Tony Ortega is executive editor of TheLipTV and is formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He's written about Scientology since 1995, and in May 2015 released a book about Scientology's harassment of Paulette Cooper titled 'The Unbreakable Miss Lovely.' He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world from an undisclosed location in an underground bunker he shares with four cats and one of them wrinkly Shar Pei dogs. Despite his super-secret security protections, you can still reach him pretty easily by sending him a message at tonyo94 AT gmail.com (Drop him a line if you'd like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.) [Header image courtesy John Rickard]
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Maryland county explains why (don’t call it Scientology) can take a hike

TroutRun

 
The county council in Frederick County, Maryland, is fighting the Church of Scientology in court to keep the church from putting one of its quack drug rehab centers in a former fish camp known as Trout Run.

Readers know we’ve been following this dispute for some time, and that it’s a bit technical. But it’s another great example of how Scientology tries to run roughshod over local government officials and local courts, and so we’ve been keeping an eye on the case, step by step. And now, we think there’s an interesting new wrinkle you’d want to hear about.

Continue reading Maryland county explains why (don’t call it Scientology) can take a hike

Our money maverick dives into Scientology’s latest financial house of horrors

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This week, documents became available that had been submitted by Narconon Holland, the Scientology drug rehab center in the Netherlands. At a quick glance, they indicated that the place was in serious trouble. And now, Underground Bunker regular “John P.” — who enjoys telling us about his luxurious life in high finance — has broken down those documents in more detail, as only he can. For our newer readers, you will sense that John P. is having fun with his reports about himself, but when he dives into a financial report like this, he’s all business. We hope you enjoy his analysis…

 
School’s out, and at Global Capitalism HQ, that means one thing: lots of cheap, talented and well-meaning but inept interns to burden with menial tasks. I’m not one of those cruel, sadistic traders who sends an intern out to stand in the hot sun for hours to be first in line at Shake Shack to put in their lunch orders. Instead, I assign Harvard and Yale B-students intellectually tedious research that most people wouldn’t assign to high school kids. At least, people wouldn’t assign this stuff to any high school students they actually liked.

Continue reading Our money maverick dives into Scientology’s latest financial house of horrors

Wacky scenes from Scientology’s ‘Battlefield Earth’ launch on Hollywood Boulevard

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[Phil Jones, right, is told what a failure he is by Scientologists at yesterday’s event]

Hit by another tsunami of bad press, this time over the May publication of Ron Miscavige’s bestselling book Ruthless, Ron’s son, Scientology leader David Miscavige, is hitting back with his own grab for media attention — by bringing out a 34-year-old science fiction novel, L. Ron Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth.

Continue reading Wacky scenes from Scientology’s ‘Battlefield Earth’ launch on Hollywood Boulevard

Scientology claims L. Ron Hubbard chose David Miscavige to succeed him, proving he didn’t

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[Scientology attorney Eric Lieberman]

Contributor Jeffrey Augustine has taken another close look at Scientology’s over-the-top attacks on Ron Miscavige for this piece today. Once again, he’s found some really interesting stuff!

The website that smears Ron Miscavige — presumably hosted by the Church of Scientology to distract from Ron’s book, Ruthless — is a gift that just keeps on giving. Previously, we pointed out that in an attempt to defend Scientology leader David Miscavige against allegations in the book, the website includes statements by church officials about David that directly contradict what he swore to the IRS when it gave Scientology tax exempt status in 1993.

Continue reading Scientology claims L. Ron Hubbard chose David Miscavige to succeed him, proving he didn’t

Karla Zamudio on Scientology, and capturing Marc and Claire Headley in the short film ‘Escape’

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[Alexandra Bayless and Karla Zamudio in ‘Escape’]

On Saturday, Karla Zamudio and Rachael Meyers screened their 15-minute student film, Escape, for a private audience in Los Angeles that included Spanky Taylor, who had been featured in Alex Gibney’s documentary about Scientology, Going Clear.

Escape is also about Scientology, specifically the story of how Marc and Claire Headley managed to get away from the church’s secretive International Base in 2005, a story that Marc told in his thrilling 2009 book Blown for Good.

Continue reading Karla Zamudio on Scientology, and capturing Marc and Claire Headley in the short film ‘Escape’

Scientology’s ‘Battlefield Earth’ campaign, featuring Frank Frazetta and a crashed saucer

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It’s time again for Rod Keller’s Scientology Social Media Review. He’s made a specialty of hunting down the odd and wonderful things Scientologists post to the ‘net. He’s a chronicler who piece by piece builds a highly detailed assessment of what Scientology is doing around the world, and this is what he found for us this week…

 
Scientology is re-releasing L. Ron Hubbard’s 1982 novel Battlefield Earth this week. Sea Org members John Goodwin (dressed as Terl) and Emily Jones from Scientology’s Galaxy Press visited The Red Booth, a YouTube show with Scientologist host Kimberly Quigley. (Emily is the daughter of Phil and Willie Jones, who are known for the “Call Me” billboards.)

Continue reading Scientology’s ‘Battlefield Earth’ campaign, featuring Frank Frazetta and a crashed saucer

BILLBOARD 2.0 — Phil and Willie Jones set their sights on Scientology’s mecca in Florida

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Fresh off of their media conquest in Los Angeles, former Scientologists Phil and Willie Jones have a new target for their bright idea to highlight Scientology’s toxic “disconnection” policy with a prominent billboard near a major church center.

Continue reading BILLBOARD 2.0 — Phil and Willie Jones set their sights on Scientology’s mecca in Florida

Tonight, Cathy Schenkelberg takes her Scientology cans to the Hollywood Fringe

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Former Scientologist Cathy Schenkelberg is taking a big step tonight, and so we called her yesterday to find out how she’s feeling as her one-woman show, “Squeeze My Cans” begins a run at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

Continue reading Tonight, Cathy Schenkelberg takes her Scientology cans to the Hollywood Fringe

There’s nothing quite like when Scientology cancels your superhuman powers with a ‘declare’

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[Dani and Tami Lemberger]

July 2012 was one of the craziest months in our 20-year history of watching and writing about the Church of Scientology. The media was in a frenzy because, at the end of June, Katie Holmes had amputated her ties to Tom Cruise in a highly calculated surgical strike. But so much else happened then. We broke the news that month that Ron Miscavige had escaped from his son’s organization. (He had actually left in March, but it had taken a few months for the news to get to us, and now his escape is the subject of Ron’s bestselling book, Ruthless.) We also reacted to the tragic death at 27 of Alexander Jentzsch, son to Karen de la Carriere, who had been cut out of her son’s life on orders from the church.

Continue reading There’s nothing quite like when Scientology cancels your superhuman powers with a ‘declare’

More signs of the apocalypse for the Church of Scientology’s bitter-enders

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On Monday we discussed Chick Corea and how such a jazz great seems destined to be among the very last to give up his superhuman dreams under the influence of L. Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology.

But these days, the signs of desperation among the bitter-enders hanging on as Scientology crumbles are coming fast. We wanted to point out three items that caught our eye yesterday, thanks to our various correspondents around the country.

Continue reading More signs of the apocalypse for the Church of Scientology’s bitter-enders