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


    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, February 8, 2019


    We’ve told you that Scientology’s “grass roots” effort it calls the “STAND League” is a fake. But even we were stunned when we learned that Scientology’s astroturf attack on Leah Remini’s A&E series has allegedly engaged in an outright fraud that has a major American university launching an investigation.

    In December, the Stand League claimed that the Rev. Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray, the well-known former leader of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles who joined the University of Southern California as a University Fellow in 2005, had written a letter to Disney CEO Bob Iger complaining about the “one-sided” nature of Remini’s television show about Scientology.

    Murray has been very friendly with Scientology in the past, and in 2011 spoke at the dedication of a new Scientology “Ideal Org” in Inglewood, California.

    <photo snipped>

    So we weren’t too surprised that in December, Murray had seemed to help out Scientology with a letter complaining to Iger at Disney, which owns half of the A&E network that airs Remini’s series:


    Here’s the full text of the letter:


    But an enterprising brand marketer in Arizona, Robin Athlyn Thompson, was concerned that USC’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture would allow its brand to be used in this manner, and she inquired about it with her public relations counterparts at the university.

    She informed Leah Remini that she received this stunning reply from USC:

    Dear Ms. Thompson,

    I want to personally acknowledge your letter to President Austin, which she has read and shared with me. She has asked me to respond on her behalf.

    We strive for accuracy and appropriateness in all of our university communications. Reverend Murray has stated that he was not the author of the letter that was addressed to Mr. Iger on a discontinued letterhead. We are currently looking into the misuse of the university’s trademarks.

    Thank you for sharing your concern with us.


    Brenda Maceo
    Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing
    University of Southern California

    The Center for Religion and Civic Culture put out its own statement, saying that the Center and Dr. Murray take no position on Disney’s programming:

    More at
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  2. The Wrong Guy Member

    Leah Remini's 'Scientology' viewers suspicious of Clearwater police, who are treading carefully

    Police Chief Dan Slaughter said despite Scientology's contentious history, he must treat them as any other tax exempt church. Critics say it's enabling.

    By Tracey McManus, Tampa Bay Times, February 11, 2019


    The social media comments started a few weeks ago, then only intensified, devolving into what Police Chief Dan Slaughter called a “public relations nightmare.”

    Following two January episodes of the Emmy award-winning Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath A&E series that focused on Clearwater history, suspicion on Facebook and Twitter rained down on Slaughter’s department and its interaction with the Church of Scientology.

    Critics attacked the fact Scientology can hire off-duty officers for security like any other local church when it is the only one with a documented policy for destroying enemies’ lives. They also criticized Slaughter’s cordial public interaction with an organization investigated, though not charged, by the FBI in 2009 in connection with human trafficking.

    The attacks prompted Slaughter to take the rare step of posting a video response online and a guest column in the Tampa Bay Times explaining that despite the church’s history, he is obligated by law to treat Scientology like any other federally recognized religious organization.

    The bulk of more than 300 commenters on the police department’s Facebook post of the video only hit harder.

    “It looks like Scientology has you and the rest of the force right where they want you. ... in their back pocket,” Cindy Doss responded.

    The social media frenzy didn't unearth many new details. But it revived incredulity over Clearwater’s dynamic with the controversial church: Some see the city as simply coexisting while others see that as enabling.

    “We have a long history of doing the right thing,” Slaughter said in an interview. “For some reason I’ve become the microcosm for the last 30 years.”

    Continued at
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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    Untouchable? Scientology’s 60-year plan to protect itself from the law

    By Chris Owen, The Underground Bunker, February 11, 2019


    One of the most common comments heard after every episode of Leah Remini’s Scientology and the Aftermath is, “Why doesn’t the government do something about it?” This isn’t a complaint that is limited to the US — Scientology has faced challenges in dozens of countries around the world. Yet it has survived nearly 70 years of criticism, lawsuits, defections, investigations, raids and scandals. How has it managed to do so?

    That’s the subject of a major project that I’ve been working on for the past year, a new book exploring Scientology’s relationship with its adversaries around the world, from 1950 to the present day. It’s a project which has so far taken me through three continents and many thousands of pages of archived documents, much of which has never been reported on before. Regular Bunker readers will have seen some of the offshoots of that research on this blog during the course of the year.

    (If you can, please help to support this project via my GoFundMe page!)

    Scientology’s long history of facing external opposition — from governments, law enforcement agencies, and medical organisations — has left a deep mark on its structure and outlook. Its predecessor, Dianetics, collapsed in a welter of unpaid bills and lawsuits. Hubbard set about making his new Scientology organisation invulnerable to external pressure. His goal was threefold: to deflect, deter, and defeat any external opponent.

    Scientology’s approach to deterring conflict has a lot in common with that of a porcupine: Look dangerous, make threatening noises, and inflict severe pain on an enemy if necessary. Governments potentially have a huge amount of power, but they are constrained by laws, regulations, and resources. (And rightly so; it’s the reason our societies don’t look like, say, China.) Scientology has found ways of leveraging the law and its opponents’ weak points to deter and defeat them.

    From Scientology’s perspective, it is obviously best to avoid any issue becoming the subject of an investigation. Most problems start out locally, so a top priority for any Scientology org is to carry out what L. Ron Hubbard called “safepointing” — getting close to local politicians, police officers, and other influential figures who could cause trouble for Scientology or, alternatively, help it to avoid problems. Hubbard told Scientologists to “carefully and painstakingly find out who exactly are the top dogs in the area in financial and political circles, and their associates and connections, and to what each one is hostile … Viability [of Scientology] depends on having all areas and persons who could affect or influence the operation under PR control.” Outreach to police departments, such as in Los Angeles or Clearwater, are examples of “PRO [Public Relations Officer] Area Control” in action.

    Continued at
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  4. The Wrong Guy Member

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  5. The Wrong Guy Member

    ‘Aftermath’ subject Brandon Reisdorf arrested for entering San Diego Scientology church

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, February 13, 2019


    It pains us to report that Brandon Reisdorf, who we got to know from his appearance in the first season of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, has been arrested again, this time for attempting to enter Scientology’s church in San Diego.

    According to the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, Brandon was arrested on Saturday evening, and he has been in the county jail since then, with a court date this morning at 8 am. His mother, Lois Reisdorf, asked us to speak with Brandon’s attorney, Graham Berry, and Berry said he would speak to us as soon as he was able.

    In the seventh episode of her first season Remini featured Brandon, whose parents Lois and Gary were deeply into Scientology in South Africa before drifting away from it. Brandon and his older brother Craig got into Scientology on their own, and Lois and Gary didn’t interfere. But eventually because of their connection to a friend who had spoken out against the church, Lois and Gary were declared “suppressive persons,” and all church members were ordered to disconnect from them. Brandon chose his parents and left the church, but Craig didn’t.

    For Brandon, it was devastating to lose contact with his older brother. Combined with his own emotional problems, it produced a rage in him that he decided to take out on the church. In January 2016 he drove from San Diego to Los Angeles and threw a hammer into a window on a Scientology church at 2 in the morning. No one was hurt.

    Rather than try to help Brandon with his rage, the church asked the LA District Attorney to charge him with a felony for vandalizing a “place of worship.”

    In Remini’s program, she highlighted how Scientology was leveraging its questionable status as a religion in order to ramp up charges against a former parishioner who needed help, not jail time.

    Brandon was sentenced to probation and was ordered to stay away from all Scientology facilities. Since then he’s been trying to get his felony conviction downgraded to a misdemeanor. We’ve spoken to him numerous times about that in the last couple of years, and he was hopeful that it was going to happen soon.

    But it was also clear that Brandon’s emotional problems were not going away. This was a young man who desperately needed serious help. We wish we could have done more than simply bring up his recent behavior with his family. Maybe we could have.

    According to the San Diego Sheriff’s website, Brandon is being held on a misdemeanor charge of disobeying a court order. But two felonies are also listed: violation of probation, and vandalizing a house of worship. We’re hoping to find out from Berry just what charges Brandon is facing this time, and which are carry-overs from before.

    The church itself claims that Reisdorf had made a threat on social media about the church and then was caught trying to sneak into the San Diego org. The church has already begun using Brandon’s latest arrest to attack Remini and her show on its own social media feeds.

  6. AnyOldName Member

    Mike Rinder posted an update on the status of the unaired episodes - including the one on Masterson. The site was crashed a few times, so posting in full here:

    "The Aftermath — An Update"
    February 13, 2019 By Mike Rinder


    This is an attempt to quell some of the rumors and erroneous speculation swirling about The Aftermath.

