alanna, and her friends Rumer Willis and Riley Keough, and I said, ‘If Elvis was here right now, he’d be saying thank you, Joe, for making breakfast for my granddaughter.’ It was a surreal moment for me, but they were all good kids.”

Then, in 2005, Scientology stepped in. Joe had run afoul of the organization after so many years, and he was subjected to a “committee of evidence” that had the power to “declare him suppressive,” the equivalent of excommunication.

On June 11, 2005, he received his declare order, which had been hand-delivered to his mailbox. “I was in Clearwater. I called my kids that day probably ten or fifteen times each, and they never answered. See how evil those bastards at Scientology are? They prepped them. The kids knew before I knew,” he says.

Declared a “suppressive person,” Joe was now radioactive. Any Scientologist not wanting to risk their own membership was now required to cut off all contact from him. He hasn’t heard from any of his children since that day. He’s had no contact with Alanna, for example, as she had her own success as an actress, with a run on The Walking Dead from 2013 to 2019. Jordan has a recurring role on Last Man Standing. And Christopher played the older brother Francis on Malcolm in the Middle.

“I have no beef with the kids and the family, I understand what happened. I don’t hate Carol or the kids. They’re a good family. My beef is with the church,” Joe says.

And he hesitates to draw any conclusions about Danny Masterson’s childhood in Scientology and his current problems. “Whatever’s happening now is out of my control,” he says.

At one point, he mentioned that at the time Danny bought the Hollywood Hills home on Hollyridge Drive in 1998, he was dating a model. “But that didn’t work out,” Joe says, asking us if we know who he’s referring to. We acknowledged that he was talking about Chrissie Carnell, who dated Masterson between 1997 and 2001, when she says he raped her.

Last week, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey charged Masterson for raping three women between 2001 and 2003, and will be seeking a penalty of 45 years to life in prison. We’ve previously explained which three women Lacey was referring to in her press release.

1. “The defendant is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman between January and December 2001, according to the complaint.”


This is a reference to the woman we’ve been calling Victim A. She identified herself publicly as Chrissie Carnell Bixler, and only because Masterson’s then-pubicist, Jenni Weinman, attacked her by name the day we first broke news about the LAPD investigation on March 3, 2017. A few unscrupulous websites repeated the name (most news organizations, reporting on Weinman’s accusations, left the name out), and Chrissie felt at that point that she had no choice but to identify herself.

2. “In April 2003, Masterson allegedly raped a 28-year-old woman…”

This is a reference to the woman we’ve been calling Victim B. She was raped at Masterson’s house at a party, and she did not date Masterson and is not a bitter ex-girlfriend, as Masterson has tried to portray her. She reported the incident to the Church of Scientology, which tried to discourage her from going to the LAPD and charged her about $15,000 for “past-life therapy” to try and convince her that evil things she had done centuries ago explained why she was victimized in this lifetime. In the civil lawsuit, Victim B is referred to as “Jane Doe #1.”

3. “…and sometime between October and December of that year he is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman who he had invited to his Hollywood Hills home.”

This is a reference to the woman we’ve been calling Victim C. We interviewed her in 2017, and she provided a harrowing account of how she was attacked when she made her one and only visit to see Masterson in his house. Like Victim B, she did not date Masterson and is not a bitter ex-girlfriend, as he is trying to portray her. In the civil lawsuit, Victim C is referred to as “Jane Doe #2.”

Chrissie, Victim B (Jane Doe 1), and Victim C (Jane Doe 2), were all Scientologists at the time of their attacks, but all have left the church. All three have said they felt pressured by Scientology not to report their allegations to authorities.

Masterson has denied the allegations against him, and said he looked forward to “beating” his ex-girlfriend in court, apparently a reference to Carnell Bixler.


[Carol Masterson, Rusty Tweed, and Christopher Masterson in 2006]

After divorcing Joe Reaiche in 1995, Carol Masterson married a financial advisor named Robert Russell “Rusty” Tweed. We recently detailed how Tweed was charged with fraud by the SEC and banned from selling securities for life after operating a small Ponzi scheme. We noted in that story that when the fund he was running began to fail, he made sure a “stepson” was made whole while others suffered substantial losses. But the SEC did not reveal which stepson — Danny, Christopher, or Jordan — that referred to.

Carol, we noted in that story, has been dealing with her own legal problems, fighting in court over possession of a deluxe home in Park City, Utah. She’s in appeals court over the matter now, and is representing herself.

Press reports of Danny’s arrest last week made references to his Hollywood Hills home as if he still lived there, but in fact he’s rented it out for years and now lives in Santa Ynez, California, where his wife Bijou Phillips was served with the court papers in the civil lawsuit brought against Masterson by his rape accusers, we reported in December.

Bijou reacted to the arrest of her husband last week by taking down her Instagram account.

On Friday, we pointed out that Danny Masterson’s published record of Scientology completions is surprisingly meager. And Joe Reaiche says his own understanding is that Danny is not “Clear.” In that piece, we detailed some of the courses Danny has completed, including Grade II, which includes the infamous “Joburg” interrogation.


And speaking of interrogations, there’s little question that the Hollywood Celebrity Centre, and specifically auditor Angie LaClaire, did a Scientology interrogation of both Masterson and Victim B in 2003, and would have produced detailed reports about what they said. But suspiciously, Scientology made LaClaire disappear before the LAPD could interview her. (And we have a guess as to where they may be keeping her in the meantime.)

