On Friday morning, we described our own encounter five years ago with Shelley Duvall and her sad mental state. In a phone call, she tried to convince us that Scientologists were trying to get into her Texas house to assassinate her. We suggested that she get some professional help, and we decided not to write a story about it. As we explained Friday, journalists get calls and messages like this all the time, if not always from former Hollywood figures.
Now, ‘Dr. Phil’ McGraw has put Duvall on his show, airing long segments of his interview with her talking bizarrely about her delusions. McGraw said he was doing it because he wanted to get her help. But after he got her to a Los Angeles clinic, Shelley refused to give her consent to receive care, and she would not take medication. She flew back home. McGraw said he had then arranged for her to get care locally, and her caregivers were trying “alternative” methods because Shelley still refused any meds. “We’ll keep you updated on her progress and hope — hope, hope, hope — that there’s a happy ending to this story,” he said.
Friday morning, we wrote that Dr. Phil was getting blowback for putting Shelley’s delusional talk on camera, and one of the people getting noticed for speaking up was Vivian Kubrick, daughter of the late director Stanley Kubrick, who had put Shelley through some pretty legendary rough treatment during the filming of 1980’s The Shining. We also have a history with Vivian: We reported that her family was shocked when we spotted Vivian in the video of an Alex Jones rally in Dallas three years ago — it had been more than a decade since they had heard anything about her. Vivian had joined Scientology around the year 1995, and she began to pull away from her father and the rest of the family as he was making his final film, Eyes Wide Shut. He died in 1999 a few months before the movie opened in theaters, and at his funeral Vivian showed up with a Scientology handler. She disconnected permanently from the family after that, not even showing up in 2009 at the funeral of her sister Anya, whom she had been very close to growing up.
After our brief story was posted Friday, we heard from our friend Los Angeles journalist Mark Ebner that Vivian had taken things a step further and started a GoFundMe campaign, asking to raise $100,000 from the public for Duvall’s care.
Over the weekend, that story was picked up by the entertainment press, but other than a couple of exceptions (Heavy, and horrorfreaknews.com), most of them made no mention of Vivian’s involvement in Scientology, which opposes psychiatry in all forms. Wasn’t it an important detail that the person raising money for Shelley’s care doesn’t believe in the kind of care that Shelley so obviously needs? We decided to check in with Ebner for his thoughts.
Mark Ebner: Vivian is blocking anyone who simply asks if the money could possibly go to legitimate mental health care.
The Bunker: We’ve noticed that she’s been erasing comments from the GoFundMe site that dare to ask her how she’s actually going to deliver the money.
(Ebner had pointed out that according to the GoFundMe page, Vivian was located in Clearwater, Florida, the site of Scientology’s spiritual mecca, the “Flag Land Base,” where wealthy Scientologists go to take high-level courses that can cost tens of thousands of dollars each.)
The Bunker: Last we knew, Vivian was living in Dallas, where she went to an Alex Jones rally. You have to wonder if she’s at Flag for services. Wish there was a way to find out.
(One of the odd things we learned when we asked around about Vivian with former top Scientology officials is that none of them knew anything about her. We had to explain who she was, and they said they really hadn’t heard anything about her while they were inside the church. This was one celebrity, in other words, that the church hadn’t really used as an ornament the way it had people like Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Kirstie Alley. Perhaps this campaign is Vivian’s big chance to “strike an effective blow against the enemy” — namely psychiatry, in the form of Dr. Phil.)
Ebner: What’s weird is that no one – from Vanity Fair, to Entertainment Weekly, to the Hollywood Reporter – is asking the obvious question about her involvement in Scientology. Instead, they’re promoting her GoFundMe page.
The Bunker: It is strange. Especially because Scientology is so against psychiatry
Ebner: It’s probably lazy reporting. Vivian could clear it up by specifying exactly what the money being raised is earmarked for. And how and to whom the money will be transferred.
The Bunker: You know Scientology is going to want to get access to Shelley.
Ebner: Right. And when they do, they’ll soak her for everything she has – including the GoFundMe money.
The Bunker: It will be Raul Lopez again.
Ebner: Raul Lopez, Lisa McPherson. Take your pick.
The Bunker: The Hollywood Reporter apparently got Vivian on the phone. But there’s no indication that they asked her the key question: Is Vivian willing to turn over the money to Shelley even if it’s going to be used for psychiatric care?
Ebner: I have asked that question through all available media. If Vivian, as a Scientologist, will turn the money over earmarked for mental health care. I was blocked and my questions were deleted. She needs to be transparent. $100,000 is a lot of loot.
The Bunker: It’s up to $22,000 so far.
Ebner: That’s an uptick from when I checked. It’s obviously resulting from entertainment media attention. And innocent fans.
The Bunker: You’re right, the big outfits should have been on this angle by now.
Ebner: It’s a good story.
The Bunker: What did you think of Dr. Phil’s show?
Ebner: Shelley was obviously terrified of the idea of returning to Los Angeles. A caring therapist would have tried to arrange for treatment in more comforting surroundings.
The Bunker: What Dr. Phil did was questionable. But a Scientologist raising money for Shelley’s psychiatric care is a bad joke.
Ebner: My opinion exactly. What bugs me is the Hollywood Reporter and the others completely blowing an opportunity for a real story here.
The Bunker: Thanks, Mark.
After raising more than $23,000 in just four days Vivian Kubrick announced that she had to shut down the fund entirely once she actually talked with Shelley Duvall’s mother…
MY APOLOGIES TO EVERYONE THAT DONATED but I just got off the phone with Shelley Duvall’s mother Bobbie, she explained that after her discussions with SAG-AFTRA and the fact Shelley is on government benefits, they can’t afford to accept any large donations. Understandably, they have to consider Shelly’s long term financial support. And a large amount of money, even if it was put in Trust, would effect Shelley’s Government benifits and the benifits that are available to her from SAG-AFTRA. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience, but if you made a donation, please contact GoFundMe to receive a refund of your generous and kind donation <3 REMEMBER! your loving emails and kind messages will still go to Shelley, which I'm sure, will make her very happy indeed! My LOVE to you good and kind folk! Vivian Kubrick <3 <3 <3
We asked Mark his thoughts on this new development.
Ebner: I can’t make sense out of donations being compromised by her SAG/AFTRA plan. I also think the donations stalled after we questioned Vivian’s motives, and called out the media.
The Bunker: It did seem to slow down, yes. So apparently she started up the fund without contacting Shelley or her family?
Ebner: Sure seems that way. Wonder how she’ll handle the refunds.
The Bunker: Hey suckers, you just gave your money to a Scientologist. And now you want a refund. Guess what happens to people who want their money back from Scientology?
Actually, we trust GoFundMe will honor the refunds requests. But if you donated and you’re having trouble getting your money back, please let us know.
Go here to start making your plans.
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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