    Though I am not in a position to know everything about decisions that are made outside my control (or Leah’s), I do have some insight – more than most who may claim to have “heard rumors,” rely on anonymous sources or merely speculate because they have a keyboard on which they can type.

    First, and most important for me, I want to dispel the lies that have been circulated (most likely by scientology) that episodes or the show as a whole are in peril because of Leah Remini’s demands for money and/or diva like behavior.

    I have worked side by side with Leah for three years on this show. Is she passionate about what she does? Is she determined and resolute about the stories we present? Yes, yes and yes. Qualities she would be celebrated for if she were a man.

    A diva, she is not. This show would not exist without her. It would not have been the critically acclaimed award winning show it is without her — not just before the camera, but more importantly behind it.
    I know what I have experienced working by her side every day. Her dedication and willingness to work incredibly hard is beyond imagination. Her driving purpose has been and always will be for the victims and particularly for those who have appeared on The Aftermath. She has put herself and her position on the line for victims, and even for me, when others would not. Always standing on the side of the truth and demanding that everyone involved in the show do so is something to be admired. Ask any of the people who have been on The Aftermath and they will all 100% agree with me — for they have experienced the force of nature that is Leah crusading for justice for the victims of scientology (and now other abusive organizations). She is the best friend you could ever want to have in your corner.

    Of course, scientology doesn’t like her or anything she does. They wish fervently that she would shut up and go away and are doing everything they possibly can to make that happen. There have also been some who would rather avoid the hard work needed to make sure everything is accurate and the shows were the very best they could be. They have not been a good fit. Not everyone shares our passion. That is unfortunate but unavoidable in a business like making TV. Nevertheless, those people got paid, some very handsomely and they have an Emmy nominated and winning show on their resume.

    I have watched Leah work on her birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and weekends – often from 6am to 10pm or later. Not because she is being paid extra to do so, but because she believes so strongly in giving a voice to those who wouldn’t otherwise have a platform and in making the show the best it can be. For scientology to accuse her of being motivated by money is laugh out loud ridiculous and beyond ironic (scientology is purely motivated by money). She could make a LOT more doing sitcoms. With a lot less stress.

    As her friend, I cannot sit by and watch as anonymous “sources” attempt to mess with her. She probably needs no defense, as her good work speaks for itself, but I feel compelled to say it anyway.

    Anyone who wants to besmirch her or spread false stories is not trying to help end the abuses of scientology. They are trying to end her exposure of the abuses of scientology.

    As for the Masterson episode: At no time has A&E said the Danny Masterson episode would not air. The victims were given an air date, but things often change when there are so many competing interests involved. Episodes constantly shift around, particularly on this show. It is not the victims job to know or understand this. They were of course upset. So were Leah and I, but we had the advantage of a better understanding of how the sausage of reality tv is made, even if we were not involved in the decision on when to air.

    We first filmed with the Masterson survivors two years ago and there has been a lot of water under bridge since then; the detectives investigating the case have been targeted by scientology operatives, the survivors have been stalked and harassed by scientology PI’s. The scientologist witnesses have been acting in accordance with scientology policy — it is a scientology “crime” to testify against a scientologist “in good standing.” There is still an on-going investigation and LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey has the case “on her desk” awaiting a decision to move forward. We believe this case is stalled solely due to the efforts of scientology putting pressure on the D/A. And that is where the counter-pressure should be directed.

    A&E decided to air the show at a later date in order to give this atrocious story the full measure of respect it deserves.

    Everyone needs to understand there are MANY factors that come into play in getting a show to air. Primarily it is the desire to tell the true stories. Partly it is what is in the best interests of the victims. Partly it is legal concerns. Partly it is corporate concerns based on the bottom line, and even sometimes what happens with other, completely unrelated shows. You can be sure, the last thing a TV network wants is to NOT air a show that they have paid for. Frankly, if Leah and I had our way, the decisions would ONLY be based on the first two points above. But we don’t own a TV network and don’t have the money to finance producing a TV series. So a lot of other factors enter the equation, and though everyone would love for it to all be transparent, it never will be. This is big business.

