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How Scientologists are dealing with the buzz around Alex Gibney’s ‘Going Clear’

GoingClearPoster2One of our sources, who has connections both among Church of Scientology members and those who have been expelled from the organization, thought we would like to see how people on the inside are talking about Alex Gibney’s film Going Clear.

So far, there have only been two public screenings of the film, so only a few hundred human beings have actually seen it, but the press reaction has been massive. Much of that press interest has centered on the official reaction from the church, which has been as hamfisted and embarrassing as we might have predicted.

In one truly misguided effort, Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw (or at least someone writing under her name) sent out letters apparently to every movie reviewer on the planet who had written about the film, and chastised them for not contacting the church before writing about Gibney’s movie.

But we expect that kind of nonsense from Scientology leader David Miscavige. We’re more curious about how rank and file Scientologists — the few that are left — are dealing with the inescapable news that this movie is coming to HBO on March 16.

Our source sent us over a Facebook conversation, and we’ve covered up the names of the people taking part in it. A couple of them have IMDB pages which detail minor careers in the film industry. A couple of others are artists. The rest have little online presence.

Church members are under a lot of pressure not to pay attention to negative information about Scientology in the media. But it’s interesting to see how aware some of them are about what’s going on. We look forward to seeing your thoughts about the different reactions here…








[NOTE: “SP” refers to “suppressive person,” what Scientology refers to as an evil person who has been ejected from the organization and may intend Scientology harm. “OSA” refers to the Office of Special Affairs, Scientology’s public relations, intelligence-gathering, and covert operations wing, which deals with “SPs.”]









[NOTE: “SMP” refers to the “Scientology Media Production” center being constructed at the old KCET studios in Los Angeles, which Scientology purchased in 2011.]


Scientology’s new ‘expansion’ ad

After four Scientology Ideal Orgs opened in 2013, just one did in 2014 — in Sydney — but Scientology still wants you to believe that it’s expanding faster now that at any time in its history. All evidence points to the opposite, of course. The three dozen Ideal Orgs opened since 2002 only replaced previous facilities, and Mike Rinder recently showed through Scientology’s own records that all of its actual expansion happened in the 1970s and 1980s.

Scientology is shrinking, fast, and leader David Miscavige’s big show of new buildings doesn’t mask the steady exodus of actual members.

But get ready to be played like a fiddle as Scientology’s newest video has appeared, extolling Miscavige and his personal control over his organization’s many real estate plans. (Oops, better tell the lawyers down in Texas who are trying to convince judges there that Miscavige has almost nothing to do with anything except thinking big ecclesiastical thoughts.)

We still think the previous video that Scientology put out, about its social betterment groups, is more likely to be the one shown during the Super Bowl. But we’re ready to be surprised and have this one pop up with its long narration about Dave’s many projects. Take a look…



Meghan FIalkoff, right, with the past two Miss New Yorks -- Amanda Mason (left, 2013) and Jillian Tapper (2014)

Meghan FIalkoff, right, with the past two Miss New Yorks — Amanda Mason (left, 2013) and Jillian Tapper (2014)

Meghan Fialkoff and her anti-drugs scam are finally getting their moment

Almost two years ago, we were the first to report on Scientology’s sneaky infiltration of New York City schools. A dentist and his glamorous daughter, Meghan Fialkoff, have been pushing hard to get L. Ron Hubbard’s quack theories about drug abuse into the hands of schoolchildren, and they operate right out of Scientology’s Times Square “org.”

Meghan visits schools around town with recent Miss New Yorks in tow, peddling Scientology’s anti-drug pamphlet put out by the Foundation for a Drug-Free World. More recently, the public affairs magazine City Limits wrote about the group’s visits to NYC schools. And yesterday, local news site DNAInfo did a nice thorough piece about Meghan’s efforts, which got picked up by Slate, Gothamist, the New York Daily News, WCBS, and Gawker, which had fun with the dumb information in the pamphlet.

It’s nice to see this story finally getting some legs. With all the attention that Alex Gibney’s film is bringing to Scientology, we have a feeling anything related to the church, including its myriad of sneaky front groups, is going to get much more scrutiny in the coming months.

 UPDATE: A tipster let us know that just an hour ago, Meghan posted this photo of herself with folks planning an MLK march in Queens. Sure would be nice to see all of these news orgs hot on the schools story to start asking about this event as well…


And she just put up this poster for the event. Hey, early afternoon on Super Sunday? Doesn’t Meghan know she’s supposed to be at home glued to the set in case the Scientology Super Bowl ad comes on?



Bonus photos from our tipsters

Hey, the CCHR annual awards are coming next month, and they don’t want us to know who their special guests are! The rabidly anti-psychiatry Scientology front group has become even more of a sad joke as other, sneakier front groups seem to be taking the forefront in leader David Miscavige’s efforts to pretend that Scientology does good works. And while anti-drug and pro-human rights campaigns are the fad right now, CCHR plugs away with its weird crusade to convince people that the Holocaust was really perpetrated by “psychs,” not the Nazis.

Anyway, here’s the invite for the awards show. We can’t wait to find out who the “national news journalist” is…


Brittany Coventry is Clear, everybody!


Kiwi Culture Day! Make sure you stop by the Truth About Drugs table and ask them which pills L. Ron Hubbard was poppin’…


James Barbour is mugging outside the theater where he’s the new Phantom!


Scientologists are using social media more than ever. Drop us a line if you spot them posting images to Instagram or Facebook!


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 29, 2015 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward

UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ


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