Brandon Reisdorf got a surprise yesterday. He tells us that he heard from his probation officer, who had some questions about his recent appearance on Leah Remini’s A&E series, Scientology and the Aftermath.
You remember Brandon. He was the focus of episode 7, “Enemies of the Church.” In the episode, we learned that he chose to stick by his parents, who had been “declared suppressive persons” — deemed enemies of the church. But his brother Craig chose to stay in Scientology, and that meant he had to “disconnect” from Brandon and their parents. It devastated Brandon, who was very close to his brother and who was also dealing with undiagnosed mental health issues. (Scientology demonizes the mental health industry, and Brandon’s parents had never tried to get him standard care for what turned out to be a bipolar condition.)
In a manic episode, Brandon drove from San Diego to Los Angeles and threw a hammer through a window at a Scientology “org” there, filled with rage that his family had been torn apart. It was a simple act of vandalism, and no one was hurt. Scientology reacted, however, by pushing for Brandon to be charged with a hate crime for vandalism of a “place of worship,” which is a felony. Brandon was sentenced to probation, which runs through 2019.
He tells us that his original probation officer was well aware of his story, and had told him it would be all right for him to appear on Remini’s show. Brandon’s sentence did not come with a gag order, and even while he was serving probation for a felony, Brandon knew that he had First Amendment speech rights.
Since then, however, Brandon’s case was given to a new probation officer who was unaware of his story. And yesterday, Brandon says he heard from that officer, who told him that he shouldn’t be making any more public appearances.
He tells us he was pretty surprised to hear that, and asked what was going on. He says the probation officer had heard from an attorney with the Church of Scientology who complained about Brandon’s appearance on Leah’s show.
Brandon says his probation officer never told him which attorney had made that call, but previously it was church attorney Kendrick Moxon who had worked with prosecutors on his case.
Brandon says he explained his situation to the new probation officer. “I said that I have freedom of speech and I spoke the truth. I haven’t broken any laws, so where’s the problem?”
He says he also explained some background on the Church of Scientology.
“She quickly backtracked and said, ‘Just don’t break any laws.’ Well, I don’t plan on breaking any laws.”
He also confirmed with her that his sentence wouldn’t be affected by making an appearance on television. In March 2018, he says, he’ll be in court to see if the judge will shorten his sentence. And eventually, it will get downgraded to a misdemeanor — as long as he doesn’t violate the terms of his probation.
If the probation department does find that he’s in violation, one possible outcome would be jail time.
We sent a message to Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw, asking if the church was attempting to get Brandon put in jail for talking about Scientology on Leah Remini’s show. We’ll let you know if she gets back to us.
While Scientology continues to do what it can to portray Brandon Reisdorf as a dangerous criminal, other churches are known for doing the opposite. Here’s just a sample of stories from recent years…
Finding a Seinfeld Scientology Easter egg, 20+ years later
One of our readers happens to be a major fan of the Seinfeld sitcom, having seen every episode so many times, he managed to spot something that we’ve never seen pointed out before.
In “The Conversion,” an episode that first aired on December 16, 1993, George decides to become Latvian Orthodox for his girlfriend. Kramer, meanwhile, has a conversation with the priest about his effect on women, and the priest tells him that he has the “kavorka,” a special magnetism.
During that conversation, our tipster noticed that there was some kind of pamphlet on the priest’s desk. When he saw what was on it, he sent us a screenshot.
We grabbed the pamphlet, blew it up, and turned it over…
That’s definitely a Scientology publication, showing a quote about “OT” from LRH — L. Ron Hubbard. Can one of our readers nail down from what pamphlet or flier that’s taken from?
[UPDATE: Sunny Pereira tells us the message on the pamphlet is probably “Training is the positive assurance that you’ll make it to OT — LRH”]
Jerry Seinfeld at one time took some low-level Scientology courses but then ditched it when he was asked to get more serious about it. He apparently didn’t appreciate the badgering he must have gotten from the church, judging by another well known scene in an episode that takes place in a mall parking lot. You’ve probably seen it plenty of times, but if you haven’t, give it a look.
“Those Scientologists, they can be pretty sensitive,” Jerry says.
Now we’re wondering if Jerry left any other long-lost Scientology Easter eggs buried in the show!
Bonus items from our tipsters
Kerri Kasem shills yet again for the Scientology front Youth for Human Rights in a presentation for the Wisconsin chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys…
Doing anything Friday night?
Or how about Saturday night?
These are people (including our old friend Eduardo Galán, in the middle) who have paid actual money to learn public relations from the Church of Scientology while aboard its cruise ship the Freewinds.
HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25. Go here to start making your plans.
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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, Kindle, and audiobook versions. 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.
The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)
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