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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About that Tom Cruise Scientology ‘co-leader’ nonsense spreading in the media

TomCruiseLondonSome of you may have noticed that, in our comments the other day, we mentioned that we were looking forward to a new article coming out about Tom Cruise and Scientology, written by a reporter we know who had hit us up for some quotes.

We were really anticipating this story, because we knew from what the reporter told us that he was going to begin to set the record straight about a lot of really dumb tabloidy nonsense about Cruise and his kids Connor and Isabella supposedly breaking away from Scientology. Our reporter friend had good evidence that the opposite was true — the Cruise clan is, if anything, tighter than ever with their fellow Scientologists. And anyway, we love seeing tabloid nonsense getting its comeuppance.

Continue reading About that Tom Cruise Scientology ‘co-leader’ nonsense spreading in the media

Another Riffer-ific salvo from Scientology leader David Miscavige in our legal roundup

David_Miscavige_IAS30aWe have several legal updates for you today, and we’ll start with the always entertaining Jeffrey K. Riffer, attorney for Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige.

You’ll remember that the colorful Riffer, known for his over-the-top threat letters to Vanity Fair and CNN in which he comes off sounding exasperated that anyone would question the godlike ecclesiastical awesomeness of his client, had submitted a salvo of outrage aimed at the National Association of Forensic Counselors, which is suing Miscavige and 81 other defendants in a massive civil lawsuit regarding the misuse of the NAFC’s trademarks and logos.

Continue reading Another Riffer-ific salvo from Scientology leader David Miscavige in our legal roundup

Hey, Dr. Phil, get a clue about Scientology and stop stiff-arming Lori Hodgson

Lori with Jeremy and Jessica before they disconnected from her.

Lori with Jeremy and Jessica before they disconnected from her.

If you’re a longtime reader of the Underground Bunker, you know that for several years we’ve paid close attention to the story of Lori Hodgson, a California mom who has fought the Church of Scientology over access to her children.

Like many other longtime Scientologists in recent years, Lori grew disillusioned about the church. When she sought advice from former high-ranking church official Marty Rathbun in 2010 by visiting him in Texas, she was spotted by the church’s agents watching Rathbun’s home, and Lori was then formally “declared” a “suppressive person” — Scientology’s version of excommunication.

Continue reading Hey, Dr. Phil, get a clue about Scientology and stop stiff-arming Lori Hodgson

Scientology Sunday Funnies: An oily and super powered edition of our weekly feature!

OilinessTableWe have a very special treat for you to kick off this week’s installment of Sunday Funnies.

It’s been a year now since Scientology’s Super Power Building (officially named the “Flag Building”) opened in Clearwater, Florida, with David Miscavige giving a very short speech to Tom Cruise and John Travolta and a couple of thousand other church members, and with Mike Rinder and Mike Bennitt watching from a helicopter overhead.

Continue reading Scientology Sunday Funnies: An oily and super powered edition of our weekly feature!

Jon Atack excavates the Scientology mind for L. Ron Hubbard’s most harmful implants

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.

One of the great surprises for us here in the Underground Bunker over the last couple of years has been our ongoing relationship with Jon Atack. He continually amazes us with his deep delves into the background, motivations, and obfuscations of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. And now, Jon has outdone himself with an exploration of the Scientology mind that leaves us in awe. Prepare to be probed.

Continue reading Jon Atack excavates the Scientology mind for L. Ron Hubbard’s most harmful implants

The richest Scientologists in the world get a new trophy for donating another pile of cash!

DugganInvictus2

 
The new issue of Impact magazine is out, and the publication — from the international Association of Scientologists — includes this great photograph of Bob and Trish Duggan with their newest piece of hardware from Scientology leader David Miscavige, given to them at the October IAS gala in England. They’ve reached yet another new donation status (which had to be invented for them) — Patron Invictus! And look at that trophy shine!

Continue reading The richest Scientologists in the world get a new trophy for donating another pile of cash!

An iconic Scientology building in Hollywood is in pre-foreclosure, and what that portends

Christie2Thanks to Angry Gay Pope for this latest tip involving a building that goes by several different names.

The building’s location, 6724 Hollywood Boulevard at McCadden Place, is a block east of the ‘Hollywood & Highland’ complex and it’s long been a Scientology facility, most recognizable for the vertical “Scientology” signs along its corners. Originally, the 1922 eight-story structure was known as the Christie Hotel. In 1945 it changed hands and was named the Drake Hotel and then later became the Hollywood Inn. Scientologists call it “the test center,” or “Hollywood Test Center,” and one of its most notable functions was to host the annual Winter Wonderland display in its parking lot each Fall to (sort of) celebrate Christmas.

Continue reading An iconic Scientology building in Hollywood is in pre-foreclosure, and what that portends

Scientology asks court in Monique Rathbun’s case to take note of Vance Woodward’s loss

Karen de la Carriere and Jeff Augustine recently met with Vance Woodward (center)

Karen de la Carriere and Jeff Augustine recently met with Vance Woodward (center)

We’re still waiting for a big decision from the Texas Third Court of Appeals regarding Monique Rathbun’s harassment lawsuit against the Church of Scientology. You may remember that Scientology appealed Comal County Judge Dib Waldrip’s denial of Scientology’s “anti-SLAPP” motion that would have pretty much crippled Monique’s lawsuit.

Continue reading Scientology asks court in Monique Rathbun’s case to take note of Vance Woodward’s loss

Scientology Armageddon: Now Sears — yes, Sears — is piling on the embattled church

SearsSci2We want to thank Jeffrey Augustine for bringing our attention to this gem. It’s an iron-on heat transfer — the kind of thing you use to customize a T-shirt — with a slogan that the Church of Scientology is not going to appreciate. But the best part? It’s on sale at the website of Sears. Yes, Sears!

Continue reading Scientology Armageddon: Now Sears — yes, Sears — is piling on the embattled church

HBO and BBC battling to get full-length films about Scientology out first

Alex Gibney and Louis Theroux -- who will be first?

Alex Gibney and Louis Theroux — who will be first?

The Hollywood Reporter spilled the beans this morning, so now we can say what we’ve known about for more than a year — that Alex Gibney, perhaps the best documentary filmmaker in the business, is finishing up a movie for HBO about Scientology, and he’s hoping to get it into the Sundance film festival in January.

Your proprietor sat down for a two-hour on-camera interview with Gibney earlier this year, and we’ll be interested to see if any of it makes the final cut.

Continue reading HBO and BBC battling to get full-length films about Scientology out first