Leah Remini TV series about how Scientology rips families apart

Discussion in 'Celebrity News' started by The Wrong Guy, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    Shifting gears: Leah Remini talks about tonight’s two-hour special on Jehovah’s Witnesses

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, November 13, 2018


    Tonight, Leah Remini and her co-star Mike Rinder tack into uncharted territory. Before the third season of their Emmy-winning A&E series Scientology and the Aftermath begins in two weeks, they are airing tonight at 6 pm a two-hour special on another subject entirely.

    “The reason why Mike and I did this was because we were asked to. Even as early as Season One we had so many people asking, ‘Will you cover the Jehovah’s Witnesses? They’re very similar.’ It just became too overwhelming to ignore,” Leah told us yesterday.

    “We asked A&E, can we use one of our special episodes to do a show on Jehovah’s Witnesses, and they said yes.”

    Leah grew up in Scientology and spent more than 30 years in it. Her personal familiarity with its arcane ideas is one of the things that gives her show its strength. We asked her if she was concerned about taking on a subject she was less familiar with — an offshoot of Christianity that had grown out of a 19th century doomsday movement that is known in popular culture for knocking on doors and eschewing blood transfusions. How did she approach it?

    “When I sat down with Alex Gibney when he was making Going Clear, I asked him, what’s his film about? He said ‘I don’t know what it’s about until I talk to the people it’s about.’ And that’s how you do a documentary,” Leah answered. “And that’s what Mike and I did. We shut up and listened. Like in Scientology, you have to be in it to truly understand it. So we didn’t do a lot of talking here. We did a lot of listening.”

    And repeatedly, she says, they heard about how similar the two groups were, even though they came from such completely different traditions.

    “The people we talked to, they drew parallels to Scientology. Scientology has disconnection, Jehovah’s Witnesses has shunning, the shunning of parents and children. And it’s not spelled out as clearly as it is in Scientology’s policies, but the Jehovah’s Witnesses also suggest not going to the police. You need two witnesses for rapes — they cite scripture and twist it, using what they want to use. I mean, who has two witnesses to a rape? What child has a witness to being molested? They think they can handle it internally.”

    A $35 million court verdict awarded by a Montana jury in September brought a lot of recent attention to allegations that the organization keeps its members from reporting child abuse to the police.

    “The Jehovah’s Witnesses are ruled by eight men in upstate New York, mainly white, who decide what the rules are and how they’re going to use the Bible to justify whatever they’re sending out to the lower level executives, called Elders, who are in charge of individual congregations. So someone goes to an Elder and says my husband is beating me. Well, you need to pray on it, she’s told.”

    Scientology is a tiny organization that has always lied about its true size, claiming that it has millions of members when today it probably has fewer than 20,000 active members. Jehovah’s Witnesses, however, really do have something like 8 million people. We know how much A&E has been flooded with angry letters from Scientology and its attorneys — how did the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization react to this episode being made?

    “We asked if they would appear on the show or talk to me or Mike or anything, and they just referred me to their website,” Leah says.

    If the organization has not reacted, Leah says she has been hearing from some Jehovah’s Witnesses on social media. “We’re being called apostates, that our careers are in the dumps — but it’s by individual members, not the church itself. They’re offended that we’re likening it to a cult mentality. But they’re attacking something they haven’t even seen yet, just like culty people,” she says. “I’m not saying Jehovah’s Witnesses is a cult per se, but certainly, the behavior being exhibited by Jehovah’s Witnesses is very similar to Scientology — which is a cult. They are very similar to Scientology in how they react to people talking about them in a way they don’t want to be talked about.”

    In her show on Scientology, Leah has been pretty careful to focus on the organization’s practices rather than its beliefs.

    “It’s one thing to have a belief system that gets you through a bad time. But when you have policies that force you to shun your wife or daughter — I don’t think a church should be preaching that families disown each other. And they celebrate parents who allow their children to die,” she says, referring to Jehovah’s Witnesses extreme policies about blood transfusion. “It’s hard for me that anyone would liken that to a Christian organization. But it’s hard to see it when you’re in it. In Scientology, I always thought I was in something that was helping the world. It turned out I was in a cult that was hurting people, and it saddens me.”

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  2. The Wrong Guy Member

    Leah Remini kicks off 3rd season with emotional toll caused by Scientology’s ‘aftermath’

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, November 18, 2018


    Although A&E announced that its series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath begins its third season on November 27, it actually begins tonight at 8 pm Eastern with a “special episode” the network apparently doesn’t count as the series itself.

