Tony Ortega is executive editor of The Raw Story and is formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He's written about Scientology since 1995, and has a forthcoming book about the subject. He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world from an undisclosed location in an underground bunker he shares with four cats and one of them wrinkly Shar Pei dogs. Despite his super-secret security protections, you can still reach him pretty easily by sending him a message at tonyo94 AT gmail.com (Drop him a line if you'd like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.) [Header image courtesy John Rickard]
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The richest Scientologists in the world get a new trophy for donating another pile of cash!

DugganInvictus2

 
The new issue of Impact magazine is out, and the publication — from the international Association of Scientologists — includes this great photograph of Bob and Trish Duggan with their newest piece of hardware from Scientology leader David Miscavige, given to them at the October IAS gala in England. They’ve reached yet another new donation status (which had to be invented for them) — Patron Invictus! And look at that trophy shine!

Continue reading The richest Scientologists in the world get a new trophy for donating another pile of cash!

An iconic Scientology building in Hollywood is in pre-foreclosure, and what that portends

Christie2Thanks to Angry Gay Pope for this latest tip involving a building that goes by several different names.

The building’s location, 6724 Hollywood Boulevard at McCadden Place, is a block east of the ‘Hollywood & Highland’ complex and it’s long been a Scientology facility, most recognizable for the vertical “Scientology” signs along its corners. Originally, the 1922 eight-story structure was known as the Christie Hotel. In 1945 it changed hands and was named the Drake Hotel and then later became the Hollywood Inn. Scientologists call it “the test center,” or “Hollywood Test Center,” and one of its most notable functions was to host the annual Winter Wonderland display in its parking lot each Fall to (sort of) celebrate Christmas.

Continue reading An iconic Scientology building in Hollywood is in pre-foreclosure, and what that portends

Scientology asks court in Monique Rathbun’s case to take note of Vance Woodward’s loss

Karen de la Carriere and Jeff Augustine recently met with Vance Woodward (center)

Karen de la Carriere and Jeff Augustine recently met with Vance Woodward (center)

We’re still waiting for a big decision from the Texas Third Court of Appeals regarding Monique Rathbun’s harassment lawsuit against the Church of Scientology. You may remember that Scientology appealed Comal County Judge Dib Waldrip’s denial of Scientology’s “anti-SLAPP” motion that would have pretty much crippled Monique’s lawsuit.

Continue reading Scientology asks court in Monique Rathbun’s case to take note of Vance Woodward’s loss

Scientology Armageddon: Now Sears — yes, Sears — is piling on the embattled church

SearsSci2We want to thank Jeffrey Augustine for bringing our attention to this gem. It’s an iron-on heat transfer — the kind of thing you use to customize a T-shirt — with a slogan that the Church of Scientology is not going to appreciate. But the best part? It’s on sale at the website of Sears. Yes, Sears!

Continue reading Scientology Armageddon: Now Sears — yes, Sears — is piling on the embattled church

HBO and BBC battling to get full-length films about Scientology out first

Alex Gibney and Louis Theroux -- who will be first?

Alex Gibney and Louis Theroux — who will be first?

The Hollywood Reporter spilled the beans this morning, so now we can say what we’ve known about for more than a year — that Alex Gibney, perhaps the best documentary filmmaker in the business, is finishing up a movie for HBO about Scientology, and he’s hoping to get it into the Sundance film festival in January.

Your proprietor sat down for a two-hour on-camera interview with Gibney earlier this year, and we’ll be interested to see if any of it makes the final cut.

Continue reading HBO and BBC battling to get full-length films about Scientology out first

Jon Atack: At the heart of Scientology is L. Ron Hubbard’s paralyzing use of contradiction

Jon_AtackJon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and for more than a year on Saturdays he helped us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet. He was kind enough to send us a new post.

We always enjoy it when Jon dives deep into the origins of Dianetics and Scientology to teach us more about L. Ron Hubbard and how he managed to capture the imaginations of people who came to believe that he had unlocked the secrets of the universe. Take us on another journey, Jon!

Continue reading Jon Atack: At the heart of Scientology is L. Ron Hubbard’s paralyzing use of contradiction

VIDEO: Watch a Scientology spy get busted by Marc Headley in Las Vegas last night

LVPartyLast night, more than a hundred former Church of Scientology members gathered for a birthday party and reunion at the Suncoast Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

And waiting for them, as they began walking into the rented hall for the event, were a couple of men filming them.

“They were right next door to the banquet hall. Two gentlemen sitting on a sofa near the door,” Marc Headley tells us.

Continue reading VIDEO: Watch a Scientology spy get busted by Marc Headley in Las Vegas last night

The Scientologist who wouldn’t fly: The rise and fall of insurance mogul Richie Acunto

PatronLaureateAt 7:16 PM Eastern time on Sunday, an eBay auction will end and someone will become the new owner of the trophy you see pictured at the right.

With its custom-made carrying case, the trophy weighs 115 pounds, and the winner will have to spend $249.99 to have it shipped. Bidding for the item started on November 13 at $299.99, and as of this morning there have been two bids on it, taking the current price to $312.79.

Continue reading The Scientologist who wouldn’t fly: The rise and fall of insurance mogul Richie Acunto

Swiss politicians sue Scientology for libel in battle over anti-drug front group

SwissPoliticosWe have another exclusive from our man in Paris, British journalist Jonny Jacobsen, who filed this report today…

Two Swiss politicians are suing Scientology in the latest twist of a long-running battle to expose the movement’s links to an anti-drugs group there.

They filed their case in response to a Scientology spokeswoman’s comments dismissing their efforts to get the drugs group to come clean about the connection.

Continue reading Swiss politicians sue Scientology for libel in battle over anti-drug front group

Did a fashion website give a big boost to a Scientology infiltrator of NYC schools?

City Councilman Dan Halloran (center), in 2013 with Bernard and Meghan Fialkoff

City Councilman Dan Halloran (center), in 2013 with Bernard and Meghan Fialkoff

See also: What’s in that ‘world exclusive’ in the National Enquirer?

Back in March of 2013, we told you about a sneaky Scientology infiltration of New York City schools. In a place like New York, Scientology doesn’t do very well — residents here are on to L. Ron Hubbard and his wacky organization, and this city has never had the kind of Scientology presence you see in places like California and Florida.

So that means Scientology has to try harder, and play things a little more under the radar. But thanks to our tipsters, we caught on to the sneaky attempts to get L. Ron Hubbard into the local schools through the efforts of a wealthy Queens dentist and his energetic daughter.

Continue reading Did a fashion website give a big boost to a Scientology infiltrator of NYC schools?