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Actor Danny Masterson Charged With Three Counts of Rape

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  • Danny Masterson was charged with three counts of rape and could face 45 years to life in prison if found guilty.
  • Allegations against him have been public for years, though Masterson has repeatedly denied them. In 2017 he lost his job on Netflix’s “The Ranch” after the LAPD opened an investigation into the claims. 
  • Masterson is a Scientologist, and his accusers claim the Church of Scientology pressured and threatened them into keeping quiet.
  • Leah Remini, actress and former member of the church, said that the charges against Masterson are just the beginning of what the church is covering up.

Masterson Charged

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that actor Danny Masterson was charged with rape on Wednesday.

Allegations against the “That ’70s Show” actor have been floating for several years. In 2017, it was revealed that the Los Angeles Police Department was investigating the matter, resulting in the actor getting fired from “The Ranch” on Netflix. He is now facing three counts of rape by force or fear. 

According to a statement from the D.A.’s office, Masterson was accused of raping a 23-year-old woman between January and December of 2001, a 28-year-old woman in April of 2003, and another 23-year-old woman between October and December of 2003. Those crimes all took place at his home, according to Reinhold Mueller, the Deputy District Attorney of the Sex Crimes Division who is prosecuting this case. 

As part of their investigation, the LAPD looked into two other sexual assault allegations against him but declined to press charges. They cited insufficient evidence for one case and the statute of limitations for the other. If Masterson is found guilty of three charges against him, he could face a possible maximum sentence of 45 years to life in prison. 

Masterson was arrested and booked on Wednesday afternoon, records from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department show. He was released later that day after posting a bond of $3.3 million. His arraignment is set for September. 

Masterson Defends Himself

Masterson’s attorney, Tom Mesereau released a statement defending his client against the charges.

“We’re confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify,” Mesereau said.

“Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in complete shock considering that these nearly 20-year old allegations are suddenly resulting in charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that ultimately the truth will come out. The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false.”

Masterson has also repeatedly denied the allegations as they have surfaced. When they cost him his job on “The Ranch,” he released a statement calling them “outrageous.”

Law enforcement investigated these claims more than 15 years ago and determined them to be without merit,” he said at the time. “I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one. In this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current climate, it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused.”

He was fired in December 2017, just a few months after the fallout of the claims against convicted rapist and film mogul Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein’s fall resulted in the rise of the #MeToo movement, as well as a reckoning of the way women are treated in Hollywood.

Reports of Cover Up From Scientology

Masterson’s case has made regular headlines largely in part due to his relationship with the Church of Scientology, of which he is a prominent member. Some of the women who have come out and accused Masterson were also Scientologists at the time of the alleged assaults. 

In 2017, Tony Ortega, a blogger and journalist who frequently writes about Scientology, reported that some of Masterson’s victims said that the church had pressured them to keep quiet about their claims. In some cases, they say they were punished by the church for speaking out.

His report stemmed from several LAPD documents he obtained. In one, a woman only identified as Victim A said the church threatened her after she reported the case to them. 

“They threatened me that if I ever told anyone or reported him to the police that I would be declared a ‘suppressive person’ and lose everything and everyone,” she said. “Then they put me on a massive ethics program as punishment. My rapist was not punished at all. They didn’t even call him to talk about it. I ended up breaking up with him two months later.”

The women also claimed that the LAPD was “compromised” by its relationship with the Church of Scientology. Victim A said there were known “leaks” in certain branches, and added that a detective acknowledged that “some LAPD officers are very friendly with the church of Scientology.”

The Church of Scientology has denied ever pressuring these women to keep quiet. These claims, however, were brought up again in 2019 when four women sued Masterson and the church, claiming they had been stalked and intimidated after reporting him. This lawsuit was first reported on by Variety, which wrote that the women had allegedly been followed by agents of the Church of Scientology. One plaintiff said she was chased in her car by two people filming her. Shortly after, her dog inexplicably died after suffering from “traumatic injuries to her trachea and esophagus.”

The women also reported facing online harassment, being targeted for credit card fraud, and having their home security systems hacked. Another plaintiff said she had been followed and photographed, even while on vacation, and that her teenage son’s window was smashed in the middle of the night. The food truck she owned was also vandalized. 

Leah Remini Responds

Allegations of corruption and threatening behavior against the Church of Scientology are nothing new. Much of this gained national attention when actress Leah Remini, who used to be a Scientologist, left the church and dedicated much of her life and career to exposing its inner workings. Her series “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath” won several accolades, including Emmy Awards.

Upon learning about the charges filed against Masterson, Remini celebrated on Twitter 

This is just the beginning Scientology, your days of getting away with it is coming to an end,” she wrote. 