    Yes, once again A&E’s confusing way of counting some episodes and not others continues into a new season, but whatever, all that really matters is that the show has its focus back on Scientology after a two-hour detour into the Jehovah’s Witnesses last week.

    In tonight’s special, Leah Remini and Mike Rinder sit down with members of their own families to talk about how leaving Scientology has taken a toll on all of them. Leah has her mother Vicki Marshall back — Vicki made a terrific appearance in an episode last season when she and Leah revealed the contents of Scientology’s super-secret “OT 8” upper teachings. We found it absolutely stunning.

    And in this episode, Vicki admits that she’s still struggling with having walked away from something that took up so many years of her life — she still finds herself caught in Scientology thinking, and she wants to break out of it.

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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    As Leah Remini returns for a third round, here’s Scientology’s side of the story

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, November 22, 2018


    Two years ago this month, Leah Remini premiered her A&E series, Scientology and the Aftermath. And before she did, knowing what a major impact it was going to have, we decided to give the Church of Scientology its chance to make its own case first.

    We featured a documentary about Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard that was narrated by Scientology’s current leader, David Miscavige. Now, two years later, Leah is about to kick off her third season in earnest (after a special episode, anyway), and once again we thought it would be a good idea to let Scientology give its best shot at counterprogramming in the meantime.

    So what we have for you today is about as good as it gets for Scientology these days. It’s a young up-and-coming celebrity, pianist Stephen Ridley, announcing to his fans that for the last four years he’s secretly been involved in the church. For his coming out, he’s made a sort of Scientology advertisement — filmed, he says, by his friend Luke Ayers, who you will remember is Scientology’s great Australian hip hop hope.

    The 2-minute film certainly has that Scientology look, and we can’t help wondering if this is a dry run at this year’s Super Bowl ad. Probably not, because it’s just too subtle, and there’s no voiceover telling us that we should be curious about discovering the mystery of ourselves. But still, it’s a well-produced spot, Ridley is a good-looking kid, and the film certainly wants to be profound.

    So give it a good look, and then read Ridley’s testimony that he sprung on his friends. If more young, talented people were extolling the virtues of Scientology like this, it might actually help with recruiting, who knows.

    So here’s your day, Scientology. Enjoy the free advertising, and prepare yourself for Leah’s return on Tuesday.

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  4. The Wrong Guy Member

  5. The Wrong Guy Member

    Leah Remini starts third season with bombshell Scientology escape story

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, November 27, 2018


    After two “special” episodes — one about Jehovah’s Witnesses and one about the emotional pain of leaving Scientology — A&E’s Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath officially kicks off its third season tonight with an absolute blockbuster of an episode.

    Valerie Haney’s story is one that we’ve been waiting to hear for a long time. We actually wrote about Valerie five years ago, but we didn’t tell you her name at that time. In fact, Valerie was still confined to Int Base then, working as a casting agent for Scientology films, and we learned her story from a close friend who was an eyewitness to what had happened to her — that she had suffered some of the blowback when Shelly Miscavige fell afoul of her husband, Scientology leader David Miscavige.

    Valerie didn’t escape from the base until 2016, and now she is telling her story for the first time on tonight’s bombshell episode.

    We’re not going to spoil any of the big surprises for you, but there is so much in this episode that we are going to share a few of the smaller revelations to whet your appetite.

    Mike and Leah begin the show by reminding us of the shocking allegations about David Miscavige and his treatment of his Sea Org minions that came out some nine years ago when former top officials like Marc Headley and Jefferson Hawkins and Amy Scobee joined Mike Rinder to reveal their secrets in a huge series published by the Tampa Bay Times and then on Anderson Cooper’s show and other subsequent programs. Scientology denied that Miscavige was abusive, and some years have gone by now. Are things in the Sea Org still as bad?

    That’s where Valerie comes in. A 37-year veteran of the church who spent 22 years in the Sea Org, she worked closer with Shelly and Dave than anyone, day in and day out, and she had a front-row seat for the beatings and the prisoners being held in “The Hole” — Miscavige’s bizarre office-prison for his executives that was first created in 2004.

    Valerie now confirms what we had been hearing elsewhere — that in 2016 when she left, the Hole was still in existence, and that one of its prisoners is Heber Jentzsch, the president of the Church of Scientology International who is now 82 years old and has been a prisoner for some 12 years.

    Her memory of how Heber in particular was treated, including one incident involving the filming of a video praising Miscavige — well, it’s truly astonishing and we’ll let you hear about it from Valerie.

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  6. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology responds to Leah Remini’s season premiere with smeariest smear video ever

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, November 28, 2018


    While last night’s season premiere of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath was airing on A&E, Scientology quietly posted a 12-minute smear video that may be the apotheosis of the genre.

