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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Mareka Brousseau compares growing up in Scientology to The Hunger Games

Mareka_BakusWe’ve talked to Mareka Brousseau numerous times for stories at the Village Voice and the Underground Bunker. And she was a key character in John Sweeney’s 2010 BBC special, The Secrets of Scientology. And now Jeffrey Augustine has given us a treat and interviewed Mareka at length for the Surviving Scientology podcast.

It’s really eye-opening to hear about Scientology’s attitudes toward children from someone who actually grew up in the church. Mareka’s account is bleak. She talks to Jeff about growing up with Sea Org parents who are too busy ‘clearing the planet’ to have much to do with their kids.

Continue reading Mareka Brousseau compares growing up in Scientology to The Hunger Games

Scientology’s newest testimonials video is everything you want it to be

GATIIVidSubscribers recently received the new edition of International Scientology News, and it came with a DVD! On that DVD was another great video mashup of hyperactive Scientology testimonials, and it’s one of the best we’ve seen yet.

The last time we posted a testimonial vid, it got ripped off by Buzzfeed without any credit. Let’s see how long it takes them to steal this one!

Continue reading Scientology’s newest testimonials video is everything you want it to be

Sunday Funnies: More Scientology fliers than you can shake a stick at

ScotsThumbOn Sundays, we like to share with you the best of the Scientology mailers and fliers that get forwarded to us by our great tipsters. We call it Sunday Funnies, and once again we have a large collection of items which show Scientology doing its best to get its waning membership to come on down for a fleecing.

These themed parties and rah-rah events that put members under intense pressure to donate large amounts for new, unneeded buildings, have become pretty familiar to us as we’ve watched them over the last couple of years.

Continue reading Sunday Funnies: More Scientology fliers than you can shake a stick at

Video proof that Scientology makes you a stellar communicator

KevinSmithThere’s nothing quite like a Scientology testimonial, especially when it’s delivered by an organic date farmer from the banks of the Jordan river explaining how he’s going OT!

We have yet another Scientology internal video that’s been leaked to us by our great tipsters, as well as a couple of other short films the church might not be thrilled that you’re getting a chance to see. In this first one, we learn that Kevin, at Saint Hill, no longer feels the need to restrain himself. Can you tell?

Continue reading Video proof that Scientology makes you a stellar communicator

Kirstie Alley ‘disconnects’ from not one but two men over their friendship with Leah Remini

Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Kirstie Alley, in happier times

Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Kirstie Alley, in happier times

Kirstie Alley has been in the news again this week. Her TV Land series Kirstie was cancelled after one season, but the really hard shock came from her former Dancing With The Stars dance partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who revealed on the Bravo network that the two aren’t speaking anymore.

Chmerkovskiy implied that Kirstie had ended their friendship because of his association with Leah Remini, who left Scientology last year and has been pretty public about it.

Continue reading Kirstie Alley ‘disconnects’ from not one but two men over their friendship with Leah Remini

Jon Atack: Did L. Ron Hubbard want to be considered a god?

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.

Jon, we told you we’d be interested in your thoughts about a recent item by former Scientology executive Marty Rathbun. At his blog, Rathbun pointed out that there are multiple accounts of the life of Jesus, not only within the books of the New Testament but also in alternative texts that were edited out of the Bible. But Scientology, he points out, doesn’t allow alternative views. Its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, went to great lengths to make sure that only his take on things was considered “source” and couldn’t be altered.

Continue reading Jon Atack: Did L. Ron Hubbard want to be considered a god?

Arlene Cordova needs your help: Where is Scientology keeping her daughter Barbara?

BarbaraRobertOliverIn January, we told you about Barbara Cordova Oliver, 56, a longtime Scientologist who had vanished after having a mental breakdown at her 80-year-old mother Arlene’s house in the Los Angeles area last December.

Barbara had been a fixture at Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Center, where she ran something called Artists for a Better World. But after two failed moves to Clearwater, Florida with her Scientologist husband Robert Oliver, a distraught Barbara found herself at Arlene’s house and obviously needed medical attention. (Arlene has never been involved in Scientology.)

Continue reading Arlene Cordova needs your help: Where is Scientology keeping her daughter Barbara?

VIDEO: Scientology gets a grilling at Chautauqua

Sylvia_Stanard3When we heard that one of Scientology’s mouthpieces would be speaking at this year’s Chautauqua, we assumed it would be a non-event. It’s been a long time since Chautauqua had much of an effect on popular culture or made the news. And we figured the religious liberals at the yearly conference were just trying to be inclusive by inviting Sylvia Stanard of Scientology’s DC national office.

Well, we were right about one thing: Sylvia’s speech was about as interesting as watching paint dry. But if you can get through it, the really good part comes in the question and answer period afterward.

Continue reading VIDEO: Scientology gets a grilling at Chautauqua

Hana Whitfield: What it’s like to be stalked by Scientology

Hana_WhitfieldMark Bunker has shared with us another excerpt from the video interviews he’s been collecting for his upcoming documentary, Knowledge Report.

In this clip, he interviews Hana Eltringham Whitfield about what it’s like to be the target of “Fair Game” — Scientology’s notorious retaliation efforts coordinated by its Office of Special Affairs (OSA), which often include intrusive surveillance by private investigators.

Continue reading Hana Whitfield: What it’s like to be stalked by Scientology

Scientology’s fight with Ryan Hamilton delivers dox: The Eric Tenorio affidavit and more

Eric Tenorio

Eric Tenorio

With lawsuits and criminal investigations multiplying across the country, Scientology’s legal corps is busier than ever. We’re waiting to hear about possible grand jury indictments for insurance fraud at Scientology’s drug rehab facility in Oklahoma. Also in that state, we’re watching a massive lawsuit that accuses the church of a conspiracy to dupe the public about its counseling credentials and has 82 defendants, including Scientology’s leader, David Miscavige. A harassment lawsuit in Texas, a forced-abortion suit in Los Angeles, and a federal fraud lawsuit in Tampa have each produced stunning evidence and dramatic days in court.

Continue reading Scientology’s fight with Ryan Hamilton delivers dox: The Eric Tenorio affidavit and more