VV: Scientology's Writers of the Future Contest: Troubling Ties to Abuse in the Church

Discussion in 'Media' started by DeathHamster, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. DeathHamster Member
    That ought to light a few fires in fandom.
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  2. Anonymous Member

    I can almost hear the virtual "swish" of the poons as they are fired off.
  3. I hate to say it (hell, what it is: I hate to admit I am a sci-fi geek to have any knowledge of this at all) but I don't think this award will outlive the lives of old school writers who had some affection for L Ron as an inspiration and/or collegue (or the patience of younger writers who are currently having to acknowledge 'grandmasters' that feel such reverence).

    Ron's sci-fi means nothing. Its juvenile traf written for stunted adolescents such as himself. Like the Gor novels they stand as monuments to 'too much personal 411!' The only things keeping that 'golden age' from fading are the memories of a few (and fewer) writers who actually knew him (and apparently he was a hoot, if indeed a bit of a nutcase).

    The young writers are going to be more aware of scientology and they pretty much say "Do Not Want".
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  4. moarxenu Member

    Dong, this is a great perspective. I read the comments at VV and the blog of one of the sci fi writers. The awards show is on April 15 - Income tax day to add insult to injury. I don't know where they are taking place, presumably Los Angeles. Great raid opportunity.

    The awards are doomed and with enough activism we could tank them by next year. When the conversation turns on just how thick and secure the "firewall" is between the cult and the awards you know there is a problem. It is unsolvable. If defend the awards you have to defend Scientology and it is indefensible.

    The awards are doomed precisely because young writers and fans know increasingly what the scoop is on the cult.

    The awards are being defended for the opportunity they provide young writers. But this is simply a question of funding. The must be a lot of people with case in fandom who would be willing to fund such awards.

    So -

    1. Kill off cult sci awards by harpooning
    2. Create new awards organization
    3. Get $$$ from rich fans
    4. ???
    5. PROFIT!
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  5. Random guy Member

    ...or let them keep it up and spend bucks that will not help in "forwarding the good name of Hubbard".
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  6. grebe Member

    Very nice article challenging people to think about the association between Scientology and a contest that "totally has nothing to do with Scientology." Good jorb, Tony.

    I wonder how many writers or illustrators of the future have openly described Scientology as a pile of horseshit. If pretty much none of them, that would be interesting.
  7. Anonymous Member

    The awards are probably doomed because the cult, as it continues to decline, will eventually not want to spend the money on them. In the meantime I think it is expecting rather a lot for new/young writers to turn down a chance at free money and literary connection to be used for pursuing their craft.

    Same story for the young elite athlete who holds his nose and accepts financial support for his budding career from his grandmother's church, or the local sleazy car dealership. Or those who accept financial support for educational purposes from an industry they don't agree with.
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  8. DeathHamster Member

    Or some staffer with low stats will ignore the strict instructions Hubbard probably left, and send in the regs against the contest winners after blocking the exits.
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  9. failboat Member

    Here's the link to the netcast; I took it out of the quote so you can see where you're going. (You might want to proxy up?)
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  10. Anonymous Member

  11. Anonymous Member

  12. Anonymous Member

    with the danger of being ridiculed, i wanna point out that TonyO is being as bad as the so-called-church when he bitches and moans about copyrighted article being quoted here and other forums.
    Tony, WTF man? You complaint about anons and ex's quoting in full your articles as that reduced your visits to the blogs and called them "copyrighted". Do you really need those clicks that bad, man? sorry but fuck you and your copyright shit. Information wants to be free.
  13. Anonymous Member

    FAIL, double post cuz i sux hard
  14. Anonymous Member

    QFT. We started the war against the cult because of a copyrighted issue. I have very strong feeling about “copyrighted” stuff. Fuck this.
  15. Anonymous Member

    Link to bitching a moaning, or GTFO.
  16. Anonymous Member

    HELLo, OSA.
  17. failboat Member

    The reasons I didn't quote more from the article are that:

    (1) It's basically content-less. Seriously. I have not seen writing that does a better job taking up space while providing almost no content in a long time. And
    (2) It doxes ppl by name (and by face if you're at the actual article; but way to go bolding their names, really good form). Those people are pretty much innocent writers and illustrators trying to improve their craft.
  18. Anonymous Member

    Copyright allows an author to benefit from his hard work. I'm against using it to hide the secrets of a criminal fraud organisation. Tony did hinted for some link love. I don't understand why you have to copy the whole article and paste it here? I mean it looks better if you read it there. Whatever you want to do, it's no bid deal to me.

    DOX may nean different things to you. In this case, the authors attended an public event, in a public list. Either they choose to support the cult, or have no clue what they are getting into. Either way, naming names forces them to confront the issue, no excuses for "I have no idea".
  19. DeathHamster Member

    Yeah, this could have been bolder, somehow:
    It's not like each one of them gets a Scientology mind-worm in their ear and then they beat on Hole occupants before they receive their award.
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  20. The Wrong Guy Member

    This morning on Facebook, Tony wrote this:

    It's that time of year again, when the Church of Scientology throws a lavish week-long party for prominent science fiction authors in order to get good PR for L. Ron Hubbard and his church! Er, and also to give some new writers some awards. It actually has nothing to do with Scientology and its many controversies. Nothing! Don't look behind that curtain!

