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Mike Rinder: Is the Leah Remini Anonymous Smear Website Coming Soon?


UPDATE: See below — A possible smear site has just been registered!

Former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder makes a great point on his website this afternoon: Now that news we broke Monday of Leah Remini leaving the Church of Scientology has spread like wildfire thanks to this morning’s front-page New York Post rewrite, will the church follow its usual playbook and launch an anonymous attack website to smear the King of Queens actress?

What Rinder is referring to is Scientology’s predictable use of leering, salacious but anonymous websites that attempt to smear the reputation of former members who dare to speak out, or journalists who dare to ask impertinent questions. Previously, we wrote a lengthy story about one smear site in particular, which targeted former Scientology executive Marty Rathbun (pictured, at right).

Thanks to a flub by Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw, we showed that there was little question that the church was behind that particularly nasty site.

And more recently, after NBC’s Rock Center interviewed two former executives of Scientology’s drug rehab program, Narconon, the next day two anonymous sites suddenly sprung up to attack them. One of them, however, had not been hidden behind a “Whoisguard” protector, a service that makes anonymous the owner of a website, and it was still possible to see that the site was registered to the church itself.


But there’s little doubt, as Rinder says, that all of these attack sites are run by the church itself. And he ought to know — before he defected in 2007, Mike Rinder ran the Office of Special Affairs, the church’s covert operations outfit that operates such websites.

And former church celebrities are not immune. Both Paul Haggis, the Oscar-winning director and screenwriter, and Jason Beghe, the veteran character actor who is starring this fall in Chicago PD, are each the subject of anonymous smear sites set up by the church after they dared to leave Scientology and talk publicly about it.

We hope that the mainstream media outlets currently looking feverishly into Leah Remini’s split with the church take the time to learn about things like Scientology’s record for retaliation.

Remini’s story is also bringing an intense focus on the mysterious vanishing of Shelly Miscavige, the wife of church leader David Miscavige.

For reporters looking for background to that story, we urge you to look at our previous stories on the subject. Our reporting convinces us that Shelly has been held since 2006 at Scientology’s super-secret CST headquarters near Lake Arrowhead in the mountains above Los Angeles — and not in “The Hole,” the church’s infamous office-prison at its “Int Base” near Hemet, a completely different facility. Also, please see our full story about CST and its mysterious activities — we still have the only interview with a former employee of the hush-hush operation that digs vaults in order to ensure that the words of L. Ron Hubbard survive a nuclear holocaust.

It’s also important to put Remini’s split in the context of the larger crisis consuming Scientology. For background on other high-level defections and the growing “independent” Scientology movement which is proving to be such a challenge to the leadership of David Miscavige, please see Channel 4’s recent documentary, “Scientologists at War.” It would be a shame if reporters did not consider Remini’s disaffection in this larger context, because her complaints about “corrupt management” mirror the grievances we hear from so many longtime church members who have been breaking away in the last few years.

Wow, what a day. Our thanks to People magazine, the International Business Times and others who have been giving us credit for breaking this story on Monday. We have more scoops on the way!

UPDATE: Thanks to the sharp eyes over at for spotting that yes, today, someone has registered the domain “” — which is the formula that the church typically uses for its smear websites….

Registered through:, LLC (
Created on: 11-Jul-13
Expires on: 11-Jul-14
Last Updated on: 11-Jul-13

Domains By Proxy, LLC
14747 N Northsight Blvd Suite 111, PMB 309
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
United States

We don’t know if this is the church preparing one of its standard smear sites, or a friend of Leah trying to prevent the church from doing so. But we’ll be keeping an eye on it!


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 12, 2013 at 17:30

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