jakub | June 1, 2023

Cedric Bixler-Zavala on Danny Masterson guilty verdict: “Fuck Scientology”

The Mars Volta‘s Cedric Bixler-Zavala has issued a response after actor and longtime Scientologist Danny Masterson was found guilty of two counts of rape.

Masterson — who was most famed for his role as Steven Hyde in That ’70s Show — was found guilty of two out of the three accusations of rape made against him in a Los Angeles retrial yesterday (May 31).

Now, following the verdict, Cedric Bixler-Zavala has spoken out about the disgraced actor and the Church Of Scientology.

The musician and At The Drive-In icon left the church back in 2017 after first joining back in 2009. His wife, Chrissie Carnell-Bixler, had also testified against Masterson back in 2022, and previously issued a separate civil lawsuit against him.

According to the civil case, Carnell-Bixler’s relationship with Masterson lasted for several years, and he sexually assaulted her multiple times between the period of 2001 and 2002.

Responding to the accusations with The Hollywood Reporter, Masterson issued a statement saying: “I’m not going to fight my ex-girlfriend in the media like she’s been baiting me to do for more than two years. I will beat her in court – and look forward to it because the public will finally be able [to] learn the truth and see how I’ve been railroaded by this woman.”

Following the claim going to court, the judge ultimately ruled that the case brought forward must go through ‘religious arbitration’ within the Church of Scientology. This is because, when a member of the Church, Carnell-Bixler signed an agreement that requires disputes to be handled by the Church, not the courts.

Danny Masterson
Danny Masterson CREDIT: Getty Images

Now, following the guilty verdict on two of the three rape cases filed against him, the Mars Volta musician posted an Instagram post (which has since been deleted). Here, he claimed to be “making a list of all Danny’s helpers and rape apologists” in an attempt “to show all of you why women don’t report rape”.

He also used the update to show his disdain for the Church Of Scientology. “We fucking told you. God bless the women that stood up to him and his shitty fucking family. Fuck Scientology. Rot in jail Danny,” he wrote (via Stereogum). “God bless my wife. True fucking warrior. May peace reign over my family. To everyone who spoke up and helped, thank you.”

Masterson was accused of three charges of rape, all taking place at his home between the period of 2001 and 2003. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The case first went to trial last year, although the jury was unable to reach a verdict. The re-trial took place this year, and in the closing arguments, the jury were told that the actor drugged women’s drinks so he could rape them — relying on his influence in the Church of Scientology to avoid facing any consequences.

“The defendant drugs his victims to gain control. He does this to take away his victims’ ability to consent,” said Prosecution lawyer Ariel Anson at the trial (via Sky News). “The church taught his victims ‘rape isn’t rape, you caused this, and above all, you are never allowed to go to law enforcement’… In Scientology, the defendant is a celebrity and he is untouchable.”

Cedric Bixler-Zavala of The Mars Volta. Credit: Jim Dyson/WireImage
Cedric Bixler-Zavala of The Mars Volta. Credit: Jim Dyson/WireImage

The church has denied having any policy discouraging members from going to law enforcement.

Following their initial report against Masterson, The Bixlers alleged the church began a relentless campaign of harassment and threats against them. This, they claimed, included poisoning their dogs and stalking them.

Discussing the alleged harassment they faced with the LA Times earlier this year, The Mars Volta singer claimed that the church made his partner feel responsible for the actions made against her, and explained how his family still lives in fear of the church.

“I could see the crisis of faith in her when they made her feel like this was her fault,” he said. “My life is at the point where if my phone rings in my house, my children go and hide under their bed… My kids know a monster did something bad to their mom.”

At time of writing, no sentencing date has been set for Masterson, however, the judge did instruct him and his lawyers to return to court on August 4 for a hearing. The actor could face up to 30 years in prison.

That 70s Show
Lisa Robin Kelly, Wilmer Valderrama, Topher Grace, Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Laura Prepon and Mila Kunis in ‘That ‘70s Show’. CREDIT: AJ Pics/Alamy

In another Instagram post, Bixler-Zavala shared a tweet by Yashar Ali discussing the guilty verdict and wrote: “In case you’ve [been] sleeping under a fucking rock placed there by scientology. My wife and the survivors did the unthinkable. Go ahead and send her love. She needs it.”

Back in February, That ‘70s Show co-star Ashton Kutcher opened up about allegations facing Masterson and said he hoped that the accusations are false, as Masterson had been a huge mentor for him throughout his career.

“Ultimately, I can’t know,” he said. “I’m not the judge. I’m not the jury. I’m not the DA. I’m not the victim. And I’m not the accused. And so, in that case, I don’t have a space to comment. I just don’t know.”

For help, advice or more information regarding sexual harassment, assault and rape in the UK, visit the Rape Crisis charity website. In the US, visit RAINN.

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