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Pastor’s ‘premature’ announcement of July 22 event causes A&E to cancel ‘Aftermath’ taping

[Pastor Willy Rice]

Clearwater, Florida Baptist preacher Willy Rice of Calvary Church had a bold statement to make about the Church of Scientology. The problem is, he might have made that statement too soon. Or at least, someone who works for him did.

That’s the story we’re hearing now that it has turned out the July 22 taping of an episode of A&E’s Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath series at Calvary Church was initially confirmed to us by the Aftermath team, and then was pulled after Pastor Rice’s “premature” announcement created chaos for the network.

Aftermath‘s co-star, Mike Rinder, had developed a relationship with Pastor Rice, as numerous Facebook posts show, going back several months. Pastor Rice then wrote up his announcement to his congregation, saying that on July 22, a taping of the show would be held there that would not be a church event or even a Christian event, but a chance for Clearwater residents to get answers about Scientology and about Remini’s show. The message also denounced Scientology as a cult and said, “Our community has been tormented by this Goliath for far too long.”

Yesterday afternoon, while Rice was out of town, one of his employees sent that fiery message out to the Calvary congregation. Naturally, it then began to be forwarded widely, and a copy ended up in our inbox. We asked the Aftermath team about it, and were told that the taping was indeed happening. With that confirmation, we published the message. We were also told that the Aftermath team would give us a public statement about it, but they never did.

It now appears that the dissemination of the letter caught A&E flatfooted, and the legal and logistical issues around a public forum in Clearwater quickly got out of hand.


“The response was overwhelming,” we’re now being told. “But the event on Saturday [July 22] is not happening.”

That’s really disappointing to us personally. Thankfully, the Clearwater hotel we’d booked a room with let us cancel without penalty. So there’s at least a silver lining.

Besides watching Leah Remini and Mike Rinder in action with Pastor Willy Rice, we were really looking forward to meeting Bruno the MinPin.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on July 13, 2017 at 20:00

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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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