Remini also shared a piece that Ortega published on Thursday morning titled: “How will Scientology react to Danny Masterson being charged with rape?” In the piece, Ortega spoke to Mike Rinder, who used to be a senior executive of the Church of Scientology International but left the church more than a decade ago. 

“They have to be careful. If they throw him under the bus and alienate him he could cause a lot of trouble for them,” Rinder said. “They might want to keep him close so they can keep all their stories straight. There are many, many people who have their fingerprints all over this, as the first place the rapes were reported was to Scientology and they did everything possible to ensure it did not get reported to the authorities.”

See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (New York Times) (Associated Press)

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Chrissy Teigen Apologizes To Courtney Stodden Following Backlash Over Old Tweets

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  • In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, Courtney Stodden, who gained tabloid attention a decade ago after marrying 51-year-old Doug Hutchison at the age of 16, said model Chrissy Teigen would privately DM me and tell me to kill myself.”
  • The direct messages have not been verified but Internet users dug up old tweets Teigen posted telling Stodden to take a “dirt nap.”
  • Many called Teigen out for harassing a then-teenager and telling them to die, especially since Teigen has been vocal about her own experiences with online hate, which prompted her to temporarily leave Twitter earlier this year.
  • On Wednesday, Teigen apologized to Stodden and said she was “ashamed and completely embarrassed” by her past remarks.

Courtney Stodden Speaks Out

Model and television personality Chrissy Teigen apologized on Wednesday for old comments she allegedly made 10 years ago, encouraging then-teenager Courtney Stodden to kill themself. 

In a profile by The Daily Beast, Stodden (who uses they/them pronouns) accused Teigen of sending them messages encouraging suicide.

“She wouldn’t just publicly tweet about wanting me to take ‘a dirt nap’ but would privately DM me and tell me to kill myself,” Stoddon told The Daily Beast, referring to Teigen. “Things like, ‘I can’t wait for you to die.’”

Teigen became a trending topic on Tuesday as people began sharing the article. Now, she is finally addressing the controversy.

“Not a lot of people are lucky enough to be held accountable for all their past bullshit in front of the entire world,” she wrote on Twitter. “I’m mortified and sad at who I used to be. I was an insecure, attention seeking troll. I am ashamed and completely embarrassed at my behavior but that is nothing compared to how I made Courtney feel.”

Stodden made headlines in 2011 after marrying 51-year-old Doug Hutchison at the age of 16. The couple has since divorced, but at the time of their marriage, their relationship was the subject of incessant tabloid coverage. Rather than show concern for Stodden’s situation as a victim of grooming, the media and public shamed and ridiculed them relentlessly. 

Teigen was one of many stars that Stodden said used to mock them. Stodden told The Daily Beast that “The View “co-host Joy Behar referred to them as a “slut” and musician Courtney Love called them a “whore.” They also claimed that of all the celebrities to use such harsh language, the only one to apologize since is Perez Hilton.

Chrissy Teigen Faces Backlash

While the direct messages Teigen allegedly sent have not been verified, several Twitter users recovered and shared old tweets Teigen posted at the height of Stodden’s fame. In one, Teigen says her “fantasy” would be for Stodden to take “a dirt nap.” In another, she told Stodden to “go to sleep forever.”

Many called the star out for bullying a 16-year-old. 

“Chrissy Teigen tried to bully a 16yo abuse victim into suicide?” one person wrote. “This is so much more than ‘oh she’s annoying on twitter’ she’s a fucking monster.”

Some claimed that her tweets should be considered a violation of Twitter’s terms of service. Others noted that earlier this year, Teigen temporarily left Twitter, citing copious amounts of online hate. Some found it hypocritical that she previously incited that same hate, then left the platform when it was being directed towards her. 

“I’m so sorry, Courtney. I hope you can heal now knowing how deeply sorry I am,” Teigen continued on Wednesday, adding that she wants to constantly work to be a better person.

See what others are saying: (BuzzFeed News) (The Daily Beast) (A.V. Club)

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Ellen DeGeneres Announces End of Her Daytime Talk Show

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  • In a Hollywood Reporter interview published Wednesday, Ellen DeGeneres revealed that she is ending her talk show after its upcoming 19th season.
  • Many believe the decision came in response to toxic workplace allegations the host and her show faced last summer, but DeGeneres said the plans were in motion far before that because the show is no longer challenging enough for her. 
  • Staffers were notified of the decision Tuesday and DeGeneres will discuss the news on Wednesday’s episode of her show with Oprah Winfrey, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Ellen DeGeneres Show To End With Season 19

Ellen DeGeneres is officially pulling the plug on her daytime talk show.