Scientology’s involvement in these cases is pervasive, and it will be a major focus not only of the civil lawsuit, which named the church and its leader David Miscavige as defendants, but also in the criminal prosecution. And Danny’s upbringing in this embattled and vindictive organization should be a part of any serious discussion of these court cases.


March 3, 2017: LAPD probing Scientology and Danny Masterson for multiple rapes, cover-up
March 8, 2017: Danny Masterson: Victim C gets support from a veteran actress
March 11, 2017: Scientology made Danny Masterson’s Victim B search past lives to explain being raped
May 9, 2017: Masterson hires Michael Jackson criminal defense attorney Tom Mesereau in rape probe
Nov 2, 2017: Read the threatening letter Danny Masterson’s attorney Marty Singer sent a victim’s husband
Nov 26, 2017: EXCLUSIVE: Scientology interrogated Danny Masterson and accuser, didn’t notify LAPD
Apr 27, 2018: Strange days for a woman accusing Danny Masterson of rape — and for her rocker husband
July 8, 2018: Masterson witness fears for safety as investigation drags on and on
Nov 30, 2018: LEAH REMINI: Los Angeles DA Jackie Lacey, do your job already

Jan 22, 2020: Cedric Bixler-Zavala blames Scientology for poisoned dog he had to put down yesterday
Feb 3, 2020: Here’s Scientology actor Danny Masterson’s legal response to his rape accusers
Feb 10, 2020: Another dog poisoned: Bobette Riales says harassment worse since suing Scientology
Feb 26, 2020: SEVENTH victim comes forward to LAPD accusing Scientology actor Danny Masterson
Feb 29, 2020: Amended complaint filed against Danny Masterson with new stalking allegations
March 14, 2020: Danny Masterson’s victims speak out in sworn documents in lawsuit against Scientology
May 4, 2020: Masterson: Drop me from Scientology lawsuit if the ‘Jane Does’ won’t name themselves
June 18, 2020: How will Scientology react to Danny Masterson being charged with rape?
June 19, 2020: Records show Danny Masterson is a woeful Scientologist — would he turn on the church?
June 23, 2020: The key thing about Danny Masterson’s ‘DJ Donkey Punch’ nick is why he stopped using it



Source Code

“A few days ago I decided I would look young. Well, how do you look young? All you do is take flesh off certain planes of the face. This is what artists do in making faces old or young. So, I selectively ran incidents until the planes of the face were smaller. Oddly enough you run out tiredness also when you do this. You can actually select off certain pieces of flesh, and change your appearance. You have with this technique the power of changing your own physiological being. You go on up, theta line running, and you have another choice: You can change beings. You could! Of course you have been growing and nurturing this body, and you are somewhat attached to it. But it is just as much an object as this eraser, and your existence with this body is something like going around holding this eraser all the time, and saying, ‘I’m the eraser.'” — L. Ron Hubbard, June 24, 1952


Overheard in the FreeZone

“There have been big efforts to solve the mystery of the Third Parties on the independent field. The big outpoint has always been OSA’s false reports, false information and black propaganda furnished in bigoted websites. Indies resorting to those websites to attack other indies should be considered OSA collaborators.”


Random Howdy

“An ice cold martini sure sounds better than lukewarm vodka and lemonade”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Arraignment scheduled for September 18.
Jay Spina, Medicare fraud: Sentencing is set for July 6 in White Plains, NY
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial set for October 7 in Los Angeles

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments set for July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Hearing on motion for reconsideration set for August 11
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: July 8 (plaintiff attorneys pro hac vice), August 31-Sept 1 (CSI/RTC demurrer against Riales, Masterson demurrer), Oct 7-19 (motions to compel arbitration)
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach bankruptcy appeal: Oral arguments were heard on March 11 in Jacksonville
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Amended complaint filed.


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

[Elisabeth Moss, Michael Peña, and Laura Prepon]

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?



[ONE year ago] YouTube permanently shutters channel that exposed Scientology’s bigotry
[TWO years ago] Coming soon, our collaboration with ‘Miss Lovely’ herself, Paulette Cooper!
[THREE years ago] Scientology watchers, one mile high: HowdyCon 2017’s big night is here
[FOUR years ago] Scientology stealth opening: Tomorrow, David Miscavige will dedicate two buildings in Florida
[FIVE years ago] A rundown on the truth being delivered at the Toronto Scientology conference
[SIX years ago] UP THE BRIDGE: We finally reach ‘OT 8’ — but was its first version really a hoax?
[SEVEN years ago] Laura D to Scientology: It’s Too Late for a Protective Order in Forced-Abortion Case
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Plays Denver’s Police Chief Like a Violin
[NINE years ago] Milton Katselas Pleads With Scientology After Grant Cardone’s Attack: A Church Jihad?
[TWELVE years ago] The Would-Be Hubbard Biographer


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,978 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,482 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,002 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,022 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 913 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,220 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,088 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,862 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,636 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,982 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,548 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,467 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,635 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,216 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,477 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,515 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,228 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,753 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,283 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,843 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,983 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,303 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,158 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,278 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,633 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,936 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,042 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,444 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,316 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,899 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,394 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,648 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,757 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 24, 2020 at 07:00

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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, 1995-2019 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2019), 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, 14 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 | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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