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New witness spills tea on Danny Masterson, ‘The Ranch,’ and attorney Andrew Brettler

[Masterson and Kutcher in the Netflix series The Ranch]

On March 3, 2017, we broke the news that Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson was being investigated by the LAPD on rape allegations from three women.

Eight months later, on November 2, Yashar Ali advanced the story at the Huffington Post. By then a fourth victim was known to have joined the investigation, and Yashar said his reporting suggested the evidence against Masterson was “overwhelming” but the case was being “slow-rolled” by the LA District Attorney’s office.

The next morning, on November 3, Yashar Ali raised another question about the case. He said that Netflix was aware of the allegations against Masterson but had made no decisions about whether to fire him or cancel his series the network was streaming, The Ranch.

Now we’ve learned more about what happened that day as The Ranch was put under a microscope and Netflix began to feel the pressure about continuing with the production while one of its stars was facing such serious allegations of sexual abuse.

That morning, a former production assistant on the show, Nick Olszewski, emailed his former boss, The Ranch producer Melanie Patterson, after reading the two stories in the Huffington Post.

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“I have information relative to Danny Masterson’s case. I just want to know what I should do,” he wrote to her.

Olszewski had worked in Hollywood for years as a production assistant after coming out from Wisconsin after he graduated from college. He had met Patterson while working on a couple of pilots that went nowhere, and on one series that did make it to a network, TBS, but only briefly: Your Family or Mine, featuring Richard Dreyfuss, which lasted one ten-episode season.

Melanie Patterson had a much longer and more illustrious career in Hollywood. She had produced 72 episodes of That ’70s Show in 2002-2003, and now, more than a decade later, she was joining up again with actors Danny Masterson and Ashton Kutcher and director David Trainer to make The Ranch for Netflix.

Patterson brought on Olszewski, who says he didn’t know Masterson before getting his job as the set production assistant on the series. He describes it as a grueling job as the right-hand person to the director and assistant director while making sure the set was ready for shooting.

And over those three seasons, he says, he got to know Danny Masterson well.

“Danny and I were really good friends for a year and a half. We hung out a lot,” Olszewski tells us.

After a taping Danny would typically have an aftershow party at a private room at La Poubelle, a French restaurant across the street from the Scientology Celebrity Centre on Franklin. It was usually only for cast and crew, but when Olszewski turned 37, he says Masterson told him to invite his friends so they could turn it into a birthday party.

Ashton Kutcher was also at the party, but Olszewski says he never got as close to Masterson’s co-star as he did with Danny. At one point, however, Kutcher surprised him with a kind gesture.

“My cousin got burned in a paint fire back in Wisconsin. I told Ashton about it, and he sent my cousin a get-well video. My family thought that was really, really sweet.”

With Masterson, Olszewski says they got so close he spent considerable time with the actor in his dressing room, and Masterson let down his guard around him.

But despite that relationship and his happiness with the show, Olszewski says he had no choice but to leave the job after three 10-episode seasons: a set production assistant does nothing but stand for about 12 hours a day, and a spinal condition was making it impossible for Olszewski to endure it. He took a job with another show in post-production that would allow him to work sitting down.

He left The Ranch in late 2016 after working on the first three of what ended up being eight ten-episode seasons in total, and he didn’t hear much from Masterson after that. In August 2017, Olszewski sent Danny a text about a charity Olszewski’s girlfriend was supporting and asked Masterson if he would tag a video she had put out about it and share it with his friends. He didn’t get a response.

In the meantime, Olszewski had some time to think about some of the things he’d seen while he was in such close proximity to Masterson, and three incidents weighed on him in particular.

“At one point I heard Danny going ‘external’ on someone on the phone in his dressing room hours after rehearsal when he thought everyone was gone. I was going through the halls and stopped to listen because he was so angry. Speaking so violently. It was out of character — or so I thought at the time,” Olszewski says, adding that he didn’t know who Masterson was chewing out.

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In the second incident, Olszewski was present with a group in Kutcher’s dressing room when he saw Danny Masterson giving advice to another The Ranch cast member, Elisha Cuthbert.

“Before Elisha and her sister and her girlfriends were going to Las Vegas for a birthday party, Danny gave them a crash course in how to avoid getting roofied. I thought it was strange, how he knew so much about it,” Olszewski says.

The third thing that weighed on his mind, he says, was Masterson’s confession about a drinking problem. “He confided in me that he used to get so drunk that he would wake up in the park and have no idea what happened the night before, and that he went through a ‘phase’ like that,” Olszewski says.

As he read stories about Masterson in the press, Olszewski says he also recalled how Masterson “made my girlfriend so uncomfortable with his disregard for her personal space. He always kissed her on the cheek and touched her lower back even though they had only met a handful of times,” he says.