    As for the other 2 possible stories that have been talked about: the victim who had been helped by The Aftermath Foundation could be a whole additional episode about what happened in trying to get this put together and the subsequent events. As could the episode focused on the disappearance of Heber Jentzsch. Hopefully at some point we will be able to tell these stories and the background events as they give fascinating insight into the machinations of the world of scientology. But right now is not the time.

    We will give you more information as we get it and as it can be released without jeopardizing any of the many factors at play.

    We thank you for caring enough to be outraged. Sometimes we feel the same way.

    Rest assured, as Leah has said many times, we will never give up until the abuses have been stopped.
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  7. The Wrong Guy Member


    Scientology’s street theater in New York: A bid to head off a 4th ‘Aftermath’ season?

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, February 14, 2019


    Leah Remini’s A&amp;E series, Scientology and the Aftermath, concluded its third season on February 5. In past years, we’ve heard about her show being renewed about a month after a season finale, so we don’t expect word to arrive about a possible fourth season of the show for some time yet. But Scientology appears to be pulling out all the stops to persuade A&amp;E not to give Leah another round.

    Yesterday, Scientology’s “LA Faith Coalition” showed up with some local participants outside the Manhattan offices of A&amp;E on 45th Street, carrying signs urging A&amp;E to “stop the hate,” and targeting A&amp;E CEO Paul Buccieri, who has been smeared online for months with Scientology propaganda.

    Scientology’s fake “grass roots” protest organization, the “Stand League,” bellowed about the demonstration on its Twitter feed:


    We received this statement last night from Lois and Gary Reisdorf about their son Brandon’s arrest:

    More at
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  8. The Wrong Guy Member

    Graham Berry updates us on Brandon Reisdorf

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, February 15, 2019


    Attorney Graham Berry sent us this dispatch late last night:

    The San Diego City Attorney’s Office had until noon today (Thursday) to decide whether to charge Brandon with a misdemeanor charge of willfully disobeying a court order (Penal Code section 166 (4)). The video courtroom receives the new case arraignments in hourly batches. There is no advance warning. Consequently, I spent the morning hanging out in the courtroom and the cafeteria. Scientology attorney Kendrick Moxon was there as well.

    I was back at my hotel during the lunch recess when the City Attorney’s Office kindly sent me an email advising that they were not filing a new case, although Brandon would still have to deal with the separate probation issues and would be held in custody until his appearance on Thursday, February 21, in Department 101.

    I then visited with Brandon at the County jail. He was in good spirits and said that he was being treated well by the deputies and other ‘guests.’ It was certainly warmer and drier in there than outside in the very heavy rain and strong winds that were buffeting the city and blowing umbrellas inside out.

  9. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology Files Criminal Complaint Against Me | Growing Up In Scientology

    "I discuss recent fair game tactics Scientology had taken against me, the Aftermath Foundation and the Scientology and the Aftermath show."

    Leah Remini accuses former Scientologists of sabotaging an episode of ‘Aftermath’

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, February 19, 2019


    Leah Remini has accused two former members of the Church of Scientology of sabotaging an episode of her A&E series, Scientology and the Aftermath, linking to their Twitter accounts, calling them “Scientology Operatives” and encouraging them to “get help.”


    She also linked to a YouTube video posted earlier in the evening by ‘Aftermath’ guest Aaron Smith-Levin, who accused the two former church members of not only sabotaging the episode (which didn’t air), but also of filing a criminal complaint against him with the Clearwater Police Department.

    Continued at
  10. A report from Robin Athlyn Thompson.



    The Murray letter currently on the STAND website is below. To read the letter you may have to enlarge it. I'll note the letter is not technically on the letterhead of the First AME Church of Los Angeles (FAME). The letterhead does note Rev. Dr. Murray's status as &quot;Pastor Emeritus First AME Church of Los Angeles.&quot;


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  11. More tweets by Robin Athlyn Thompson. I believe these were in response to my observation about the letterhead.


