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On the ‘Leah Remini’ Reddit special this week: A powerful Texas duo

Cult expert Steve Hassan let the cat out of the bag last night, saying at his Facebook page that he’s one of three guests on this week’s “Reddit AMA” special episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath which is airing on A&E Tuesday at 10 pm. We can tell you who the other two guests are as well.

Remini did a previous Reddit special episode where she took questions from the website, but also used the occasion to bring on Paulette Cooper, Chris Shelton, Karen de la Carriere and Jeffrey Augustine. All of them are very familiar faces here at the Underground Bunker, and they did a superb job helping Leah explore areas that hadn’t been covered in her other episodes.

This time she has a really intriguing slate of special guests. Besides Hassan, she’s invited a powerful duo from Texas: author Lawrence Wright and attorney Ray Jeffrey.

Wright, of course, is the Austin journalist who penned “The Apostate,” an amazing 25,000-word New Yorker magazine feature in February 2011 about director Paul Haggis and his defection from Scientology. Wright subsequently turned that article into his book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, which was released in January 2013. And two years after that, Alex Gibney used Wright’s book as a basis for his documentary film version, also titled Going Clear, which HBO premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2015 before airing it on the network that March, becoming the most-watched HBO documentary in a decade and the winner of three Emmy awards. (And full disclosure, we appeared in the film.)

Including attorney Ray Jeffrey in Tuesday night’s episode, meanwhile, is a very interesting decision for Leah Remini and Mike Rinder to make. Jeffrey, a former local Texas mayor, first became familiar to us when he was hired as defense counsel for Debbie Cook, who was sued by the Church of Scientology for an email she sent out on New Year’s Day 2012.

By merely daring to criticize Scientology leader David Miscavige, Cook was sued for violating the terms of draconian contracts she had signed when she left the church’s hardcore “Sea Org.” We were in a San Antonio courtroom in February 2012 watching as Ray Jeffrey argued in a preliminary hearing that Cook had signed those contracts under duress, and he wanted to put Debbie on the stand to talk about the abuse she had been through before she had signed the draconian agreements. Scientology objected, but Judge Martha Tanner said she wanted to hear from Debbie.

Guided by Ray’s questioning, Debbie’s testimony was devastating. She described horrific conditions in a prison called “The Hole” that Miscavige had created for his top executives at Scientology’s International Base near Hemet, California. The next day, Scientology’s attorneys waived the rest of the hearing. And weeks later, they settled the case, paying millions, we think, to Debbie Cook to end the lawsuit that Scientology had actually started.

Later that year, Ray Jeffrey was back. This time he represented two former Scientology private investigators, Paul Marrick and Greg Arnold, who were suing the church over breach of contract. The two were former police officers who had been hired in 1988 to follow one man, Pat Broeker, for the church. They said they had been told that they had jobs for life. And for the next 24 years, that appeared to be the case as they followed Broeker no matter where he went, even for a time to the Czech Republic. But then, when the man who had originally hired them, former top church enforcer Mark “Marty” Rathbun, defected in 2004 and then began to speak publicly in 2009, he obliquely mentioned the Marrick and Arnold operation in a press article. The two private eyes said things noticeably changed after that, and then they were fired in 2012. So they decided to take the church to court.

Jeffrey arranged for the two former Scientology spies to give interviews — to us, and to the guys at the Tampa Bay Times — and after just a day of interviews Ray heard from the church that they were ready to talk settlement. Again, we can only guess at the amount that Ray secured for his clients, but we’re figuring it was probably in the seven figures.

Now on a pretty amazing winning streak, Ray next took on his biggest project yet, representing Monique Rathbun, Marty’s wife, as she filed a harassment suit against the church in August 2013. For the next three years, Ray and his team — Marc Wiegand, Elliott Cappuccio, and Leslie Hyman — fended off a ferocious legal onslaught from Scientology’s small army of lawyers. Ray’s team survived a disqualification motion by the church, and also knocked down an anti-SLAPP motion that was then confirmed on appeal. And after those three years, our legal experts told us, the case was poised to begin causing Scientology serious pain and might even have put church leader David Miscavige in the witness chair.

