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Bob Duggan, the richest Scientologist in the world, is going to love our nifty new drawings!

Bob_Duggan_illoIn October, we uncorked our big investigative story of 2014. It was the result of months of research and Skype calls to South Africa and lots and lots of lawyering.

We revealed that the richest Scientologists in the world, Bob and Trish Duggan, had a strange secret. We established that at the same time the California couple had been propping up Scientology in South Africa with huge donations, two of their adopted sons, one of whom was only 11, suddenly relocated there in the care of Scientology families.

At the time, Bob was worth a billion and a half dollars, and so we didn’t really expect any of the news organizations that keep a tab on the Underground Bunker to pick up the story, and we were right. This was odd and unseemly stuff, and writing about billionaires carries a measure of risk. It would have been nice if Bob had answered our emails and explained what was going on. Why, we would have loved to ask him, did his adopted sons get sent to a country where he was also sending piles of cash?

Well, since then, Bob’s only gotten more like Croesus as he sold his cancer drug company, Pharmacyclics, for $22 billion, and Forbes now estimates his worth at $3.5 billion, making him the 810th richest person on the planet (#284 in the US), and a special favorite of Scientology leader David Miscavige.

You might be wondering, why are you bringing this up now? Well, one of our astute readers pointed out to us that just a couple of weeks ago, Duggan, through an agent, made a complaint to Google about our story.

We can understand why Bob is feeling flummoxed. We find that if you type Bob’s name into Google, our story comes up as the first or second result. Ouch. That’s gotta raise some eyebrows in the business community.

So what did Bob complain about? Our reporting? The way we described things? Our numbers and dollar amounts listed in the story?

No, he complained about the photographs. Specifically, Bob filed a complaint under the DMCA — a “takedown notice” — for six of the images in the story. And the funny thing is, only one of them came from Bob’s own website, a nice headshot of the man himself. Bob also complained about a photo of Trish that came from Trish’s website; a collage of photos from Scientology’s Impact magazine which featured him and Trish accepting trophies from Miscavige; a photo from Scientology’s website showing the grand opening of the Pretoria Ideal Org in 2013; a photo of Robin Hogarth from Robin’s own Facebook page; and a photo of Robin, his wife Carol, and their (formerly Bob’s) son, from Carol’s Facebook page. In each case, we had been careful to point out in our story where each image had come from. We wanted readers to know exactly where we had obtained them. (Another photo in the story, showing Carol Hogarth and the blurred-out boy, was taken by Carol’s sister Shelley Ashurst, who gave us the photo with her permission.)

OK, so you might ask yourself, why did Bob care, for example, that we’d taken a publicity photo of the Pretoria org from the Scientology website? And why would he complain to Google rather than to the Underground Bunker itself?

We did some research, and we learned that what Bob was up to was a classic strategy where he was complaining on behalf of other people’s photos in order to get us in trouble with Google, which could end up de-indexing the story and otherwise punishing us.

Hey, that’s clever.

Well, rather than wait around to see what Google was going to do about it, we got creative.

With the help of talented cartoonist Chad Essley of Oregon, we’ve replaced most of the images in the original story with a kickass set of really cool illustrations!

Please, go look for yourselves, and in so doing, get that story’s rank on Google even higher! Because all of Bob’s friends and neighbors and business associates deserve to see it!

In fact, you might increase the visibility of that story by sharing it on your social media streams — Facebook it, send out a tweet about it, or otherwise make sure it gets around so that everyone has a chance to dig Chad’s images.

After making those illos for us, Chad’s taking a little break, but we hope to have a couple of additional pieces added to the article after he gets back. And then he might help us out with some other things around here. Is his stuff good or what?

Anyway, there’s nothing Bob can do about illustrations, and instead of trying to hide our story with complaints to Google, maybe it’s time that he starts speaking up about his odd family arrangement? Just an idea.

 
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Claire on the air (and Lori too!)

More radio appearances for women getting the word out about disconnection: Claire Headley hits WDUN-AM 550/FM 102.9 in Atlanta this morning at 8:40 Eastern, and then at 9 am Eastern at KNUS-AM 710 in Denver with Peter Boyles.

Meanwhile, you’ll get to hear Lori Hodgson at noon Eastern when she’s on WBEL-AM 1380 in Madison, Wisconsin.

 
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BOOK NOTES

On May 14, you will be able to purchase ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ from Amazon in either electronic or print format, and simultaneously in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

The Kindle edition is now available for pre-order at Amazon, and will be delivered on May 14. Go order your copy today! (Yes, our publisher changed his mind about that, and you can take advantage of it!

Last night, by the way, we got our first copies. Hey, that was some Cinco de Mayo surprise…

 
Tony_Ortega_Unbreakable

 
Our appearances…

May 16: Santa Barbara Humanist Society (with Paulette Cooper), 3:00 pm
May 17: Center for Inquiry-West, Los Angeles, 4773 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, 11 am (with Paulette Cooper)
May 17: CFI Orange County (Costa Mesa), 4:30 pm (with Paulette Cooper)
May 20, San Diego (with Paulette Cooper)
May 22: San Francisco (with Jamie DeWolf and Paulette Cooper)

June 11: New York City (with Paulette Cooper)

June 20: Chicago The Annoyance Theater, 5pm (with Christian Stolte)

June 22/23: Toronto (with Paulette Cooper)

June 27/28: Florida (with Paulette Cooper)

July 12: Washington DC, Center for Inquiry

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on May 6, 2015 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94@gmail.com 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 mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield

 

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