    As Mike Rinder pointed out in the episode last night, Scientology never disappoints — David Miscavige can’t help but confirm everything the show is saying about him and his organization by following the dictates of L. Ron Hubbard with more vicious attacks on former members.

    Attack. Attack. ATTACK.

    To which we say:

    Thank you! Scientology’s smeary attacks are the best. They not only confirm everything we’ve been saying about the church, but they are Exhibit A for why this atrocious excuse for a nonprofit “church” deserves to be examined by numerous government agencies.

    This new video was so over the top in its smeary smeariness, we thought we’d collect some of the best images from it and share them with you, while expressing our awe.

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  7. The Wrong Guy Member

    One Woman’s Daring Escape From Scientology: ‘I Wanted to End My Life’

    In the Season 3 premiere of ‘Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,’ an ex-member of Scientology’s inner circle details the church’s alleged abuses — and her miraculous escape.

    By Marlow Stern, The Daily Beast


    The third season premiere of A&E’s Emmy-winning docuseries Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath has faced a barrage of legal threats from the Church of Scientology — so much so that a screener of the episode was only made available to press mere hours before its airing Tuesday night.

    And as notoriously litigious as the church is, they had reason to be nervous, as the episode featured the exclusive testimony of Valerie Haney, a woman who was born into Scientology and not only served 22 years in the church’s fraternal religious order Sea Org, whose members are required to sign billion-year contracts, but was also the personal aide to Scientology leader David Miscavige’s wife Shelly, who hasn’t been seen publicly since 2007. Haney says that she last saw Shelly in 2006, crying and entering a car that then departed Scientology’s International Headquarters, or “Gold Base” — a compound on the outskirts of Riverside County, California.

    “What [Miscavige] is doing with his wife, hiding her and not having her anywhere around, I don’t get it. That is heartless to me,” claims Haney.

    Remini famously filed a missing-persons report on Shelly Miscavige’s behalf in 2013, and the LAPD claimed to have performed a wellness check and found Remini’s claims to be “unfounded.”

    “What matters to me is that I have not seen proof that this woman is alive, or doing well, so I can give a shit what the LAPD said as their bullshit statement that they put out, because I haven’t seen her face,” Remini told me. “I’m calling bullshit on it. I did everything that I could with my lawyer, and they gave me the run-around. They said the only thing I could do is start a lawsuit. That would have been a huge cost to me.”

    I also spoke with then-LAPD Detective Kevin Becker, who filed the missing-persons report for Miscavige on Remini’s behalf, and told me, “I and many other detectives believe that the ‘investigation’ was VERY poorly handled and LAPD fell way short on this one.” (Becker has since retired from the force.)

    In the Aftermath episode, Haney says that Shelly was “in more disagreement” with the way her husband was running Scientology and treating its staff. “I saw David Miscavige punch [Remini’s Aftermath co-host and ex-Scientology exec] Mike Rinder, and I remember one time Dave ordered someone to get smashed into the wall and [have] water poured on their head,” Haney says. She further alleges that when she left the church in November of 2016, there was still a Hole — a sort of hybrid reeducation/torture facility in two double-wide trailers on Gold Base — where many once high-ranking Scientologists resided because “they all witnessed David Miscavige beating people up and that is why they are still there, and that is why they’re still controlled.”

    Haney says that Shelly was removed from her post after confiding in her, while Haney was reassigned to “deck work,” or heavy physical labor (in her case digging ditches). “I wanted to end my life,” she tells Remini in the episode.

    Haney says she endured “deck work” for four months, and was then transferred to a video production unit, where she served as a casting director working on pro-Scientology propaganda videos.

    “We were shooting a film that was about the Korean War and about brainwashing — what brainwashing is, and how it is done — and then I went, ‘Oh my gosh… that is what Scientology is,’” she recalls in the episode.

    When Haney asked if she could leave the church, however, she claims that she was told, “Oh no, you worked with David Miscavige, you can’t leave!” as well as forwarded the story of a Gold Base captain who tried to flee in a vehicle with his wife and children only to be turned away by guards.

    So one night, she packed her things, crawled into the car trunk of one of the actors on the film production who wasn’t in Scientology, and made her escape. Once she emerged, Haney flew to Portland to be with her father — only he was still in Scientology, and convinced her to return to the church and “leave correctly,” which in Sea Org means you must be “routed out,” or forced to sign an NDA and participate in a recorded exit interview.

