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ABC finally takes on Scientology…with General Hospital

Heather_WebberWe hear that soon, NBC’s Rock Center is going to do yet another hard-hitting episode about Scientology and its drug rehab network, Narconon.

That will be four big programs by the NBC show in the last year: One on ex-church executives Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder, an initial show about deaths at the Narconon facility in Oklahoma, the Paul Haggis/Lawrence Wright special, and now another look at Narconon’s woes. In the meantime, Disney-owned ABC can’t seem to get out of the gate. As we’ve pointed out before, ABC’s 20/20 and Nightline have recorded hours and hours of footage for shows that just end up getting spiked by the network’s lily-livered attorneys. (From CBS, all we hear are crickets.)

But now ABC’s news division is really going to have a hard time living down the shame, as the network finally has taken a swing at Scientology and its leader David Miscavige — through its long-running soap opera, General Hospital.

Luckily, one of our many tipsters is a soaps fan who spotted something in an episode of GH that aired last week, and we found the key scene in this excerpt which was online. A transcript follows…

Bailiff: All rise. The Honorable Judge Shepherd presiding.


Judge: Be seated. Mr. Manning, you’ve agreed to a bench trial as opposed to taking your chances with a jury of your peers, which means that I alone will be deciding your fate. Do you understand?

Manning: Yes, your honor, I understand.

Judge: Call your first witness.

Prosecutor: The prosecution calls Heather Webber…Miss Webber currently resides in maximum security at the MISCAVIGE HOSPITAL FOR THE CRIMINALLY INSANE.

Judge: And yet you deem her to be a credible witness.

Prosecutor: I think you’ll soon agree. She just may know the defendant better than anyone.

Judge: Take the stand, please.

Defense attorney: You told me Heather Webber promised to take the rap for you.

Manning: She did.

Defense attorney: Then what the hell’s she doing here?

Manning: Did Heather make a deal? Is she willing to ruin my life in exchange for a lighter sentence? Is that what’s going on?

Defense attorney: Have you ever been to MISCAVIGE, Todd?

Manning: No, not yet.

Defense attorney: It makes Ferncliff look like a five-star resort.


Manning: There you have it, she made a deal.

Judge: Thank you, bailiff. We can proceed. Your witness…



How in the HELL did that get past ABC’s tightass attorneys?

Just to make sure we weren’t assigning too much portent to something said in a soap opera, we immediately called up our favorite soap star, ex-Scientologist Michael Fairman (who also featured in Friday’s moving video, “The Losing Game”).

Michael Fairman, veteran of The Young and the Restless

Michael Fairman, veteran of The Young and the Restless

When we described the scene and read the dialogue to him, Fairman busted out in a belly laugh.

Yes, he said, there’s no question in his mind that the writers of General Hospital knew exactly what they were doing.

“I have never heard the name Miscavige other than David Miscavige. And especially when they reference a hospital for the criminally insane — that’s priceless! I mean every Scientologist in and out of the church is going to get that. His name has been in the public for so long, with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes and the New Yorker and Vanity Fair and your blog. Everyone who has heard the name is going to get this,” Fairman says.

Scientologists in and out of the church as well as dedicated Scientology watchers will immediately get the irony in the association: the church hates psychiatry more than anything else in the galaxy. And Miscavige’s name has been put on not just any psychiatric hospital, but one that makes the Fernhill mental health facility (which we’ll have to assume is pretty awful) seem a palace by comparison.


What little we know about soap operas tells us that story lines evolve glacially — it will be interesting to see if the Miscavige Hospital for the Criminally Insane becomes a recurring location in the show, and if the writing team there plants any other Easter Eggs for Scientology Watchers. Soap fans, please monitor the situation for us!

We see a “Property of the Miscavige Hospital for the Criminally Insane” T-shirt in our future.


SPECIAL UPDATE FOR GENERAL HOSPITAL WRITERS: We’d love it if you could work the following words or phrases into upcoming shows…

“I took out all the semicolons.”
“I’m angry, real angry.”
“I knew every inch of him.”
“She’s just a bitter defrocked apostate.”
“He used to destroy people’s lives. Now he’s a zen master.”
“OT 8 is grrrrrreat!”


“I get up early in the morning so bastards like you can touch me.”