And then, mysteriously, in January 2016, Monique Rathbun fired her entire legal team, and badmouthed them in the process, accusing them of things that Jeffrey denied. A few months later, she dropped the case entirely and again blamed Ray Jeffrey and his colleagues for inadequately representing her in a case that they were actually winning by any objective standard. Meanwhile, Marty Rathbun, whose blog had, from 2009 to early 2014, been a powerful and constant source of criticism of David Miscavige’s leadership of the Church of Scientology, went quiet about David Miscavige’s shortcomings. And last year, in September Rathbun began defending Miscavige as he tore into Ruthless, the memoir penned by David’s father, Ron Miscavige. And less than a week later, Rathbun wrote another screed, this time in what looked like a heavy-handed attempt to sabotage Louis Theroux’s film, My Scientology Movie, which was about to open in theaters in Australia.

Since then, Rathbun has gone completely silent about Scientology, and has begun to write about politics. It didn’t really surprise us, then, that Marty — who was once such a powerful symbol of the rebellion against David Miscavige’s leadership — did not show up in any of Leah Remini’s episodes (though she does list him in end credits among those she thanks as people who came before her to criticize the church).

We received a lot of questions from readers about that. Why wasn’t Marty in the show? And we understood where people were coming from. If they hadn’t read his blog in a while, it’s understandable why they might be mystified not to see Rathbun in a project that so obviously had come in a straight line from the 2009 Tampa Bay Times “Truth Rundown” series through Gibney’s Going Clear. If you put it in that context, it does seem bizarre that Rathbun is not involved.

And now, Leah Remini and Mike Rinder have put on their latest show the attorney the Rathbuns badmouthed so roundly last year — Monique in official court papers, and Marty at his blog, where he referred to Ray Jeffrey as a “bottom-feeder.”

We have a feeling that’s not how Ray is going to come off Tuesday night on Scientology and the Aftermath.


Scientology should reveal its Super Bowl ad any day now

One of our readers in Tampa — Chukicita — saw a Scientology ad last night during the Seattle-Atlanta NFC divisional playoff game. What Chukicita saw was a version of an ad that Scientology posted a week ago to its YouTube channel.

But we don’t think that’s the ad that will play during the Super Bowl itself.

If you remember, on New Year’s Eve, we posted leaked audio of Scientology’s New Year’s event that was held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Near the end of the event, David Miscavige can be heard announcing that he would play for the audience their Super Bowl ad of 2017.

What we could hear then sounded very similar to the Apple-like ads of the past few years, and here was the voiceover narration of it…

There are words to describe every step we take
Every moment
Every memory
Every landmark
And milestone
Words for the joy
And the sorrow
The victories
And the triumphs
The defeat that pushes us into the shadows
And the inspiration that brings us back
But through all of life’s journey
There’s no language adequate to describe
The ultimate heights you can attain…
Your full potential

We figure that means the title of the ad will be “Your Full Potential,” and Scientology does not appear to have posted it yet. But they may begin airing it soon — perhaps during one of tonight’s playoff games or next week’s championship games.

Let us know if you see it!


June will be here before you know it


HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25. Go here to start making your plans.

[Thank you, Observer.]


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on January 15, 2017 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, Kindle, and audiobook versions. 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.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

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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  • 5 Feet Long and Luminous
    • MarcabExpat

      It really is impossible for Kirstie to tweet without throwing a pie in her own face, isn’t it?

      • 5 Feet Long and Luminous

        Ha! She really is a mess.

      • madame duran

        “Pie on face” would be Kirstie’s food dream, not an embarrassment.

    • Frodis73

      Leah delivering two great smack downs!! Xenu, I love her so much.

    • Stupid.

    • Intergalactic Walrus

      UGH! She is so vile. Is she still the the Jenny Craig spokesperson? If so, I hope they are losing a lot of customers.

      • EmmaDaoust

        Well, it is a weight-loss program…

    • madame duran

      Is this a question taken from the personality test?
      Is Kirstie moving from lemurs to monkeys?
      Does she love the monkeys as much as Jenna Elfman loves the horses?
      Are we absolutely positive that Kirstie isn’t snorting coke again?