    Scientology's Big Party for Sci-Fi Writers Who See No Evil | The Underground Bunker

    Excerpt from the cult's press release:

    Author Services, Inc. will present The 29th Annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards For Winners of the International Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests on Sunday, April 14, 2013 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles

    Full article, and open comments:
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  21. The Wrong Guy Member

    Today, Tony Ortega wrote:

    Please check back here later today for our live-blog entry, which we’ll post at around 7:30 PM Eastern/4:30 PM Pacific (12:30 AM London/9:30 AM Sydney) to get the conversation started. The event itself begins at 9:30 PM Eastern/6:30 PM Pacific (2:30 AM London/11:30 AM Sydney).

    As for this morning, we have a great collection of weird stuff for you. Let’s start with the Writers of the Future contest itself.

    Continued at
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  22. Budd Member

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  23. The Wrong Guy Member

    Tony just posted:

    WE'RE LIVE! Join us as we live-blog Scientology's annual Writers of the Future contest gala, which will be streaming on the Internet beginning at 9:30 PM Eastern, 6:30 PM Pacific (2:30 AM London, 11:30 AM Sydney). But we're already live, so join in on the conversation.

    Writers of the Future Live-Blogging! Black Tie Not Required | The Underground Bunker
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  24. The Wrong Guy Member

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  25. DeathHamster Member

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  26. The Wrong Guy Member

    Writers of the Future live streaming!

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, April 10, 2016

    Well, we did our part. Back in 2012 we laid out in detail why science fiction writers who have any concern at all about the violence and psychological abuse that Scientology’s Sea Org workers are subject to should think twice about taking part in Scientology’s annual wet kiss to writers and illustrators.

    But as long as Scientology is throwing obscene amounts of money at a field that usually starves, our revelations aren’t stopping the usual suspects from having their yearly shindig.

    We plan to check in on the livecast tonight at some point, to see if there’s more of that funky interpretive dance going on.

    Festivities begin at 6:30 Pacific time at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles.
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  27. RightOn Member

    ^^^^ The KSW of the COS is an energizer bunny (clam) in other countries.:mad:
    Especially at a time when the COS controversies are finally heating up in the US.

    I think the people named in Tony's article in the US and other countries endorsing anything COS events needs some brand new poons :cool:
    It's obvious they don't have clue that the clams are getting over on them.:rolleyes:
    I still find it hard to believe in this day and age that these people don't take just 10 seconds to look something up on the net before they get involved with putting their face with Scientology.:mad:
    It's a mystery :confused:
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  28. anon8109 Member

    The way to justify taking money from the scientology corporation is that if you didn't not only would someone else take it in your place, but by taking it you are getting the money away from the cult and putting it to better use.

    The counter-argument of course is that by allowing yourself to be seen supporting the cult, you are causing harm to the victims that either stay in or join partly because a respectable sci-fi author supports it.
    It's similar to putting yourself in a cigarette commercial, or publicly endorsing a brand of smokes.

  29. The Wrong Guy Member

    Dungeons & Dragons and Scientology collide: Can we get a saving throw on that engram?

    By Tony Ortega, March 30, 2017


    Larry Elmore has been called the best thing that ever happened to Dungeons & Dragons art (although personally, your proprietor is more of a Trampier man), and we wondered what Elmore’s legions of role-playing fans might think if they knew that for the past four years, he’s been helping out the Church of Scientology.

    This Sunday, Scientology will host its annual “L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers and Illustrators of the Future” contest award ceremony at the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Hollywood.

    Back in 2012, we dispelled some of the myths about the contest. Contrary to what some of its participants may like to believe, the contest is very much a Church of Scientology owned and funded project whose sole purpose is to promote Hubbard’s image and pretend that his reputation as a science fiction writer is really on par with the contest’s illustrious judges.

    The contest was started in 1983, during the period when Hubbard was in hiding from process servers and government investigators but had put out his doorstop of a science fiction novel, Battlefield Earth, and was trying to rebuild his reputation as a fiction writer after being out of the game for many years. Six years later (and three years after Hubbard’s death), in 1989 an illustrator’s contest was added, and each year the quarterly winners are invited to a lavish ceremony in Los Angeles where a writer and an illustrator are named that year’s overall winners. Particularly on the writing side the list of judges has been top notch, with such names as Algis Budrys, Frank Herbert, Anne McCaffrey, Larry Niven, Robert Silverberg, Theodore Sturgeon, Roger Zelazny, and Orson Scott Card.