On Sundays, we love showing you the wacky church e-mails and fliers that were sent to us during the week. A few days ago, a tipster forwarded to us a couple of messages about the upcoming L. Ron Hubbard Birthday Event being held on March 23 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. We’ve cut them down just a little for brevity…

Hi Folks,

About a year ago I sent out a survey to over 150 individuals, mostly “seniors,” concerning their likes and dislikes about events. It took me a long time to tabulate them all, but a couple weeks ago I finally met with Tashania Faust, the Event Director WUS [West U.S.] and gave her all the surveys and tabulations and

VOLUME was THE number one comment from the vast majority of respondents; the comfort level of the seats was another issue.

Tashania had already gotten to work on some of our issues before seeing the surveys, as you will see from her email below.

For the upcoming LRH Birthday event at the Shrine, please tell the ushers, who should be well-informed about this, that you would like to sit in the “lower volume” room on the second floor, which is accessible by elevator. I believe there will also be someone there who can lower the volume if it is still too high. We will also have comfortable chairs, and bathrooms are not far away on the same floor….

I think Tashania has put a lot of time and attention in on this, so let’s let her know how it paid off, okay?? 🙂

All the best,
Carolyn Holt

And here’s the second message, which Holt was referring to…

Hi Carolyn!

I am writing to you in reply to the fantastic surveys recently done of the New Era Seniors network regarding the International Management Events. Thank you VERY much for doing this as the responses were enlightening and useful.

I was happy to see that most people do attend the Int Management Events; it’s such an important part of any Scientologist’s hat [role]. But I also noted that there are probably ways we can better service you.

Firstly, I wanted to let you know what’s been done in the recent couple of years to handle the volume issue:

1. As of November 2012, the volume of the music in the video presentations has been brought down by Gold. In other words, you can now better hear the person speaking rather than it being overpowered by the music in the background.

2. We’ve decreased the volume overall in the auditorium a bit. There is a “decibel level” which is equal to a rock concert. While this was being used in previous years, it has been lowered by about 15 decibels since then.

3. We’ve also set up a “lower volume showing” at the Shrine which is just outside the auditorium on the 2nd floor (accessible by elevator). I have a technician on-site who’s sole purpose is to ensure the volume is low enough for all watching (mothers with babies, and those with sensitive ears).

You should also know that the length of the events has recently been shorter. They used to be 3+ hours several years ago. In recent years they are now 2+ hours. And for Maiden Voyage Events (in July) they’re sometimes only 1+ hours! Int Management does an AMAZING job of condensing as much good news into such a short period for us using videos, etc.–COMMENDABLE!….

As you know, we’re celebrating LRH’s Birthday on Saturday, March 23rd. Of course we want everyone to attend. It’s our Founder’s Birthday and I’m sure everyone will agree that it is one of the most touching, theta events of the year because it features stories about LRH’s life….

Looking forward to hearing from you and everyone else!

Tashania Faust
Event Director
Church of Scientology
Western United States

There seemed to be a lot to analyze here, so we turned to a person who worked these kinds of events for Scientology for many years, Marc Headley. Here’s what he sent us after looking at these two e-mails…

I worked on the Events Team for years. I was heavily involved with the audio lines and in fact used to do quality control work on the audio of the broadcasts that were aired.

This volume thing at Scientology events came up time and time again.

This is ALL Dave Miscavige. He and only he insists that the volume be at high levels. I guarantee that if they have been lowering the volume, he was not asked. And now that this is out, it will go back up.

He lives to hear himself talk. We would spend hundreds of hours in meetings talking about why the audio was not perfect. In those meetings, Miscavige lectured us about the sound. One guy went to the RPF — the Sea Org’s prison detail — because there was a problem with podium sound at the Sports Area for the 1993 “War is Over” event.

The Oscars used to be letting out right as we were loading in for the L Ron Hubbard Birthday Event each year (before the Academy Awards moved to the Dolby Theater in the early 2000’s). The stage crew would regularly comment how the volume was markedly louder at our event than for the Oscars. One stage guy even said that they had concerts in there with lower volume than what Miscavige insisted on.

Since everyone at the Int Base knows that Dave insists on the audio level being insanely loud, no complaints, surveys or other “reports” about this ever make it to him.

The Event crew would hear the complaints all the time. Anytime anyone acted on these complaints, they were not long for this world.