    In the NDA and recorded exit interview, which the church submitted to the show as evidence against Haney (along with the fact that she currently works as a paid assistant to Remini), Haney said that nobody “coerced” her into saying anything or “forced” her into signing anything, and that David Miscavige never mistreated her or anyone else. She also says she had to promise she wouldn’t speak out against the church or associate with ex-members.

    “If I didn’t do and say exactly what [they] wanted me to do and say in that interview, then I was better off dead, because I probably would have killed myself if they didn’t let me leave right at that moment,” Haney says in the episode. “I felt like if I didn’t give them exactly what they wanted then they wouldn’t let me leave… that was the last test in order for me to go see my family and be a normal person.”

    It didn’t end there. Haney claims that she was served a threatening legal letter in the middle of the night by a large mystery man, and that she’s constantly “followed” by agents of the church. She also says that the church turned her brother, who is still a Scientologist, against her, and “manipulated him” into disconnecting from her.

    “They’re doing everything they can to try to shut me up because they know what I know is what abuses have happened in Scientology,” say Haney.

    Still, she refuses to remain silent: “I feel that people need to know the truth, and I cannot keep living a life where I’m scared every second.”

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  8. The Wrong Guy Member

    While Leah Remini asks for government action, the government covers for Scientology overseas

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, November 29, 2018


    From the beginning of A&E’s series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, its two co-stars have repeatedly said that they not only want to expose Scientology’s alleged abuses, but also convince the government to do something about it.

    With the premiere of the show’s third season this week, that refrain became even more prominent as Leah Remini and Mike Rinder talked about “following the money” and appealing to the US government to re-examine Scientology’s tax exempt status in the wake of the show’s many revelations.

    In a promo, Remini even admitted some consternation that her first two seasons weren’t enough to get the government to do something. And despite many things we’ve heard from our own sources that state or federal agencies might, perhaps, be looking into Scientology’s practices, the frustration that nothing yet has happened is becoming pretty evident in Leah’s show.

    And then yesterday our man in Hungary, Péter Bonyai, pointed out something that certainly got our attention:
    While Leah and Mike are calling for action here in the US, overseas the US government is criticizing other countries for actually doing something about Scientology abuses.

    We have told you in the past that part of President Bill Clinton’s legacy was his interest in international religious freedom, as well as his extraordinary assistance to the Church of Scientology. (It was Clinton who signed off on granting the Church of Scientology tax exempt status in 1993, two years after that process had begun under his predecessor, President George H.W. Bush.) Clinton’s State Department hammered the federal government in Germany, for example, when that country cracked down on Scientology for the same kinds of abuses that today Remini and Rinder are complaining about here in the United States.

    Clinton’s focus on international religious freedom resulted in a 1998 law that to this day has the US government monitoring the situation in foreign countries. And earlier this year, the State Department’s annual report had a particularly interesting section about Hungary, Péter wanted us to know.

    If you remember, Péter and others, including historian Chris Owen, have been reporting for us on the really extraordinary things going on in Hungary, where new attitudes about data protection are kicking in (along with other European countries). Scientology is particularly vulnerable to this kind of legislation, because spying on its own members and extracting deeply personal information from them is practically a Scientology sacrament — it literally couldn’t operate under L. Ron Hubbard’s policies if it weren’t violating the privacy of its members on a regular basis.

    So we’ve been watching with some interest as Hungary launched a criminal investigation of Scientology and its use of personal information. Péter pointed out that the investigation was described in the State Department’s most recent report, which came out in May.

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  9. The Wrong Guy Member

    The Valerie Haney interview: Scientology smear tactics, and where Shelly Miscavige is

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, November 30, 2018


    Valerie Haney provided a stunning opening to Leah Remini’s third season in its premiere episode Tuesday night. After working in Scientology’s Sea Org for 22 years, she had escaped the church’s international management compound, Int Base east of Los Angeles, by hiding out in the trunk of an actor’s car as he drove back to LA.

    Her escape was especially problematic for Scientology not only because it was so recent and because Valerie could provide a new layer of confirmation of what others had said about the base, but also because of her position, working so closely with church leader David Miscavige and his wife, Shelly, who disappeared from Int Base in 2005.

    Talking to Valerie last night by telephone, we told her that our readers were left with a lot of questions after Tuesday night’s show, which recounted her daring escape as well as the harassment she’s been going through since the church discovered that she was working with Leah on the program.


    ...we asked her, what is it, exactly, that Dave doesn’t want us to know?

    “That he drank. Every night. It kind of got worse as the Hole was forming in 2004. And I knew how much he drank. I gave him his meals, I made his bed. I woke him up in the morning. I knew everything about their private lives.

    “Like that they maybe had sex once a year, if that. I worked for them for three years, and I recognized twice that they had had sex. And Shelly was just fucked up about it. I was a very sexual person and I would have sex with my husband every night and then tell her — I mean, we were girlfriends,” Valerie says. And Shelly shared with her the frustrations of her marriage.

    “Shelly hated it, because he was not affectionate to her. Even in closed quarters he wasn’t showing her affection. I’m in the living room and I’m the only one standing there with them, and it’s Christmas, and there’s no warm embrace, there’s no kiss.

    “She had a separate room. They had a bedroom, but she had a dressing room where she could unwind and smoke. and she would talk with me, about Dave. Sometimes for hours. She was jealous of Laurisse [Laurisse Henley-Smith, Miscavige’s ‘personal communicator,’ also known as “Lou”]. She would ask me, ‘Are they fucking? Can you find out?’ But they weren’t. It would be impossible for me not to know.”

    “The other thing Dave doesn’t want you to know: His extravagance and his finances. And his schedule — how much differently he spent his day than everyone around him,” Valerie says.

    “Let me tell you about his normal day. He would wake up at 11 am. He would go into his room that was an office and do ‘traffic.’ That was all of the submissions that had come in overnight, people asking for his approval on things — he had to have approval on everything because he was a micromanager. At 12 to 12:30 he’d have breakfast. Shelly had her own office, but she always wanted to eat with him. But he would talk to Lou the whole time. I would bring the food for all three of them. And if Lou didn’t have something for her meal he would scream at me because Lou wasn’t happy. But he didn’t give a fuck about Shelly’s meal.”

    What was his typical breakfast? “Poached eggs and toast or an English muffin. Coffee. Sometimes an omelet. If he was doing his diet, then five egg whites and one yolk. Turkey bacon and half a slice of bread. It had to be perfect or it was hell. I did lower conditions on eggs, and I got sec-checked because his breakfast was wrong once.”

    After the meal he would go to the huge and elaborate structure — “Building 50” — that had been constructed just for Miscavige and the Religious Technology Center. “He’d either have a meeting and scream at people, or he would go into his lounge and watch sports. Or walk around and smoke. He was very lackadaisical about it, while every other Sea Org member on the base was tearing around, walking fast, and taking 15-minute meal breaks.”

    At lunch, it was always the same three that had been together for breakfast — Shelly, Dave, and Laurisse. But for dinner, sometimes they would invite a fourth, like Jenny Linson or Angie Blankenship.

    If they were in trouble, they’d still be invited, but Valerie would be asked to prepare a surprise for them.

    “He would say, ‘Bring them coffee but put cayenne pepper in it.’ So I would do that.”

    After dinner, there were more meetings. “They would talk about how fucked up the people were. And then he would watch TV. He loved that Jennifer Garner show, Alias. He watched it all the time. On the weekend, he had to go to the theater to see the latest releases.” It didn’t seem to bother him that he spent a lot of time watching sports or films when the people around him were running from place to place on a neverending emergency schedule, never with time to watch TV or movies.

    “Then at about midnight he would go to his lounge and have scotch with Lou. Shelly didn’t like him drinking, and she tried to keep me from giving him alcohol. To hide it. This would be like nightly. He would drink scotch, smoke, and talk to Laurisse. I was there, so I know they didn’t fuck. I was in the room.”

    “It was the dichotomy that always struck me. He ran a tight ship and you needed to be a tough motherfucker. ‘What the fuck have you been doing? Sec check him and find out what the fuck he’s been doing!’ But his day was so lackadaisical. Shelly told me, ‘I feel like I’m a totally unproductive person.’ She said, ‘This is a joke, we’re not doing anything.'”

    We told Valerie that Dave’s typical day actually sounded kind of boring.

    “Exactly! But then there were expensive trips to the ship. To Disney World. Or diving excursions, which the Sea Org paid for. I mean, the finances were incredible. The whole Tom Cruise 2004 birthday on the Freewinds. The Sea Org paid for all of that. They flew in chefs from Nobu. They flew chefs in from Tom’s favorite Paris restaurant. They ordered in lobsters. It was so extravagant.”

    Valerie says she got along well with Cruise and “had no problem” with him. “He was nicer than Dave,” she says.

    We told her that John Brousseau told us, “Tom Cruise worships David Miscavige like a god.”

    “They worshiped each other,” she says.

    What did Shelly tell you, we asked, about the job she was in charge of in 2004, auditioning women to be Cruise’s next girlfriend?

    “She thought it was ridiculous. She was just doing what Dave asked her to do. But it absolutely happened.”

    Valerie tells us that the relationship between Dave and Shelly deteriorated, and began to get really bad in the summer of 2004. That’s when Miscavige spent huge amounts on a lavish birthday party for Tom Cruise on the Freewinds. Tom had been away from Scientology for several years while he was with Nicole Kidman, but after their 2001 split, Miscavige had made getting Cruise back into the fold the church’s number one goal. By 2004, Cruise was completely gung-ho, and Dave wanted to reward him for it.

    Each June, there was a celebration aboard the Freewinds to celebrate its “Maiden Voyage” under Scientology’s ownership in 1988. This time, the Maiden Voyage celebrations would also include a major blowout to celebrate Cruise’s 42nd birthday on July 3.

    “Shelly was getting sick of Dave’s lack of response to her, and of his arrogance and the way he was mistreating other people,” Valerie says. But Shelly was also perturbed by Miscavige’s all-consuming “bromance” with Cruise that summer. “Is it just me?” Shelly asked her, wondering if she was the only one put off by Miscavige’s obsession with Cruise.

    But then things got worse: “On the Freewinds, he denigrated Shelly in front of the other executives. She was crying in her room.”

    The next year, 2005, things got worse and worse. “Shelly was pissed off all the time. Dave was raging at everyone day after day, except for Laurisse. And he had nothing for Shelly. So she was crying every night. She snapped at him a couple of times — ‘Oh, you’re going with Laurisse?’ like that.”

    Dave and Shelly had reached a breaking point that summer, but it was Valerie and the other workers in their proximity who felt the effects of it first.

    “Everyone connected to Shelly was busted. I was removed and got put on decks — hard labor, digging ditches. And Shelly was separated from Dave. They were no longer together. He was in Los Angeles, she was still at Int Base.”

    Our other sources have told us how unusual that was. Dave and Shelly were known for going everywhere together. But suddenly, Dave was gone.

    “They were sec-checking me. ‘Has Shelly said anything?’ they asked. They were investigating me and another girl — I think they were gathering information before they were going to investigate Shelly herself.”

    Shelly then did two things that apparently sealed her fate. First, she filled some job openings on something known as the “Org Board.” Valerie fills in the detail that one of the reasons Shelly did this while Dave was away was that she wanted to put people in certain positions to minimize their exposure to Miscavige, hoping to lessen some of the tension on the base.

    But when Dave returned from LA and saw that she had filled in the org board, he had a titanic meltdown. (We have multiple eyewitnesses to this.) He went back to Los Angeles, and Shelly spent about a week being interrogated.

    We told Valerie that during that week, one eyewitness told us that Shelly managed to take a car off the base and drove to Los Angeles, trying to make one last effort to salvage her marriage.

    “Yes, that happened,” Valerie says. “Shelly grabbed a car and drove to LA. She drove down and then she came right back.”

    Then Shelly had one final act at the base.

    “She had to move their stuff out of where they were berthing. There was this huge move going on for a renovation. I was asking if I could help, but I wasn’t allowed to. I was trying to weasel my way in getting close enough to talk to her, but I couldn’t see her.”

    As others have told us, Dave and Shelly’s private rooms were in a building known as one of the “Villas,” and plans to renovate it were being held up because Miscavige hadn’t moved his stuff out to temporary rooms. So Shelly had it done. Again, it appeared that she was simply trying to be helpful.

    “Dave found out about it, that she had touched his stuff, and the very next day she was gone,” Valerie says.

    “I saw her walk to the car, get in on the passenger side, and then drive away. It was two and a half months after I’d been busted.”

    She never saw Shelly again.

    (Valerie agrees with our other eyewitnesses that Shelly’s disappearance happened in late summer 2005, not 2006 as she said on Tuesday night’s episode.)

    We asked her how people talked about it after Shelly never showed up again at Int Base.

    “They would say, she must have betrayed him. She must have done something. She’s treasonous. Dave must have had good reason.” But mostly, people didn’t dare talk about it at all.

    After Shelly was gone, Miscavige spent even more time with his personal communicator, Laurisse. “She was with him every single second — that wasn’t the case before.”

    Did Valerie suspect that something was going on between them at that point?

    “Yes, but I can’t prove anything,” she says.


    And Shelly? Valerie agrees that she’s still at the CST headquarters near Lake Arrowhead. And it would be very difficult for her to leave now.

    “She’s been in Scientology her whole life. If she left now, she would have absolutely nothing.”

    We have written extensively since 2012 about Shelly’s disappearance, and there have been magazine stories and even television shows about it. So people often ask us if we believe Miscavige would have Shelly moved to another location after all that media attention about her.