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  12. The Wrong Guy Member

    First AME Church & USC both disclaim letter Scientology using against Leah Remini

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, February 22, 2019


    Several other STAND League figures are flat-out fakes. But more than a hundred other people sent out angry letters on STAND letter head to various companies, with Disney receiving the bulk of them. Who were these letter writers? It turns out most of them are simply the usual Scientology operatives who have been relied on to carry out Scientology’s initiatives over the years, and who would do anything David Miscavige asked them. Here’s a rundown on some of them, which we put together with the help of several former church members:

    Beth Akiyama (Letter to Anheuser-Busch, Aug 22, 2017), OSA Int
    John Allender, Bay Area public and notorious Squirrel Buster
    Laurie Bartilson, ex-In-House lawyer for OSA Int
    Linda Batdorf (Little Caesars Pizza, Nov 1, 2017), LA public
    Gerald Beeny (Disney, May 31, 2017), LA Public
    Gracia Bennish, LA Public
    Siouxie Boshoff, Flag public
    Toby Burwell (Walgreen, Jun 16, 2017), LA public
    Gail Carroll (Disney, Dec 23, 2017) LA Public
    Michael Chan (Disney, Aug 15, Aug 26 and Oct 1) Flag public and searcher for Obi-Wan Kenobi
    Leisa Collins, ex-SO
    Courtney Condon, PTL public
    Michael Duff, LA public
    Riggs Eckelberry (Disney, Dec 22, 2017) LA Public
    Bodhi Elfman, LA Public and flaky celebrity
    Catherine Emrani (Anheuser-Busch, Oct 8, 2017), LA Public
    Pat Felske (Toronto Star, Mar 10, 2017), Ex-GO Canada
    Dean Glosup (Disney, Dec 12, 2017) LA Public
    Lee Holzinger (Expedia, Sep 27, 2017), DSA STB ex-OSA Int
    Jim Kalergis (Disney, Oct 15 and Dec 23, 2017) LA Public
    Andrea Kluge (A&E, Dec 21, 2016), LA Public
    Avi & Shiri Lonstein (ABC, Jan 5, 2017), LA Public
    Jim Meskimen (Disney, Dec 19, 2017) hack d-list celeb
    Paris Morfopoulous, Flag public
    Joel Morris (The Wonderful Company, Jan 15) LA Public
    Dennis Negley (Skechers, Sep 5, 2017), SFO public, former staff
    Cathy Norman, DSA Austin
    Jennifer Pantermuehl (A&E, Dec 22, 2016), Public
    John Pantermuehl (Volkswagen, Aug 24, 2017), Texas public
    Edward Parkin, OSA Int and STAND League director
    Ann Pearce (Aaron’s Stores, Jan 15) DSA Seattle Org
    Matt Pearce (Disney, Jan 6, 2017) SO member
    Bernard Percy (Proctor & Gamble, Aug 15) LA Public
    Carolyn Percy (Hyundai Motor America, Sep 21) LA Public
    Joel Phillips (Nestle, Aug 21, and Disney, Jan 4) LA Public
    Raleigh Pruitt, ex-SO
    Jeff Quiros (Sears, Sep 18, 2017), DSA SGO and San Francisco head goon
    Edith Reuveni (Disney, Aug 2, 2017), LA Public
    Eric Roux, DSA Belgium
    Ken Shapiro (Walgreen, Jun 16, 2017), ex-SO ASHO
    Judi Shervell (Anheuser-Busch, Jan 15) OSA Int
    Peter Sokoloff (Disney, June 1) LA Public
    Randy Stith (Walgreen, Jun 16, 2017), LA Public and embarrassing goon
    Koko Tabibzadeh (Hyundai, Oct 8, 2017), LA Public
    Alethiea Taylor (Nestle, Oct 7, 2017), ex-SO from the Apollo
    Clair Taylor (Burger King, Oct 22, 2017), LA public
    Diane Temps (KFC, Oct 21, 2017), LA public
    Pam Vilinsky, DSA
    Rev. Peter J. Vilinsky (Liberty Mutual, Oct 24, 2017), NY public
    Cass Warner (Disney, May 30, 2017), LA Public and studio figure
    Jenny Widmaiger, ex-SO
    Janet Weiland, OSA Int and longtime Scientology operative
    Richard Weiland, OSA Int
    Nick McNaughton (Walgreen, June 16, 2017), OSA Int

    We’d like to believe that A&E, Disney, and the other companies getting these astroturf messages from the STAND League can see through them and realize what a put-up job this campaign is.

    Unfortunately, some actual religious leaders in Los Angeles appear to have been taken in. But Scientology always manages to find some shills.

    More at
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