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Up next for Scientology: Sending out Tom Cruise to put on a grand performance?

Tom_Cruise_runs

 
Former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder has a great new post at his blog this morning, and in it he predicts what Scientology leader David Miscavige may do in response to “Hurricane Leah,” the media storm that is still raging after Leah Remini’s book Troublemaker was published on Tuesday.

Rinder reasons that Miscavige really has only one move at this point — to have Tom Cruise pretend to do a “no holds barred” interview to address Remini’s allegations which will, in actuality, be highly controlled.

It may even have the trappings of being a “real” interview and be presented as something “unscripted” and “off-the-cuff.” Unless the really important questions are asked you will know that it is totally controlled and completely scripted. It will be the Scientology party line lifted out of the Miscavige letters to the media dressed up as a “candid” conversation with Tom Cruise.

It’s important to keep in mind that for many years, it was Mike Rinder’s job to decide how Scientology should handle a crisis like this, so his opinion carries a lot of weight. And we wanted to point out that there is, in fact, precedence for Rinder’s prediction, and we’re surprised he didn’t point it out himself.

In the spring of 2012, Scientology was also going through a tough period. The year before, Lawrence Wright’s major New Yorker profile of Paul Haggis had come out, and Larry was turning that story into a book. One of the revelations in that story was that Scientology had been the subject of an FBI investigation for human trafficking over allegations that it works children and other young Sea Org workers under incredible conditions for almost no pay. Meanwhile, in Texas, a bizarre story had unfolded about a Scientology goon squad that called itself “Squirrel Busters” that had besieged a former church official for months outside his south Texas home. A certain journalist at the Village Voice in New York had covered it like a national story until it had been picked up by numerous other outlets. As 2012 began, the drumbeat of bad news for Scientology was picking up.

And then, in May 2012, Playboy announced that Tom Cruise had sat for its famous interview, and had “opened up” for the first time in years about Scientology. Listen to the language used by an article at NBC about what a revelation the interview was…

Despite being one of the biggest stars on the planet, Tom Cruise has always done everything he can to keep his private life…private. But now, in a candid new interview with Playboy magazine, nothing is off limits, as Cruise opens up about his belief in Scientology, his love for wife Katie Holmes and taking on the rumors that target him in the media.

At the time, however, we pointed out that the interview was anything but revealing about Tom and Scientology, and that he’d handled the very weak questions asked of him with a lot of misdirection. Take a look at a couple of his answers, which amounted to saying nothing at all…

“If I don’t talk about my religion, if I say I’m not discussing it or different humanitarian things I’m working on, they’re like, ‘He’s avoiding it.’ If I do talk about it, it becomes, ‘Oh, he’s proselytizing’.”

And

“Does refuting things help? Not really. There comes a point when you just have to go, ‘You know what? Here’s how I’ve lived my life: I’ve never been late to a set. I make films I believe in. I feel privileged to be able to do what I love.’ You just have to keep going and remember that. The other stuff? I hear it, I read it, I get it. But life is not a matter of trying to prove anything to anybody.”

Despite these non-answers to unspecific questions, Cruise was given credit for being candid and doing a “tell-all.” (That interview was quickly forgotten, however, when, only a month later, Katie Holmes ditched his ass while he was filming a movie in Iceland. D’oh.)

It was exactly the kind of thing Rinder is predicting that Miscavige will have Cruise do now, when the media environment is so much worse for Scientology than it was in 2012. So now, we wait to see: Who wins the lottery to give Tom Cruise a media handjob?

 
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What happens next in the Monique Rathbun lawsuit?

We wanted to make sure that everyone saw the really interesting comment left by TX Lawyer following the big news about Monique Rathbun’s win at the Texas Third Court of Appeals. We’ve confirmed that TX Lawyer is who he says he is — a Texas lawyer who specializes in appellate matters — and his commentary has always been very illuminating about this lawsuit. Here’s what he had to say after the appeals court affirmed Judge Dib Waldrip’s denial of Scientology’s “anti-SLAPP” motion, filed in October 2013, which stopped the lawsuit in its tracks for more than a year…

I am way late to the party, having been in client meetings all yesterday, but big congrats to Mrs. Rathbun and her legal team. Reading the opinion, my impression is that it was aimed at foreclosing further review. The heavy use of “scare quotes” from the statute looks like they wanted to show this was a direct application of the statute, while the absence of gross details about the harassment shows that this outcome isn’t being driven by special facts. Nice job by the Austin Court of Appeals.

Legally speaking, the Church’s opportunity for further appeal is somewhat limited. Because this is an interlocutory (before the case is over) appeal, the Texas Supreme Court only has jurisdiction if the Court of Appeals’ decision conflicts with an opinion of the Texas Supreme Court or another Texas Court of Appeals. I will let the Church’s attorneys figure out what conflicts might exist — and you can bet the Church will assert that they do — but in my experience, conflicts better be pretty darned obvious for the Texas Supreme Court to take an interlocutory appeal.