    We told Valerie that according to our other sources, we think that’s unlikely. She agreed.

    “I don’t think there’s any other place where Dave can control her like at that place. It’s super secret, and the CST workers take that seriously.”

    Last year, on Leah’s show, John Brousseau said that Miscavige will keep Shelly in hiding until she dies, and that she’s definitely a prisoner.

    “I think JB is right. I think that she is going to die there. It’s very unfortunate because she’s actually a lovely lady.”

    More at
  10. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology is known for its use of spies — and tonight, you’ll hear from one

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, December 4, 2018


    We hope you are drawn in as tonight’s episode dives into a subject that has come up in the series before, but not at this level. Tonight, Leah and Mike talk to a very brave woman who is taking a huge risk to bring us her story. Her name is Cierra Westerman.

    You may remember that Cierra first emerged here at the Underground Bunker in January. She told us the story about how she had been recruited out of a trade school to work for Scientology in 2008, when the church was under siege by the Anonymous movement. She infiltrated Anonymous for the church, and then went on to an assignment surveilling Mike Rinder by living in a rented house near his. At the time, circa 2009, Scientology was running a huge operation in Clearwater, with multiple rented homes, following numerous former Scientology executives, and putting tracking devices on their cars.

    Cierra told us it was all being run out of a warehouse that had strategically been chosen across from another of their targets — a man named Robert Almblad.

    Tonight, you’ll get to meet Robert, as he’s the second guest of the episode.

    We wrote a multi-part series at the Village Voice (part 1, part 2) about the incredible harassment campaign Scientology threw at Almblad, an inventor who had hired his old friend Mike Rinder to help get the word out about his newest product.

    What Almblad had invented and was trying to market is a little glossed over in tonight’s episode, so we want to make sure you understand what Almblad was doing.

    Hospital stays can be lethal for people with compromised immune systems. You have probably experienced what it’s like to have an elderly relative — or a very young one — in a hospital fighting one ailment which makes them vulnerable to others they might pick up there. It’s important that they are not exposed to bacteria, for example. And guess what is one of the worst sources of bacteria in a hospital? (In fact, anywhere.)

    Ice machines.

    Because of the way people stock ice and serve themselves, ice machines can be filthy sources of bacteria. Almblad knew that institutions would pay good money for sterile ice machines, and he’d developed an osmosis system to make sure that his machines put out ice chips that were bacteria-free. He was going directly to major corporations with his prototype, hoping to land gigantic contracts to put his machines in hospitals around the country. For an inventor, it’s a delicate time when he’s trying to get buy-in, but also keep things confidential from competitors.

    Mike Rinder was just out of Scientology, Almblad was also a former member. He knew Mike’s skills, and knew that Mike could help him persuade large institutions to buy his machine. So he hired him. And to Scientology, that put a target on his back.

    You’ll learn from Almblad tonight what he went through.

    More at
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  11. The Wrong Guy Member

    Slimed by Scientology, Cierra Westerman says she’s still feeling good about coming forward

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, December 5, 2018


    Before last night’s episode of Scientology and the Aftermath even aired, Cierra Westerman:
    • Was called a bigot by the Church of Scientology for wearing a Confederate Flag visor.
    • Was told by a former colleague that she was likely to be sued by a former employer.
    • Was told she could never again see a couple of members of her extended family.
    • Was criticized by Scientology for owning two pistols (mistakenly called “revolvers” by the church).
    • And was accused by Scientology of being a “liar 4 hire” for Leah Remini.
    Westerman, a former private investigator who did work for the Church of Scientology, told us that she had been prepared for the attacks to come, but they still stunned her.

    The pistols, for example, she bought at the urging of her then-boyfriend Dwayne Powell, a longtime Scientology private eye. “The reason I had those was because Dwayne was concerned about the church and wanted me to get protection,” she says.

    She made no excuses for the Confederate Flag hat, but what was Scientology trying to say? After all, it was the church that had hired her — initially to infiltrate the Anonymous movement in 2008, and then later to watch Mike Rinder’s house and record the license plates of the people who visited him, as she explained in last night’s show. (She wasn’t paid for her appearance on the show, despite Scientology’s claim.)

    We asked her last night, after seeing the attacks and seeing the episode, was she still glad that she had come forward?

    “I am. And I hope it really does help.”

    She’s still finding more evidence from her work for Scientology, which lasted until 2011. For example, just yesterday she discovered a flash drive with notes from her work on the “D-Line.”

