Danny Masterson's Long History with the Church of Scientology: 'I'm a Spiritual Being Who Likes to Understand Why Things Happen in the World'
The 40-year-old actor has studied Scientology since childhood
Danny Masterson has had a long history with the Church of Scientology.
On Friday, PEOPLE confirmed that the 40-year-old actor, best known for his role in That ’70s Show, is being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department over sexual assault allegations.
According to documents obtained by The Underground Bunker, journalist Tony Ortega’s blog about Scientology, the three women who have accused Masterson are reportedly also Scientologists. They claim that the Church of Scientology pressured them not to contact authorities about the accusations. (The Church of Scientology did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
Former Scientologist Leah Remini told The Underground Bunker that her recent docuseries — Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath — prompted one of the women to come forward.
In a statement to PEOPLE on Friday, a rep for Masterson denies the allegations. “Based on reading the anti-Scientology blog that posted this story, these false allegations appear to be motivated to boost Leah Remini’s anti-Scientology television series since [redacted] only came forward after connecting with Leah Remini,” reads a portion of the statement.
Though Masterson (whose brother Christopher played Francis in Malcolm in the Middle, half-sister Alanna plays Tara in The Walking Dead, and half-brother Jordan is also an actor) grew up in a family that practiced Scientology, he didn’t really notice the affect it had on him until junior high school. In an interview with Paper magazine in 2015, Masterson opened up about his upbringing in the Church of Scientology, how it has impacted his life, and how he chooses to continue practicing the religion.
“In Scientology, there’s no belief system or anyone who’s worshipped or whatnot; it’s all sort of like college of the mind,” he told the publication. “And so I grew up not having to go and pray to anyone. I grew up just sort of like, ‘Oh, if you’re thirsty, drink water.’ “
It wasn’t until Masterson was 15 years old that he started to study the book Dianetics, a set of ideas created by the Church’s founder L. Ron Hubbard that studies the mind.
“[Ron] basically spent his entire life studying every great religion, found everything that worked, found things that didn’t work, took the stuff that worked, started like questioning it and grilling it and drilling it, going over and over until he could find the things that worked every time, guaranteed,” he said.
Despite the fact that his step-father, Joe Reaiche, was deemed a “suppressive person” by the Church in 2005 for questioning certain teachings, according to Daily Mail, Masterson admitted he has never been bullied for his or his family’s beliefs.
“I’ve never been given a hard time my entire life about my belief system or my philosophy in life,” he said.
He added: “If you’re curious about something, I’ll give you my one or two-minute version of my opinion on it, but it’s also like that’s my opinion on what I read. You should read it for yourself, and decide whether you agree or disagree with it.”
However, there is a specific field that Scientologists typically disagree with, according to Masterson.
“You will not find a Scientologist who does not f—ing hate psychiatrists,” he admitted. “Because their solution for mental and spiritual problems is drugs.”
“Scientology handles those things, those mental problems that people have,” he continued. “It gets rid of them. It gets rid of them by that person doing it for themselves. That’s the solution to depression.”
Despite those questioning his beliefs, Masterson has remained loyal to the Church.
“I work, I have a family and I’m a spiritual being who likes to understand why things happen in the world and want to learn more so that I can have them not affect me adversely,” he said. “So if that’s weird, then, well, you can go f— yourself.”