In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the comedian and host announced that her upcoming 19th season will be her last. She informed staff of the decision Tuesday and will discuss the news on Wednesday’s episode of her show with Oprah Winfrey.

“When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged – and as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore,” DeGeneres said when explaining the reasoning behind her choice to end the show.

People on social media have, of course, taken issue with that statement. Many noted that the decision comes now that DeGeneres has fallen out of much of the public’s favor.

Last summer, several people made claims about DeGeneres’ alleged cold or rude demeanor as others began criticizing her old interviews. Buzzfeed then published a report with allegations of a toxic workplace culture, which included sexual harassment, racism, and intimidation claims, among other things.

Plans Were in Motion for Some Time, DeGeneres Said

Still, DeGeneres said ending the show now was always the plan. She actually said she wanted to stop after Season 16, and her wife Portia de Rossi had also been urging her to move on.

Executives behind the show, however, pushed for four additional year and they ultimately settled on three, with DeGeneres knowing that season 19 would be her last.

In the article, she specifically addresses the summer allegations saying, “It almost impacted the show. It was very hurtful to me. I mean, very. But if I was quitting the show because of that, I wouldn’t have come back this season. So, it’s not why I’m stopping.

She also framed the claims about her character as “ridiculous,” saying they attacked everything she stands for and destroyed her.

As far as the toxic workplace allegations, DeGeneres said she learned of them through the press and didn’t want to believe them at first.

“So, there was an internal investigation, obviously, and we learned some things but this culture we’re living is [is one where] no one can make mistakes,” she added.

“And I don’t want to generalize because there are some bad people out there and those people shouldn’t work again but, in general, the culture today is one where you can’t learn and grow, which is, as human beings, what we’re here to do. And I can see people looking at that going, ‘You don’t care about what people [went through.]’ I care tremendously. It broke my heart when I learned that people here had anything other than a fantastic experience.”

See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (CNN) (Fox News)

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Seth Rogen Says He Has No Plans To Work With James Franco “Right Now” Following Sexual Misconduct Allegations

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  • In an interview with Britain’s Sunday Times, actor Seth Rogen was asked about his relationship with longtime collaborator James Franco, who has been accused of misconduct and sexually exploitative behavior by multiple women. 
  • In response to claims that Rogen was Franco’s enabler, he said, “What I can say is that I despise abuse and harassment, and I would never cover or conceal the actions of someone doing it, or knowingly put someone in a situation where they were around someone like that. 
  • He also expressed regret over a 2014 joke he made on “Saturday Night Live,” which many felt trivialized Franco’s inappropriate communication with a 17-year-old. 
  • “I also look back to that interview in 2018 where I comment that I would keep working with James, and the truth is that I have not and I do not plan to right now,” he added.

Seth Rogen Addresses James Franco Controversies

Actor and comedian Seth Rogen was asked about his relationship with fellow film star James Franco in a new interview with Britain’s Sunday Times.

Franco and Rogen are friends and longtime collaborators who’ve done hit films together, including “Pineapple Express,” “The Disaster Artist,” “The Interview,” and “Sausage Party,” among others.

In 2014, Franco was exposed for trying to pick up a 17-year-old through Instagram direct messages. In 2018, five women publicly accused him of inappropriate and sexually exploitative behavior, which he denied. Two of those women, who were students at an acting school he ran, then filed a lawsuit against him and agreed to a settlement this year.

Throughout these controversies, Rogen has faced a ton of backlash for continuing to show Franco support.

Last month, actress Charlyne Yi took to Instagram to open up about her experience working on “The Disaster Artist,” accusing Franco of being a “predator” and Rogen of being his “enabler.”

When asked about that specific claim, Rogen said, “What I can say is that I despise abuse and harassment, and I would never cover or conceal the actions of someone doing it, or knowingly put someone in a situation where they were around someone like that.”

No Current Plans To Work Together

Rogen also expressed regret over a 2014 joke he made on “Saturday Night Live,” which many felt trivialized Franco’s inappropriate communication with the 17-year-old.

“It was a terrible joke, honestly. And I also look back to that interview in 2018 where I comment that I would keep working with James, and the truth is that I have not and I do not plan to right now,” he continued.

When asked how Franco’s scandals have impacted their relationship, Rogen said, “I can say it, um, you know, it has changed many things in our relationship and our dynamic.”

Still, he noted that changes are “not as painful and difficult as it is for a lot of other people involved. I have no pity for myself in this situation.

See what others are saying: (CNN) (Huff Post) (The Sunday Times)

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