Tony Ortega is executive editor of The Raw Story and is formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He's written about Scientology since 1995, and has a forthcoming book about the subject. 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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What Howard Stern should have asked Kirstie Alley about Scientology

Back in the day, still infested with space cooties.

Back in the day, still infested with space cooties.

When did Howard Stern become such a doormat?

Yesterday, once again, he had actress Kirstie Alley on his show, and once again he let her off easy regarding her involvement in Scientology and her rivalry with Leah Remini.

The last time Alley was on, she called Remini a “bigot” after Remini had left Scientology and then made public that her former friends in the organization had dropped her like a hot potato — a result of Scientology’s “disconnection” policy.

Continue reading What Howard Stern should have asked Kirstie Alley about Scientology

Monday Funnies: More evidence that Scientology is gearing up for a really tough 2015

UnbreakableCoverSurprise! 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.

Continue reading Monday Funnies: More evidence that Scientology is gearing up for a really tough 2015

COMING IN MAY: A book about Scientology’s most infamous campaign of terror

UnbreakableCover

 
London-based Silvertail Books is to publish The Unbreakable Miss Lovely by Tony Ortega, the story of the life of author Paulette Cooper, the most famous victim of the Church of Scientology’s notorious and ruthless ‘Fair Game’ retaliation schemes.

Continue reading COMING IN MAY: A book about Scientology’s most infamous campaign of terror

Jon Atack: Scientology’s ‘training routines’ and their relationship to meditation

Jon_AtackJon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and for more than a year on Saturdays he helped us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet. He was kind enough to send us a new post.

We’re encouraged, Jon, that you’ve been receiving messages about your pieces here in the Bunker. And this week, you wanted to respond to one question in particular, about meditation and Scientology’s odd ‘training routines.’ We’re curious about this too. Take it away, Jon.

Continue reading Jon Atack: Scientology’s ‘training routines’ and their relationship to meditation

Full Forrest Ackerman interview from 1997 ‘Secret Lives’ film released for first time

Forrest_Ackerman2Wow, this is a fun leak, which was brought to our attention by Jon Atack.

In 1997, Channel 4 in the UK aired an hour long documentary titled Secret Lives – L. Ron Hubbard. We’ve posted it here at the Underground Bunker in the past, and it’s long been considered one of the better documentaries about the organization and its founder. It contained interviews with key people, such as Hana Eltringham Whitfield, who captained one of Hubbard’s ships as Scientology was run from sea in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It also featured a brief interview with Forrest Ackerman, the famous science fiction promoter who was once Hubbard’s literary agent.

And now, the raw footage of Ackerman’s entire interview — most of which did not make the finished documentary — has been released. It’s a real treat!

Continue reading Full Forrest Ackerman interview from 1997 ‘Secret Lives’ film released for first time

HBO airing its Scientology documentary, ‘Going Clear’ on March 16

GoingClearCoverYour proprietor will be at the world premiere of Alex Gibney’s documentary on Scientology, Going Clear, at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, but you won’t have to wait very long to see the film for yourself. At a winter TV critics meeting, HBO revealed that it will be airing its documentary on the television network on Monday, March 16.

Gibney is maybe the best documentary filmmaker working today, and we know that HBO is expecting a lot of this two-hour movie. Gibney’s production company is being pretty tight-lipped about the contents of the documentary, saying only that it is partly based on Lawrence Wright’s 2013 book of the same name and that it portrays eight former members of the church.

Continue reading HBO airing its Scientology documentary, ‘Going Clear’ on March 16

Jefferson Hawkins provides Scientology a way to happiness that actually works

Jefferson_Hawkins_ObeyJefferson Hawkins is a man who is very well known to our readership. We’re big fans of his terrific book about his experiences as a Scientologist, Counterfeit Dreams. We learn in that book how Jeff was Scientology’s top marketing expert, and was responsible for the famous “volcano” television commercials of the 1980s that helped the organization reach its greatest extent.

Hawkins is also known for another book, Leaving Scientology, which has proved to be a valuable asset for people trying to adjust from life in Scientology (especially in its controlling “Sea Org”) to the modern world.

Continue reading Jefferson Hawkins provides Scientology a way to happiness that actually works

The new Scientology ad running on TV — and maybe for the Super Bowl

SciAd15aWe’ve been getting reports from readers that Scientology has been running a television ad in prominent places in the last week or so. The ad appeared before one of the NFL playoff games this weekend, and we heard that it also ran yesterday during a showing of The View and the Ellen Degeneres Show.

That’s consistent with the way the church has done things over the last few years, as it has started out each new year with multiple showings of a new ad leading up to the Super Bowl.

Continue reading The new Scientology ad running on TV — and maybe for the Super Bowl

Ryan Hamilton makes it 26 lawsuits against Scientology’s drug rehab scheme

Herb_AdderlyRyan Hamilton has filed yet another federal fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon. This makes 26 lawsuits he’s filed just since last February, and none of them has been dismissed (although a number of them have been settled or are in mediation).

Once again, Hamilton has filed a lawsuit on behalf of someone who paid for drug counseling at the Narconon Fresh Start facility in Caliente, Nevada, known as Rainbow Canyon Retreat.

Continue reading Ryan Hamilton makes it 26 lawsuits against Scientology’s drug rehab scheme

Former spokesman Mike Rinder describes Scientology’s dismal options in 2015

Mike_Rinder3Over the past year and a half, former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder has made himself into the best expert on the current health of the organization. At his great blog, Mike leaks internal data (some of it very arcane and inside) in order to document what many of us have been saying for several years — Scientology is dying, and fast.

With a new year starting, Jeffrey Augustine asked Rinder to sit down for another Surviving Scientology podcast, which we’re premiering here.

Continue reading Former spokesman Mike Rinder describes Scientology’s dismal options in 2015