Back in 2007, when John Sweeney of the BBC (right) came to Los Angeles to film an episode of Panorama entitled “Scientology and Me,” he was treated rather roughly by the church’s two top media handlers, Tommy Davis (left) and a gaunt-looking Mike Rinder, who had just been plucked out of “The Hole” for assignment after more than a year on thin slop and sleeping under desks at the church’s bizarre ecclesiastical office-prison.
Now, for the first time, Rinder, who left Scientology not too long after this photo was taken, has fired a broadside directly at his former colleague, telling Davis that it’s time he started spilling his guts about abuse he witnessed in the church.
At his blog, Rinder takes aim at Davis and his wife, Jessica Feshbach, who also worked as a top media handler for the church — it was Feshbach who was often seen herding Katie Holmes around through interviews and otherwise shadowing the actress to within an inch of her life.
Rinder suggests that the couple got together when Davis “blew” from the church after the Sweeney encounter and Feshbach became his “sec-checker” — the person who was assigned to interrogate him.
Ah, Scientology love. Nothing like an e-meter and a brutal inquisition to warm the heart.
After they became a couple, Tommy and Jessica learned to have fun together, like the time they intimidated a young church member about the consequences of working for someone the church didn’t like. As can be heard in this secretly-recorded tape, Tommy and Jessica tell Shane Clark that if he doesn’t quit his job working for excommunicated member Marc Headley, he risks losing the rest of his family to “disconnection.”
Rinder runs through a list of other highlights in Tommy’s career as a mouthpiece for Scientology leader David Miscavige, and Rinder does have a point — it sure would be fun to hear from Tommy about walking out on Martin Bashir, or telling John Roberts of CNN that disconnection doesn’t exist.
But Rinder also provides a couple of new nuggets that are kind of amazing:
Tommy told me he was physically assaulted by Tom [Cruise] (“I deserved it”) who followed in the footsteps of his mentor Dave. Tommy was subservient to “Mr. Cruise” as was everyone else in the Sea Org by order of “COB.”
Rinder was among several former executives who came forward in 2009 to claim that Miscavige had physically assaulted his employees. (The church — through Davis — vehemently denied the allegation.) And here he’s saying that Tom Cruise, aping his friend Miscavige, did the same to Davis. Ouch.
Rinder then wonders why the couple is staying silent now that they’ve left the Sea Org. He gives the Underground Bunker a tip of the hat for revealing that the couple now lives in Austin and Tommy has gone to work for a giant Los Angeles-based private equity real estate fund.
We asked Rinder about one sentence that was a little unclear — was he saying that Tommy and Jessica have taken a large sum from the church to keep their mouths shut? Yes, Rinder told us, he does believe that’s the case. But both Davis and Feshbach come from wealthy families (Tommy is famously the son of Scientology actress Anne Archer) and Rinder doesn’t believe it’s only money that keeps them quiet.
Can Rinder shame Davis into talking about what he knows? One can only hope.
Nightmare on the Freewinds: Scott and Karry Campbell
Karen de la Carriere has part two of her interview with Scott Campbell about his treatment aboard Scientology’s private cruise ship, the Freewinds
Posted by Tony Ortega on July 3, 2013 at 06:00
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