On paper, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Danny Masterson and the Church of Scientology could not be further removed from each other. Bixler-Zavala, the frontman of At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta, is a post-hardcore and prog genius known for creating challenging music imbued with astute lyricism. He remains one of the ultimate modern rockers and has played in many influential outfits aside from the aforementioned, including Foss, who featured a certain Beto O’Rourke.
Danny Masterson, meanwhile, is the former star of the hit series That ’70s Show about to go on trial after being accused of multiple counts of rape. He is a longtime member of The Church of Scientology, which is where our story starts.
For a time, Bixler-Zavala was also a member of L. Ron Hubbard’s organisation. At one point, he credited them with helping him overcome the marijuana addiction that is said to have cost him $1,000 a day and even attended the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre event in 2013 – the latter of which seems incomprehensible when you consider his work in At The Drive-In. However, by 2017, he had left the Church and emerged as one of its most prominent and harshest critics.
This is where it gets interesting. In 2009, the At The Drive-In frontman married actress and model Chrissie Carnell, who also appeared in That ’70s Show. Carnell is one of four women who accused Masterson of drugging, raping and sexually assaulting her in the early 2000s. After making the allegations, both her and her husband’s lives are said to have grown remarkably strange, and according to them, they were brought into direct conflict with The Church of Scientology.
When Chrissie Bixler made the allegations, Cedric came forward with his own account of what had supposedly taken place. In a February 2018 tweet, he said: “Please Mexico don’t fall for this shit. Trust me ‘El Ron Hubbar’ is a fucking chupacabra at best. You really think the cartels won’t pinch the fuck outta those con artists? I’ve tried the self help volcano and it is as barren as a floating needle. A placebo of Sugary kool aid”.
In another tweet that same day, the post-hardcore hero also went as far as to label the Church “a modern-day version of The Handmaid’s Tale“. On the social media platform, he also accused the church of covering up the alleged rape of Chrissie. He wrote about her experiences in the At The Drive-In track ‘Incurably Innocent’.
Following this, in 2019, Chrissie Bixler filed a lawsuit against Masterson. The lawsuit alleges that Chrissie dated Masterson for several years and only joined Scientology “per his orders”. It claims that Masterson regularly forced her to have sex with him and “became violent” when she refused and, on one occasion, allegedly dragged her naked across the bedroom floor.
Then, in 2020, things took an even darker turn. Cedric claimed that the Church of Scientology had poisoned his two dogs after Chrissie made her allegations. In a post on Instagram, he said that the pair were forced to euthanise their second dog after it ate poison hidden in a piece of rolled-up meat. “I’m at the vet dealing with another hurt animal,” Bixler-Zavala wrote in the post that featured an image showing two pieces of half-chewed meat with a mysterious blue square object next to them. “This is what I’ve been finding in my front and backyard. This is what Scientology does when you speak about the predators they protect”.
He explained in a follow-up post: “We had to put her down today. This was the result of eating rat poison rolled up in raw meat. This is the second dog we’ve had to put down due to the harassment from private investigators and Scientologists. This only makes us stronger. “My boys named her biscuit. They still don’t understand what’s happening. We said goodbye to her and let her go peacefully”.
In a separate post, Chrissie claimed that the first dog died in mysterious circumstances after suffering unexplained traumatic injuries to her oesophagus and trachea. In what is an extremely dark tale, the story will likely contain more yet twists when Masterson goes on trial in October.
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