Then, the two stories by Yashar Ali hit in the Huffington Post, and Olszewski says he felt a wave of revulsion. He felt sympathy for the women accusing Masterson, and that what he’d witnessed tended to back up their allegations.

He decided he had to tell someone something, so he reached out to Patterson, his former boss on the show, on the morning of November 3.

Later that afternoon, he heard back from Patterson as well as Masterson.

Judging by what they wrote to him, they both assumed that Olszewski was contacting them because he had information that would help out his old friend. They apparently had no idea that the opposite was the case, and that Olszewski believed he had damning information about Danny.

“Yo my bro. Just finished runthru. Mel told me earlier u hit her up with info to help me with this bullshit I’m dealing with. What u got?!” Masterson texted to Olszewski at 3:50 pm on November 3.

 

 
Olszewski also heard from Patterson, who told him that he would be contacted by someone doing an investigation.

“Hi Thanks so much for touching base Our guy who’s gathering information is going to reach out to you. His name is Andrew,” Patterson wrote to him in an email.

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And that same day Olszewski did receive a text from a telephone number he didn’t recognize.

“Nick, it’s Andrew. Heard u have info to share re:Masterson. Pls give me a call or text. Thx.”

But Olszewski says he wasn’t about to say anything sensitive to someone he didn’t know.

“I’m not stupid. I seriously had concerns after what I’d read about the rape allegations, and I’m not going to talk to just anybody,” he says. The short conversation that ensued with “Andrew” didn’t go very far.

Olszewski: What is your last name and job title? I would only discuss this in person with a third party present

Andrew: Discuss what?

Olszewski: Re:Masterson

Andrew: Not following. Do u have info to help Masterson?

Olszewski: Last name and job title please

Andrew: Doesn’t sound like you have any info at all. Why the games? The need for a third party? What’s this about?

Olszewski tells us that he was stunned when he looked up the phone number and realized that “Andrew,” the “our guy” that Patterson had sent his way, was actually Andrew Brettler, an attorney who worked for Marty Singer, the legendary Hollywood entertainment lawyer who had represented Masterson for years. (We confirmed that the telephone number on Andrew’s texts matched the mobile number that Brettler listed in court papers in the harassment lawsuit that Masterson’s accusers filed against the actor and Scientology in 2019.)

Brettler’s profile shot up this week when it was revealed that his newest client is Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, who is using Brettler to deny that he’s been served properly in a lawsuit that accuses the prince of forcing sexual activity on Virginia Giuffre in the early 2000s, when she was then 16 and 17. Prince Andrew has denied the allegations. Brettler is also representing other high profile men accused of sexual misconduct, including actor Armie Hammer and director Bryan Singer.

Olszweski says he expected that The Ranch and Netflix would be interested in an independent investigation of the allegations against Masterson. But instead, they’d turned it over to Danny’s own attorney.

“Netflix was using Danny’s lawyer as the investigator,” Olszewski charges.

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But Brettler denies that, telling us that he wasn’t working for Netflix.

“I’ve never represented Netflix, nor did anyone there ask me to do anything regarding the allegations against Mr. Masterson,” he told us in an email when we asked him about his texts to Olszewski.

Patterson didn’t respond to our message, and we also haven’t heard back from Netflix. We asked Brettler to pass on a request for a conversation with Masterson, and if any of them get back to us, we’ll add it to the story.

Whether it was only the producers of The Ranch who were using Danny Masterson’s attorney and not Netflix, the network continued to keep Masterson in his job for another month.

Then, on December 4, Yashar Ali published another story at the Huffington Post, this time with the bizarre news that while at a youth soccer game, one of Masterson’s accusers was talking to another parent who turned out to be Andy Yeatman, a Netflix executive. When the accuser asked Yeatman why Netflix wasn’t taking action, he admitted that “we don’t believe them” in reference to the alleged victims.

Netflix, embarrassed by the story, fired both Yeatman and Masterson, and Masterson’s character Rooster was subsequently written out of the show.

In Rooster’s final episode, released in June 2018, he is driven away after being threatened at gunpoint by a character named…

…Nick.

Olszewski says he figures that choice of character names wasn’t an accident.

A year after Rooster’s exit, in June 2019, Masterson’s accusers filed a civil lawsuit against him, accusing Danny and the Church of Scientology of subjecting them to a campaign of harassment for coming forward to the LAPD. Masterson is being represented in that lawsuit by Andrew Brettler. A year after that lawsuit was filed, in June 2020, the LA District Attorney formally charged Masterson with raping three of the women. His trial has been scheduled for February, he’s facing 45 years to life in prison if he’s convicted, and he’s being represented by famous defense attorney Tom Mesereau.