      • 5 Feet Long and Luminous

        All important and relevant questions, Madame. ; )

  • Intergalactic Walrus
    • He didn’t specify what kind of office.

      • salin

        Good point. Rental office for construction warning products?

    • salin

      *Snicker* What was the wording used to suggest that she was nominated for a Grammy, but actually suggested nothing of the kind? (Vaguely remember the episode, don’t recall the language – does anyone? – it was so farcical.)

      • Intergalactic Walrus

        Grammy considered?

        • salin

          Sounds right. Something that indicated that at least one person had nominated, but deceptively implied more (like got lot’s of votes.)

          • Intergalactic Walrus

            She just completed Super Power. Flag probably sells it in a honeymoon package now.

            • 5 Feet Long and Luminous

              Did she? Poor child. Deeper and deeper in…

        • 5 Feet Long and Luminous

          That was it.

        • EmmaDaoust

          Her Grammy considers she’s her granddaughter.

          • Intergalactic Walrus

            And her Grammy is probably closer in age to her new husband than Joy is 🙁

  • Dar

    I live in Sacramento and within the past month at least ten new ‘Dianetics” billboards have gone up in the poorer/low income sections of the city. I doubt this population could even afford basic courses. Perhaps they are trying to recruit Sea Org members from areas where no one has heard of Scientology and they can pull them in and feed these poor folks a bunch of bs. I wish I could warn these innocent victims-to-be.

    • Ten billboards? Heh. Take some pics so we can see them.

    • Intergalactic Walrus

      In the poorer sections of LA the billboards are the Dianetics ones instead of “Scientology” ones. And I notice that a lot of the ads in Spanish are for Dianetics too, not mentioning the “S” word.

      • Harpoona Frittata

        They’re ducking their own brand! Now that’s just perfect.

        • Juicer77


    • And yes, you can warn people. With this sticker.
      Kudos to Pete Griffiths who gave it to me at HowdyCon 2016.

      • Stephanie Loving

        Easy to capture this great sticker and then print it out on peel & stick stickers. And then … lots of places to STICK IT.

      • ExCult.Jan

        I think we need a Bunker Store for these, recent T-shirts, Call Me signs, etc.

    • Dave Reams

      Nah, not a chance they would trade the Taqueria El Grullense for Sea Org rice and beans (with a can of dogfood thrown in on LRH’s birthday)

  • Intergalactic Walrus

    Does anyone have a photo of the blond gal with an accent who was stalking/filming Louis Theroux in “My Scientology Movie”? Has she been identified?

    • Glen

      That was Paz de la Huerta. Her main claim to fame was her role in the HBO TV series, Boardwalk Empire.


      Sorry, just read this back. Paz de la Huerta was the woman at the beginning of the movie who knocked on the door because she thought she was being filmed by Louis Theroux.

      The woman at Gold who was in charge was Catherine Fraser.

      • Ella Raitch

        There was one other blonde woman (unidentified) with a cameraman, who said she was filming a documentary and then tried to walk away from Louis and said he was harrassing her (wtte)

        • Glen

          I replied to Intergalactic Walrus incorrectly, at first, I believe, because I didn’t read the question carefully.

          The blond woman in the movie trailers that directs the cameraman when confronting Louis at Gold I believe has been identified as Catherine Fraser.

  • Michael Leonard Tilse

    I wonder if Davy has Addison’s disease due to the years of inhaled steroids. That bronzed skin color is supposed to be a symptom.

    • ExCult.Jan

      Or just a spray tan.

  • FredEX2

  • thetastic

    What a lineup! Lawrence Wright is one of the most eloquent speakers I have heard on the overall topic, Steve Hassan is great for overall explanation on mind control, and Ray Jeffrey (squee!!!) the perfect person to talk about beating them in court. I can’t wait!

  • Nodge

    I wish kiwis were more aware, especially when Miscavige is visiting next weekend! This is the national press:

    Leah’s Aftermath series can’t get to New Zealand soon enough!