If Dave is at the event, it is going to be loud.

In terms of music levels in videos — that’s more Miscavige. When I left in 2005 he was still having to approve every music score and event video mixdown. He likes it to be loud enough that the music and voice are fighting each other. If you can hear either too easily, then the music needs to be turned up.

What else did I take from these e-mails? That they are so desperate to fill the Shrine, they are trying to hold on to elderly members who won’t come because of the volume.

If they really had 10 million members, shouldn’t it be a lot easier to fill up the 6,300-seat Shrine?

Thanks for that, Marc.

We also have to point out that we sat through two event videos in 2012, and contrary to the report by “Tashania,” each of them was three full hours — and with Miscavige talking through almost that entire time with his peculiar ideas about grammar and diction.

We’re really starting to feel sorry for those oldsters who are going to get crammed into the joint next week. Take earplugs, gramps!



Pete_GriffithsJudging by all the youngsters staggering down the streets of New York yesterday, many folks got a head start on St. Patrick’s Day because it falls on a Sunday this year.

But we’ll stick to tradition and check in today with our man in Ireland, former Scientologist Pete Griffiths.

Last year, Pete told us that Scientology was having a dismal time on the Emerald Isle, as financial documents there proved. And this time, he tells us, the church is dragging its feet on turning over more info.

“Dublin mission is once again on the strike-off list for not submitting their accounts in time. It’s a regular occurrence. They are two years behind,” he says.

He also pointed that a man named Kevin Stevenson has filed a lawsuit against the church, alleging fraud and undue influence. Stevenson is suing for 100,000 euros, and we hope Pete will keep us up on the latest developments.



Silvio_BerlusconiWe keep an eye on what’s being said about Scientology on Twitter, and yesterday we noticed a whole stream of commentary coming out of Italy. We looked into it, and it turns out that former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi made the remark that got so much attention.

Now, we won’t pretend to know much about the current political situation in that country, but apparently there’s a rising new political party in Italy called the 5 Star Movement whose most visible member is a former stand-up comedian, Beppe Grillo. While the party has a reformist, libertarian platform, critics have called it undemocratic, a cult of personality with fascist leanings.

Yesterday, Berlusconi, after returning from a hospital stay for eye trouble, told reporters about the 5 Star Movement, “There’s a sect that reminds me of Scientology and that should not even be allowed,” according to a Google-translated news site. Berlusconi appeared to be criticizing the 5 Star Movement’s supposed problems with internal democracy. We don’t know enough about it to judge whether Berlusconi’s criticism is apt, but we found it interesting that when the former prime minister wanted to express just how little he thought of a political party, it was Scientology he chose to compare it to.


Just a couple of fliers for you this week…


Even if you knew that “Non-Existence” is a “condition” in Scientology, that wording is still awfully strange, isn’t it? And here’s one that should inspire you to sign a contract…



SMERSH Madness: Sowing the Seeds of World Domination!

As we announced on March 1, we’re joining bracket fever with a tournament like no other. It’s up to you to decide who should be named the new SMERSH, the traditional nemesis of Scientology. Cast your vote for who’s doing more to propel the church down its long slide into oblivion!

It’s time to start our second round — the Sweet Sixteen! Now things really start to get tough.


L. Ron Hubbard is the founder of the feast, the man who captivated readers in 1950 with his “science” that considered the human mind a malfunctioning mainframe computer gripped by demonic possession. He was also the cranky old paranoiac who, hacked off from the hardships of life at sea and tired of running and hiding from federal agents, instilled Scientology with such lovely ideas as brutal interrogations (“sec-checking”), dirty tricks retaliation (“fair game”), and splitting up families to punish defectors (“disconnection”). Still beloved by many who ardently believe he cracked the cosmic code, Hubbard’s unalterable legacy is still very much part of what is dragging Scientology into dangerous waters. (Previously: Hubbard beat out Steve Cannane in the first round by a single vote!)

Debbie Cook’s infamous New Year’s Eve e-mail started off 2012 with a temblor that is still shaking up the Church of Scientology. Nearly every person now leaving the church credits her lengthy indictment of Scientology leader David Miscavige with helping them see the light. (Previously: Debbie defeated John Sweeney in the first round.)

Go to our March 1 post for the latest tournament results.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 17, 2013 at 07:00


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