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Believe it or not, a second season of Reza Aslan’s ‘Believer’ is coming

[Reza Aslan and Rick Ross]

We’ve told you about cult expert Rick Ross many times in the past. We first wrote about Rick more than 20 years ago when we were living in Phoenix, and he still shows up here at the Bunker from time to time.

And then yesterday, he sent us an email chain that we knew you’d want to see. He generously agreed to let us share it with you.

On Monday, Rick was approached by a CNN producer who works with Reza Aslan, and since that’s punishment enough, we’ll do them a solid and hold back their identity. Here are the key lines from the email they sent Rick:

I’m a producer for Believer, a CNN series that premiered earlier this year and follows noted author, scholar and adventurer Reza Aslan as he immerses himself in six different that are largely misunderstood by outsiders.

Our first season ended very successfully, and we’re now working on research and development for season two. I’m writing to you because we’re interested in exploring active cults in America. Given your immense knowledge and expertise on the topic, I was wondering if we could set up a time to speak with you over Skype. Do you have a free hour this week to talk? If so, that would be fantastic.


Hey, that’s news — a second season of Believer is on the way. We wonder if it will generate as much criticism from religion experts as the first season did. (We had our own criticisms of Aslan’s episode on Scientology, which we called ‘dishonest.’)

So here’s the response that Rick Ross sent to the CNN producer, in its entirety…

I don’t think Reza Aslan has any coherent understanding concerning destructive authoritarian groups called “cults.” He has demonstrated this repeatedly in interviews and very specifically in the episode about Scientology.

Aslan didn’t even begin to penetrate the surface of Scientology in any meaningful way that could be understood by people interested in objective facts about the organization. Instead, he seemed intellectually lazy and apparently didn’t bother to seriously research Scientology.

I deeply respect CNN. And have worked on many news programs for CNN over the years. For example, I have helped producers at “Anderson Cooper 360.” Cooper has done excellent work reporting on Scientology.

But Aslan appears to be interested in sensational entertainment rather than anything serious or substantial.


Rick Ross

Ouch. That’s going to leave a mark.


Jeffrey Tambor shows up only blocks from Big Blue

One of our tipsters notes that actor Jeffrey Tambor is making an appearance today at a store he partly owns, Skylight Books, which is only a few blocks from Scientology’s “Big Blue” headquarters in Los Angeles.

In his memoir, Are You Anybody?, Tambor takes a few swings at the church, which he was involved with for several years. He ditched Scientology when it asked him to dump his wife and spend more money on his courses.

It might be interesting to see if he provides any more details about that today, so close to Scientology’s L.A. fortress. Instructions on how you might get into the event, which is free, can be found at Skylight’s website.


Countdown to Denver!


HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25 at the Residence Inn Denver City Center. Go here to start making your plans, and book your room soon!


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,760 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,517 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,863 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,357 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,397 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,109 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 635 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,724 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,864 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,184 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,159 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 515 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,817 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 924 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,326 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,199 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 780 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,285 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,529 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,638 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on May 24, 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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