Surprise! If you’re looking for our Monday reveal, we sprang it early, on Saturday afternoon. Our big secret was the title and subject of our forthcoming book, ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely,’ about the life of Paulette Cooper, which London-based Silvertail Books is publishing in May.
We decided to keep that announcement up the rest of the weekend, so today we’re going to post our delayed Sunday Funnies — they’re our Monday Funnies!
And we’re going to start off with more evidence which convinces us that Scientology is taking very seriously the threats it is facing in 2015. We know that the organization has been dealing with dwindling membership for years, key defections by important officials, a tenacious “indie” movement that tries to entice other members to leave, and the growing legal problems of Narconon.
But an Alex Gibney documentary that is premiering at Sundance this month and then airing on HBO on March 16 is another matter entirely. So how is Scientology leader David Miscavige responding? More and more, we’re convinced that he thinks he can make a difference with an all out media blitz.
If you missed it, on Friday we posted an image of the full-page ad Scientology placed in the USA Today on Thursday. Here’s another look…
Former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder reminded us that Scientology also turned to full-page ads in USA Today to counter the disastrous publicity of TIME magazine’s 1991 cover story, “Scientology: The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power.”
“I would say it is a pretty clear indicator how worried they are about HBO,” Rinder said.
Meanwhile, the newest Scientology television ad is showing up at prominent slots on the networks and will probably get an airing at some point during the Super Bowl. And Miscavige has been making noise for more than a year now that he is going to turn the old KCET studios in Los Angeles into a major new source of Scientology programming.
Rinder also posted a notice by Scientologist L.D. Sledge who claimed that Freedom magazine, Scientology’s ironically named propaganda magazine, is hiring positions in order to open a full newsroom in Los Angeles. (We got the feeling that Freedom, which barely managed an issue each year, was put together by an editor or two and a few freelancers.) That seems like a significant move if it’s true, and we can’t help thinking it’s related to the HBO film as well as the BBC’s movie project, featuring Louis Theroux.
But here’s a problem that Scientology faces if it really wants to fight bad publicity with good publicity: It has not had a spokesperson who can go on camera for almost five years now. Instead, Miscavige is pushing out Scientology’s celebrities for more coverage now, and also finding other ways to get the word out about the good works the group claims to do.
Here’s just the latest example, some happy talk on BBC London radio in an interview (if you want to call it that) with Louisa Hodkin and Ale Calcioli, the couple that married last year after they sued England over its antiquated marriage laws and won.
If you have a hard time enduring softball interviews by presenters who don’t seem to know the first thing about what controversies Scientology is involved in, you might have a tough time getting through this happy few minutes on the Inspirit program with Jumoke Fashola. But if you can stomach it, it’s the latest example of the charm offensive Scientology is increasingly engaging in as it faces what should be an even bigger avalanche of bad press this year…
We especially like the cute way Alessandro dodged the silent birth question. Was it too difficult to explain fetal engrams, Ale?
Make sure, if you aren’t really familiar with their story, that you check out our backgrounder we wrote for the British press that this Ms. Fashola apparently missed. Hey, BBC, aren’t you supposed to be the serious news organization over there?
Moving on to some of the fun things our tipsters sent us this week. Hey, why’d they leave Annalisa’s last name off of Melbourne’s flier? It is, in fact, Rinder, and Mike tells us she’s married to one of his nephews, but he’s never met her.
This has got Fearless Leader’s fingerprints all over it…
Mike Rinder posted a flier from Inglewood that almost identical to this one from the Orange County org. Isn’t it funny that everyone’s graphs look just alike?
Spencer got detoxed in San Francisco!
Rocket up the Bridge so you can get to the such exciting high-level stuff like the Purif and Objectives!
Ooh, fundraising for the Valley Ideal Org finished in time for Hubbard’s birthday on March 13? Does Nancy know about this?
Help us out, former Oatees — who’s Clive Rabey and why would we be excited he’s coming to town?
Hey, Sharon just wrote a big check, and does she look happy!
Getting back to this weekend’s big excitement, we want to thank our great commenters for the party you all had on the website. And we hope you’ll continue to help us build excitement for our book. We have some more news coming soon about it, and we’re going to be including more details in a newsletter for our subscribers.
We also want to thank Chicago Fire actor Christian Stolte for the humbling statement he made at his Facebook page yesterday. We thought you might like to see it…
Thanks again to Christian and all of our tipsters!
Karen and Jeff: David Miscavige and his fear of depositions
Karen de la Carriere and Jeffrey Augustine once again take us into the very funny world of Scientology…
Bonus photos from our tipsters
Ah, here’s an Instagram photo from inside the bridge that leads from the Fort Harrison Hotel to Scientology’s Super Power building! It was taken by actress Veronica Milagros, a longtime Scientologist.
The London org wants you to do your Purif again!
Hey, the New York chapter of Foundation for a Drug-Free World (featuring the glamorous Meghan Fialkoff) is looking for corporate sponsors to foot the bill for their annual awards in June! Who’s got a checkbook handy!
Scientologists are using social media more than ever. Drop us a line if you spot them posting images to Instagram or Facebook!
13 days until Alex Gibney’s film Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief opens at the Sundance Film Festival at 2:30 pm on Sunday, January 25 in Park City, Utah
Posted by Tony Ortega on January 12, 2015 at 07:00
E-mail your tips and story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.
Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts