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Will Scientology’s celebrities heed the call and show up for today’s big media center opening?

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[Kelly Preston, John Travolta, and Tom Cruise at the 2013 Super Power grand opening in Florida]

We hope to be hearing from several of our readers who will be on the scene today as Scientology has its latest grand opening, this time in Los Angeles for what is the most unusual and anticipated opening of a Scientology facility in nearly three years.

In 2013, church leader David Miscavige presided over the ceremony to open Scientology’s “Flag Building,” better known as “Super Power,” an edifice that had been more than 20 years in the making, and which promised a new level of esoteric practices for wealthy Scientologists in a massive facility the size of a full city block in Clearwater, Florida. So important was that event, Tom Cruise and John Travolta were standing side by side in the front row of the crowd of about 2,500 people in the street outside the building.

Since then, Miscavige has presided over the ceremonies of several more new “Ideal Orgs” around the world, including churches in Milan, Bogotá, and Atlanta. At those ceremonies, Scientology does its best to round up local political figures to give speeches, and Scientology’s Hollywood stars aren’t usually in attendance.

Today, we think the chances for spotting Scientology celebrities may be pretty high.

Miscavige will be presiding over the grand opening of “Scientology Media Productions,” the renovated complex of television and radio studios that were the KCET studios on Sunset Boulevard the church purchased in 2011.

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We thought it was odd that Miscavige made that purchase — Scientology already has state-of-the-art studios and production facilities at its International Base, a secretive compound about 90 miles east of L.A., near Hemet, California. Also known as “Gold Base” for the presence of the studios and its production company, Golden Era Productions, that complex is fully capable of producing the many internal videos or other recordings that the church needs. So why raise money to set up another set of studios inside Hollywood itself?

 
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“This is really just to impress Hollywood media and Hollywood talent,” says a Scientology member affiliated with its Celebrity Centre who asked us not to use his name. “Some of the talent in Los Angeles was impressed by Gold, and a lot of celebs went up there when it first opened, even some who weren’t Scientologists. But since news about ‘The Hole’ got out, no one wants to go out there anymore.”

In 2009, news of Scientology’s bizarre office-prison for executives, “The Hole,” was exposed in the media for the first time, five years after it had first been created by Miscavige. Since then, Miscavige has been de-emphasizing the importance of the Hemet compound, and the number of Sea Org workers there is much lower, our sources tell us.

“My theory is that Hemet is going to be just a re-education center. Not much is going to happen there. So you can’t really have a media center there. Buying KCET’s studios and renovating them is a way to create a clean slate and impress the people in the L.A. area,” our celebrity source says. “The target audience is all the celebs. This is their opportunity now to have something like Gold right in their backyard.”

Judging by the frantic calls he’s been getting from church executives begging him to come to the grand opening, our source says he expects other Celebrity Centre members have been getting the same appeals. “Every celebrity, big or small, is being told to be there.”

But will they show up? And will we get a glimpse of them?

As usual, an elaborate set up has been put in place for the event, and a document leaked to us detailed the hours of preparation and security the audience have to go through for a ceremony today that will probably be very brief. The church does its best to keep onlookers far away from such events, but in Atlanta, at least, a couple of our readers managed to get a great view of what was going on and filmed it for our benefit.

Today, we expect to hear from numerous people who are planning to be on the scene. We hope they can get us some reports, and we’ll post them here when we get them. Scientology tends to post its own press release and photos from the event about a day later. Will Cruise show up? Travolta? Kirstie Alley? The younger celebs, many of whom grew up in the church? We have to admit, we’re pretty excited to find out.

 
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[This week Scientology put a sign on the top of the 15-story antenna at the SMP complex. Will it light up, even though the church withdrew its request for an LED sign with the city? We hope to find out tonight.]

 
UPDATE: Look who cleaned up just in time for today’s big event! Does this mean someone’s famous father is going to be showing up today?

 
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[From his Instagram account, Connor Cruise five days ago fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, and today]

 
THE OVERVIEW: Has anyone counted the seats yet? This is a great example of how Scientology uses short lenses to make a crowd look bigger than it is. It’s not Photoshop, it’s the bending qualities of the lens.

 
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Tommy Davis, you are so busted

Indefatigable entertainment reporter Roger Friedman got quite a kick out of our story about Tommy Davis yesterday. Friedman knows Davis from way back, and remembers fending off the feisty former flack when Davis was smacking scribes on behalf of the Church of Scientology.

Friedman points out that the news we broke yesterday that Tommy is now working for Australian billionaire James Packer has some interesting implications in Hollywood, where Packer is teamed up with producer/director Brett Ratner and his RatPac Entertainment in order to finance various projects.

Through his sources at RatPac, Friedman found out that Davis is claiming that he’s “renounced” Scientology, which neither of us buys for a minute. As we reported yesterday, a source very close to Tommy says that he brooks no criticism of the church in his presence. But much more telling is what Friedman found, that Tommy is palling around with Michael Doven — and we hear that he’s even been introducing Doven to people as his best friend.

“You are shitting me,” Marc Headley said when we told him that piece of news. Headley worked as a Sea Org official at Scientology’s secretive International Base in California for 15 years before his harrowing escape, detailed in his excellent book Blown for Good. “Oh, now there’s no question what’s going on,” he added.

Did Tommy, when he was showing Doven around, not expect his new film friends to make use of the Google? A quick search brings up our 2012 Village Voice story about Doven being used for more than a decade to spy on Tom Cruise for Scientology, according to former church executives Marty Rathbun, Mike Rinder, and Claire Headley, who all witnessed Doven delivering reports on Cruise while he was working as the actor’s personal assistant.

So now Tom Cruise’s personal Scientology handler, Tommy Davis, and his longtime Scientology spy, Michael Doven, are gladhanding Hollywood producers on behalf of former Scientology stooge and Australian billionaire James Packer?

Headley says there’s simply no question now that Tommy Davis and Michael Doven are working on James Packer on behalf of Scientology leader David Miscavige, who is the only person in the church who would oversee or sign off on such an operation.

Oh, this is almost too good to be true. We can’t wait to find out more from Friedman, who really knows the players in the film world.

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on May 28, 2016 at 07:00

E-mail 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. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated 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 L.A. 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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | 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 | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | 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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