So, realistically, what can we expect for a time frame? The Church has 15 days to file a motion for rehearing with the Court of Appeals. Mrs. Rathbun does not have to file a response, and I would not expect the court to request one before overruling the motion for rehearing. After rehearing is denied (or if none is filed) the Church then has 45 days to file a petition for review at the Texas Supreme Court. It only takes one of the nine justices to request a response, and this case is too interesting for nobody to want to hear more, so tack on a couple more months for the response and the Church’s reply. Then it takes three votes to request briefing on the merits, and the process starts all over again. I would bet that there are three votes there, just to take a full look at the case. But it takes four votes (again, out of nine justices) to grant review and decide the case on the merits, and I bet that does not happen. So given the usual delays in appeals of this sort, probably expect eight to ten months before the appeal is over and the case goes back to the trial court, where Mrs. Rathbun will be in the driver’s seat.

— TX Lawyer

For those interested in seeing where we’ve been, we’ve put together this list of Bunker stories about the major milestones in the case…

(Aug 21, 2013) Monique Rathbun files suit against Scientology over harassment
(Sep 1, 2013) Scientology leader David Miscavige files declaration in Texas lawsuit
(Sep 5, 2013) The Marty Rathbun Affidavit: Scientology leader David Miscavige lied to Texas court
(Sep 10, 2013) Scientology moves to disqualify Monique Rathbun’s attorneys
(Sep 12, 2013) Live from Texas: The Monique Rathbun vs. Scientology temporary injunction hearing
(Sep 12, 2013) Monique Rathbun’s Testimony: Day one finishes in her temporary injunction hearing
(Sep 13, 2013) Monique Rathbun vs Scientology, Day 2: Texas showdown shifts gears
(Sep 14, 2013) The Texas Post-Game Report: Scientology, Monique Rathbun, and Judge Dib Waldrip
(Oct 1, 2013) Ray Jeffrey 1, Scientology 0: Disqualify motion denied in harassment lawsuit
(Oct 14, 2013) Scientology Payback: Revenge of the videographers
(Oct 19, 2013) Scientology drops a bomb on Monique Rathbun’s harassment lawsuit (The anti-SLAPP motion)
(Oct 21, 2013) The flaw in Scientology’s religious outrage theory: A man named Steven Gregory Sloat
(Dec 11, 2013) Texas Skirmish: Mike Bennitt is on the scene as Monique Rathbun’s lawsuit is back in court
(Dec 13, 2013) Texas judge orders deposition of Scientology leader David Miscavige
(Jan 2, 2014) The Tommy Davis Deposition: Scientology asks judge to reconsider forcing Miscavige deposition
(Jan 4, 2014) Monique Rathbun files for sanctions, submits Scientology leader’s foul-mouthed texts
(Jan 16, 2014) Judge Waldrip grants Monique Rathbun’s discovery request, snubbing Scientology
(Mar 14, 2014) Texas judge denies Scientology’s ‘anti-SLAPP’ motion in Rathbun suit
(Jun 12, 2014) Appeal Brief: Scientology argues that our coverage of them legitimates their spying
(Jul 17, 2014) Texas appeals court gets Scientology leader David Miscavige out of testifying in harassment lawsuit
(Sep 24, 2014) Rathbun v. Scientology: Another appeals court hearing, this time with everything on the line

 
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Bonus photos from our tipsters

We have even more images coming in from Scientology’s big annual IAS gala weekend late in October. Jim Meskimen was one of the performers, Joy Villa has gone bleach blond apparently, and the place was one big rocking tent!

 
IAS2015Meskimen

IAS2015Joy

IAS2015PatronsIAS2015Patrons2IAS2015Patrons3

 
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BOOK NOTES
3D-Unbreakable

We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.

Our book tour is concluded for now. We’ll let you know about future appearances. Previous events: Santa Barbara (5/16), Hollywood (5/17), Orange County (5/17), San Diego (5/20), San Francisco (5/22), New York (6/11), Chicago (6/20), Toronto (6/22), Clearwater (6/28), Washington DC (7/12), Hartford (7/14), Denver (7/17), Dallas (7/20), Houston (7/22), San Antonio (7/24), Austin (7/25), Paris (7/29), London (8/4), Boston (8/24), Phoenix (9/15), Cleveland (9/23), Minneapolis (9/24), Portland (9/27), Seattle (9/28), Vancouver BC (9/29), Sydney (10/23), Melbourne (10/25), Adelaide (10/28), Perth (10/30)

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on November 8, 2015 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT 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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