Olszewski says he knows he may get some heat from former friends about coming forward, but he says his sympathy for Masterson’s alleged victims made him decide to speak up, and to testify at the upcoming trial, if he’s asked.

We have a feeling he will be.

 
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Source Code

“Now, you’ve got the Havingness Process established. And you say, ‘Where isn’t that wall’ or whatever it is, see, whatever the Havingness Process is. ‘Thank you. Where isn’t that wall? Thank you. Where isn’t the ceiling? Thank you. Where isn’t the floor? Thank you. What have you withheld from a home?’ And the guy goes figure, figure, figure, think, think, think, clank, clank, clank, figure, figure, figure, figure, figure, figure, figure, figure, figure, figure. ‘Well, in a past life I used to take all my money down to the pub and I never gave any to the wife. I withheld money from the home.’ And you say, ‘Thank you. Where isn’t the wall? Thank you. Where isn’t that ceiling? Thank you. Where isn’t that floor? Thank you.’ Got the idea?” — L. Ron Hubbard, September 16, 1961

 
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Avast, Ye Mateys

“More Enormous Events never before seen or held are scheduled for the GRAND WORD CLEARING FESTIVAL! The night of the 22nd, at Sea, at 8PM the Great Radio Show WAR OF THE WORLDS will be played in HCI by LRH Personal PRO. The WORDS that caused riots in the US. These words pouring out of US Radios caused whole towns to empty! Unbelievable bone chilling realism brought direct to this upstat crew. Fantastic, never since heard! Imported at VAST expense solely for this yacht with the express permission of ORSON WELLES himself. Watch this billboard for even further stellar events!” — The Commodore, September 16, 1971

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

“There is a connection between race and the tone scale, some races are more likely to be 1.1 than others, then they end up getting kicked out of many European countries and they claim people are mean racists when its like ‘um maybe you guys have some real bad culture business practices’.”

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Past is Prologue

1997: Scientologists and other religious figures testified at a Senate hearing this week on religious intolerance in Europe. John Travolta, Chick Corea and Isaac Hayes were among the participants. From the Associated Press: “The subject was serious — religious persecution — but girlish giggles echoing in a Capitol hearing room Thursday signaled that some serious star wattage also was under careful review: John Travolta. But the actor was directing all of his heat and anger at Germany, accusing its government of harassing and discriminating against his fellow practitioners of Scientology, a religion with many big-name members. Travolta asked the U.S. congressional panel for the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe to complain about the persecution in Germany at the organization’s next international meeting.”

 
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Random Howdy

“Their only real motivation is to eliminate the competition. All the humanitarian shit is window dressing.”

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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for November 10. Trial tentatively scheduled for February.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference October 7 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for November 19.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30, 2020 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Petition to US Supreme Court submitted on May 26. Scientology responded on June 25.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: California Supreme Court granted review on May 26 and asked the Second Appellate Division to direct Judge Steven Kleifield to show cause why he granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Oral arguments scheduled for Oct 5.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Dec 17: Feshbachs sign court judgment obliging them to pay entire $3.674 million tax debt, plus interest from Nov 19.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 23. Appeal hearing held Aug 23-27.

Concluded litigation:
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
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.

 
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THE PROSECUTION OF DANNY MASTERSON

We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.

SCIENTOLOGY: FAIR GAME

After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.

LEAH REMINI: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE AFTERMATH

An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.

SCIENTOLOGY’S CELEBRITIES, from A to Z

Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

 
Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. 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 a weekly series. How many have you read?

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, No. 14: The Los Angeles Times
[TWO years ago] Charles Barkley becomes a slam dunk photo opportunity for Scientology
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s surprisingly weak attempt to turn Hurricane Florence into PR gold
[FOUR years ago] Disconnected at birth — another infuriating Scientology saga
[FIVE years ago] VIDEO: City council candidate exposed as Scientology spy in live public hearing
[SIX years ago] ‘Fundamentalist’ Scientology means chasing the ideal of Neo while turning your back on family
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology says it’s received $5.7 million from Google in advertising grants
[EIGHT years ago] TOM CRUISE IN CLEARWATER: Scientology Gathering Big Names For Product Launch
[TEN years ago] The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 7: Mark Bunker

 
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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 2,425 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,930 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,450 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,470 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,361 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,668 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,536 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,310 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,640 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,114 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,430 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,996 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,915 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,083 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,664 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,925 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,962 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,676 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,201 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 556 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,731 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,282 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,431 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,751 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,606 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,725 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,081 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,384 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,490 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,888 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,764 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,347 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,842 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,096 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,205 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on September 16, 2021 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, 1995-2020 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2020), 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, 15 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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