    • Dave Reams

      I hope they spear the dreaded clam!

    • madame duran

      I wish a bucket of liquid cow manure to fall from the sky and land right on David Miscavige in mid-speech. It likely won’t happen but I hope a creative Kiwi will prove me wrong.

    • Andrea ‘i-Betty’ Garner

      I read elsewhere that Aftermath is on its way to Australia and New Zealand pretty soon. Do you have a date for NZ yet?

    • Andrew Robertson

      Look closely at the shooped pictures of the “15,000 excited Scientologists” listening to Captain Miscavige’s oration in the publicity photos next week and wonder why the majority have Taiwanese faces!


    • Graham

      Unbelievable. Not one nod in the direction of the fake church’s many critics.

    • pukekochick

      That looks like poor journalism. Everything taken from Scio PR department apart from the jarring comment about not giving out DMs plans in advance. At least they were honest about the money coming from only Hundreds of New Zealanders.

    • ze moo

      The local arm of the church’s annual accounts for the year ending December 2015 showed donations of more than $1.9 million.
      In the accounts, filed before the completion of the $16m building, the church listed ownership of $10m worth of property in New Zealand.

      So DM spent over 14 million to ‘make it go right’? Then why doesn’t he pay up to finish the Valley? I have trouble believing that DM owns an additional 10 mill in property in Kiwi land. I expect that number applies to the new mOrg only.

  • JJ

    Lesson One in lawyer school… Never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to.

    • Jimmy3

      What is the second lesson?

      • Dave Reams

        “I don’t remember”

      • Jack99

        Based on tv shows, it’s: Always button your suit jacket as you stand up to walk around in court room.

      • ExCult.Jan

        Blink to divert attention when lying.

        • Kay (aka Nasty Lady)


      • Kay (aka Nasty Lady)

        Yell “sidebar” at the judge several times in a row, loudly. I learned that from watching OJ Simpson’s trial.

      • JJ

        Cash up front.

  • Vault Digger

    OT: here is an interview with Ross Blocher of the “Oh No! Ross and Carrie” podcast by the Huffington Post

  • pukekochick

    What does Mike Rinder say has happened to Marty Rathbun to make him change his mind about DM? Has Marty been paid off to shut him down?

    • Graham

      Wisely, Mike has said nothing.

      • Juicer77


    • Juicer77

      Welcome! Rinder has said nothing. As Graham says below, wisely so. I hope (and truly think) he will continue to be kind to Rathbun and a friend to him if he needs it. I predict he won’t say much in tomorrow’s Aftermath episode.

      Just my two cents – Miscavige hates Rathbun with a white-hot fury and would NEVER offer him any kind of concession. I think Rathbun is off on some path of his own and thinks he knows best about everything. But I’ve been wrong before. At this point no one really knows for sure.

      • Pittctycitizen

        You don’t think Scientology paid him off?

        • Juicer77

          No, I don’t. I think he’s operating on some plan all his own. But that’s purely me, speculating. I have no inside knowledge.

  • Juicer77

    Welcome, newbies and lurkers and under-the-radars. Take the comfy chair and we’ll make some fresh coffee. Questions are welcome – we were all new here once. f5

  • ChronicPainJournalBlog

    After the strong following of the A&E show, it will be interesting to see what the publics’ reaction to the Super Bowl Ad will be? If it will be positive or negative?

    Very sad to see the end of this series on A&E. It has been so informative and innovative.

    Does one think that maybe the CoS has something really bad on Marty Rathburn? I mean he did some pretty awful things to people and maybe the CoS found something that is so bad, he doesn’t want it out there. It seems so much worse to come forward and help discredit and defame Scientology and then backtrack. It sends such an awful message to those who are just starting to come out of the darkness and need people like him to support them. It’s just so cowardly.

    I can see his point that people need to move on and heal. However, the people that hurt them in the first place have a responsibility to help those they hurt. Looking at Mike Rinder, Tom DeVocht etc. They all are hanging their dirty laundry out there and helping people.

    It just seems to me that his motivation is self preservation and/or he got some serious settlement. But how many times can you sell your soul and not be able to get a refund?