    Larry Elmore joined the list of illustrator judges in January 2013, after we had exposed the troubling links between the contest and Scientology’s notorious abuses. In our 2012 article, we reported that in 2004 Barbara Ruiz, who ran the contest then for Scientology’s Author Services Inc. (Hubbard’s literary agency), was seen helping to operate “The Hole,” the prison for Sea Org executives that Scientology leader David Miscavige created that year. One of its prisoners was Mike Rinder (now co-star with Leah Remini on her A&E series, Scientology and the Aftermath), and he was one of three sources who identified Ruiz as one of the people running the bizarre prison.

    Later that year, Ruiz helped run the 2004 writers and illustrators contest, and then she vanished. We’ve received no reports of her whereabouts since. She’s just one of many Scientology executives who were made to disappear by David Miscavige.

    Despite our report directly linking the contest with Scientology’s abuses, Elmore joined the contest as a judge, which means like the others he gets to enjoy a trip to Hollywood where Scientology spends money like it was going out of style. (At least a few participants have pointed out that the spendy richness of the contest and its ceremony are a little too obvious. Not to mention the giant portrait of Hubbard that hangs over the stage, accepting the fulsome thanks of every winner, as they are so obviously instructed to do.)

    But Elmore tells us that he hadn’t heard about our reporting, and that he has no association with the church. “I am not aware of any of this. I am only a judge at the Writers and Artists of the Future Contest. I have no other affiliations with them. I am not a Scientologist, and I have mentioned to them that I have no interest in any of that stuff,” he said to us in an email this week. “I know that they have a ‘reputation,’ but it seems that the particular contest for new artists and writers is on the level. Unless proven differently, I really do [believe that]. But keep me informed, OK?”

    We assured him that as far as we know the contest is very much on the level, and quite prestigious. But it only exists because the Church of Scientology spends fabulous sums, and with the purpose of burnishing Hubbard’s reputation by having his name in proximity to a legend like Larry Elmore.

    From 1981 to 1987, Elmore worked for TSR and produced some of the most well known images for Dungeons & Dragons, particularly in its Dragonlance line. He’s freelanced since then, and like most artists he’s probably never been paid what he deserved. But taking money from Scientology, especially when it’s tied directly to brutal treatment of Sea Org employees? We were disappointed to hear that he was unaware of our previous reporting.

    But we told him we’d appreciate it if he might ask the contest’s Joni Labaqui about Barbara Ruiz and her disappearance.

    Continued at
  30. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology gets away with abuses because it has friends like author Orson Scott Card

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, April 5, 2019


    Once again, the L. Ron Hubbard Writers and Illustrators of the Future awards ceremony is upon us, and once again it provides a clear example of how Scientology manages to go year after year without a reckoning for its abuses.

    We first wrote about the contest and its annual awards gala for the Voice back in 2012, providing for the first time a direct tie between the science fiction event and shocking abuses in the church itself. We demonstrated that one of the Scientology ‘Sea Org’ executives running the contest, Barbara Ruiz, was also, at the same time, running ‘The Hole,’ David Miscavige’s notorious prison for his own executives at Scientology’s secret Gold Base near Hemet, California.

    Former inmates in The Hole distinctly remember Ruiz helping to order them around in 2004, also the last year she was seen running the contest. After that she vanished and we’ve never received any information about her whereabouts, and the church never responded to our inquiries about her. No other media seems to care.

    In the last few years, former contest participants have on occasion raised a fuss online as it dawns on them that there might have been something a little fishy about unpublished short story writers being flown out to Hollywood for a week of workshops and fittings for tuxedos and then a lavish ceremony with Hollywood-level set design.

    This year’s celebrations began a few days ago, and once again we were reminded what a gut-punch this thing is. Take a look at that photo above from Day 1 of the weeklong celebration.

    <photo snipped>

    The bespectacled greybeard in the middle mugging for the camera? That’s Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card, one of the contest’s judges and its biggest “name.” And the lady he’s next to? That’s Emily Goodwin, someone we’ve watched as much as we can here at the Bunker.

    Why? Because Emily is the daughter of Phil and Willie Jones, a former Scientologist couple who have spent years and a lot of money trying to defeat Scientology “disconnection” so they can get back in touch with their children, Emily and her brother Mike, both Sea Org workers who have signed Scientology’s billion-year contract. Emily has a real plum assignment, at Author Services, Inc. and Galaxy Press, which publish L. Ron Hubbard’s fiction and put on the contest. So she gets to hobnob with bigshots like Card and go to conventions to hawk Hubbard’s old short stories.

    Her parents, meanwhile, were tossed out of Scientology for having some doubts. Phil and Willie don’t care that their children are still in the organization, they just want to see them. But Scientology rips apart families as standard policy, and Phil and Willie never hear from their kids.

    They’d give just about anything merely to be standing where Oscar Scott Card is in this photo, and have a chance to see and talk to their daughter.

    So, just as last year, the contest week has launched with a reminder of Scientology disconnection. And tonight, at Taglyan Complex, a new, smaller venue this time, the awards gala will take place, and once again we can watch along to see if every writer and illustrator winner remembers the obligatory thank you to L. Ron Hubbard

    More at
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