    She explained that it was short for “Detail line,” their euphemism for digging through the trash of their targets. She says that Powell and others would obtain bags of trash from sanitation workers — paying them about $20 each — and then took it back to the warehouse, where Cierra and others would sift through it looking for any information they could gather about people.

    Last night, during the episode, Mike Rinder said that he knew his trash was being targeted and he was very careful about what he put in it so that the church never got anything valuable from him.

    But actually, Cierra says Mike did throw away something very useful and he may not have realized it. “He threw away the box from a smartphone. And that was great for the investigators, because the box had all the numbers. If we have that information we could hack the phone. That is one thing you want to keep and never get rid of,” she says.

    It’s insights like that into what Scientology’s PIs are up to which is the reason we appreciate Cierra so much.

    She also told us she was surprised that some other things she told Mike and Leah didn’t make it into the show. Like what, we asked.

    “That the trash guys actually ended up getting in a lot of trouble and lost their jobs, for example,” she says. “They weren’t supposed to be doing that and they got fired. And I think about how not only were we affecting families like Mike’s and the other ex-Scientologists, but we also affected the lives of those trash guys. I felt really bad about that.”

    Continued at
  12. The Wrong Guy Member

    Tonight, Leah Remini examines her own role in the bizarre Scientology – Nation of Islam dance

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, December 11, 2018


    In 2010, Louis Farrakhan formally made the call for his followers in the Nation of Islam to embrace Dianetics. A year later, at the Village Voice, we remarked for the first time on what a bizarre idea it was — that two small but such different groups would be getting into bed with each other.

    Farrakhan himself had been interacting with Scientology for far longer than that — as far back as the early 1990s, according to some sources. But definitely by the mid-2000s he was seen attending events at the Hollywood Celebrity Centre, and in tonight’s episode of Scientology and the Aftermath Leah Remini tells us that things started when Isaac Hayes bugged David Miscavige about how white Scientology was and what was he going to do about it.

    Leah herself played a role in the coming together of these two odd groups, which we wrote about earlier and which makes up a good portion of tonight’s episode. She admits to not really knowing what she was doing when she helped fund Scientology courses for people like the Nation of Islam’s Tony Muhammad, who has become such a part of Scientology he was given the church’s highest honor last year, the Freedom Medal.

    We’ve seen evidence that many of the Nation of Islam’s members have responded to Farrakhan’s call by embracing introductory (no E-meter) Dianetics courses, and a smaller number have pursued Scientology itself, going well up the “Bridge to Total Freedom.” But we still hesitate to call this interaction a “merger.” We aren’t seeing Nation of Islam people joining Scientology’s controlling inner corps, the Sea Org, and we don’t see any white Scientologists joining the Nation of Islam.

    So what is going on, and what kind of interaction is taking place? For tonight’s episode, Leah and Mike Rinder bring on a couple of very interesting guests, Ishmael Bey and Hector Falu-Muhammad, who help us understand what’s in it for Farrakhan, and how they were dismayed to see the Nation change the more it interacted with Scientology.

    Continued at
  13. The Wrong Guy Member

    Tiponi Grey death: What happened to her following Leah Remini Scientology Aftermath episode

    By Frank Yemi, Monsters and Critics


    Tiponi Grey Magi was memorialized at the end of Season 3 Episode 4: The Disappeared of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. Her death was not explained on the show, which left fans wondering what happened to Tiponi Grey.

    Tiponi was a mother of three children, who died due to natural causes about a month ago. She reportedly collapsed in her apartment and was taken to a hospital. Grey was 50 years old when she suddenly passed away.


    According to a GoFundMe set up by her daughter, she was ill for a long time and wanted to be cremated.

    More at

    Tiponi Grey, 1968-2018, a woman who told off Scientology for its lack of compassion

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker
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  14. The Wrong Guy Member

    Leah Remini Fires Back At Louis Farrakhan’s Defense Of Scientology And Comments About Her Exit From The Church | Inquisitr


    “No one’s trying to take Scientology down for reasons that are unwarranted. And once you were in Scientology for a good 35, 45 years, maybe then ask these kinds of questions. And you should ask these types of questions to the families who have been destroyed.”

    “When you go to sleep at night crying because you don’t have your daughter, or your son, or your mom, or your children have never met your grandparents because they believe in Scientology more than family, that’s when you can start questioning people, and why and how they have been hurt. And also, Mr. Farrakhan, the name is Leah Re-mi-ni. Remini.”

    More at

    Inside Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam’s Strange Ties to Scientology | The Daily Beast

    Leah Remini responds to Louis Farrakhan on Scientology [Video] | Yahoo Entertainment
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