In May, we broke the startling news that former Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis had started a new job: He’s working for Australian billionaire James Packer, who at one time was Scientology’s richest customer. According to his LinkedIn profile, Tommy started his new job in February as “general manager North America” for Packer’s investment firm, Consolidated Press Holdings. That position comes with a role helping to run Packer’s partnership with filmmaker Brett Ratner in their movie-funding business, RatPac Entertainment. After our story came out, we heard that Ratner was surprised to learn that Davis may still have some connection to Scientology. But new photos suggest that things have been smoothed over, and Davis is fitting in as a mover and shaker in Hollywood.
Researcher Garry Scarff spotted a photo of Tommy and his wife Jessica Feshbach taken Wednesday at Ratner’s home, and that sent us looking for more. Getty Images photographer Lester Cohen had a large collection of them posted that he took Wednesday night, and we’ve cropped and embedded a few images for you in the name of Fair Use.
Tommy Davis is still a fan favorite here at the Underground Bunker. He’s the handsome son of Academy Award-nominated actress and Scientologist Anne Archer, but he gave up his start at Columbia University to become a hard core “Sea Org” member and then spent the mid-2000s running errands for Tom Cruise and the rich Australian who Cruise had brought into the fold, Packer. All three of them were tight enough that tabloid photos of them emerged on Packer’s yacht showing Tommy (with his Sea Org tattoo) and Cruise with his new girlfriend, Katie Holmes.
According to Steve Cannane’s amazing upcoming book about Scientology and Australia, Fair Game, Packer left the church in the middle of a course in 2006. Davis, meanwhile, lost his job as Scientology’s mouthpiece after a devastating profile of Paul Haggis by Lawrence Wright was published in The New Yorker in February 2011. Davis then moved to Austin with Feshbach, who not only was also a Sea Org member but had at one time been an aggressive handler for Katie Holmes.
Banished from the Sea Org, Tommy and Jessica settled into their new life. Jessica took out a realtor’s license and went to work for a local firm, while Tommy became majordomo to the wealthy Thomas Barrack Jr. at his real estate private equity firm headquartered in Santa Monica, Colony Capital. (Tommy’s father, the late William Davis, was a wealthy real estate investor.) Tommy and Jessica had their first child, a daughter, in October 2013. Tommy, in a deposition he gave in January 2014, claimed that he was just “on leave” from the Sea Org and was still a member of the Church of Scientology.
More recently, we got the big update. In 2014, Tommy and Jessica moved back to Los Angeles, they’ve now had a second daughter, and Davis dropped his Colony Capital job to go to work for Packer in February. Their new life appears to be agreeing with them; the good-looking couple were captured Wednesday night by Cohen at the Ratner shindig.
Adding to the intrigue about Tommy’s new job funding movies on behalf of Packer and Packer’s partner, Ratner, was the news that Tommy had been introducing his new movie pals to a man named Michael Doven, even calling Doven his “best friend.”
“You are shitting me,” former Scientology figure Marc Headley said when we told him the news. He reminded us that Doven is a notorious Scientology spy who was used by church leader David Miscavige for years to keep tabs on Tom Cruise. Doven had been Cruise’s personal assistant, and is a minor figure in filmmaking today. (A recent project, for example, was a movie about golf hustling, 2015’s The Squeeze, that was produced by Scientologists Anne Archer and her husband Terry Jastrow — who wrote and directed the film –and featured Scientologist actor Jason Dohring. Variety panned it as a “heavy handed morality play.”)
We confirmed with our sources inside the church that Doven is very much still the gung-ho church member he always was. And Headley is convinced that the only way Tommy Davis is palling around with Doven, introducing him to his new friends in Hollywood, is that Davis is on a mission from David Miscavige to convince Packer to come back into the fold.
It’s wealthy donors that have been propping up Scientology as the organization loses members, and Miscavige needs all the billionaires he can get. The church’s richest current member is Silicon Valley investor Bob Duggan, who is worth about $3.2 billion and has given at least $70 million in donations to the church. Convincing Packer, who is worth $4.4 billion, to come back to Scientology would instantly make him the church’s richest member, and would be a major accomplishment for Davis — perhaps enough to get him back in the good graces of Miscavige.
But after our story in May came out, we heard rumblings that Ratner wasn’t happy, and that he didn’t want Scientology anywhere near RatPac Entertainment. Since then, however, things have apparently been smoothed over, judging by the photos taken Wednesday night at Ratner’s Benedict Canyon home, Hilhaven Lodge.
The occasion was a celebration of an upcoming RatPac-funded television series, In Harm’s Way, that Deadline.com described this way:
Brett Ratner and James Packer’s RatPac Entertainment last night announced In Harm’s Way, a scripted multi-platform project inspired by the United Nations’ work around the world. Created by emerging British filmmaker David Raymond, the event-driven anthology mini-series will dramatize true stories of UN staff who risk their lives working to ensure that the organization fulfills its mandate. Each season will focus on a specific crisis in a different country with the first season, written by Raymond, to be set during the 1999 East Timor crisis. Future seasons will be directed by different sets of filmmakers and cover new topics.
At the event celebrating the new series, Ratner was photographed by Cohen with United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and, can you believe it, Tommy Davis!
Wouldn’t Miscavige be proud! In another shot by Cohen, Tommy and Jessica can be seen in the background relaxing with Ban Ki-moon and others…
Other figures who celebrated the new film at Ratner’s place were Larry King, Stevie Wonder, Dakota Johnson, Naomi Campbell, Sharon Stone, Courtney Love, and fashion designer Hedi Slimane. We also found it significant that the star of the party was Mariah Carey, who looked pretty fabulous. Here she is with Ban Ki-moon and Brett Ratner.
We say this is significant, because there has been some doubt expressed in the Australian press about Carey’s relationship with Packer. They had announced their engagement, but then in March they said that a wedding had been put on hold indefinitely. So is Mariah’s appearance to support a RatPac project some indication that things are still good between her and the Australian billionaire, who these days is actually based in Israel? We don’t know.
But it is interesting to see Tommy Davis in this exalted company. Do you think anyone bothered to ask him about his antics as Scientology’s mouthpiece?
Scientology on the syllabus
Posters over at WWP and here in the comments have pointed to a college course being offered about Scientology at Cal State University San Bernardino this fall that will use the church’s propaganda book, “What is Scientology?” as its coursebook.
We spoke to its instructor, Dr. Arlette Poland, and she explained that this was a brief, three-week course offered through Osher Lifelong Learning, not a regular CSUSB class, and that appearances to the contrary, she’s well aware of Scientology’s controversies and will be discussing them during the course. She was a pleasure to speak with, and we hope this will tamp down some of the speculation about the course.
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Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated 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 L.A. 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
Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield