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Supporting Leah Remini and her show — what’s the risk for viewers who expose Scientology?

 
There’s a law firm in Manhattan that struggled this week to cope after it came under a bizarre attack.

We want to tell you about it, and to try to convey the sense of panic and bewilderment that the targets of the attack experienced. But after some consideration, we’ve decided that the only way to tell this story is by not naming anyone — the targets of the attack as well as the names of the attackers themselves, which are probably not real identities anyway.

What we can tell you is that on about August 23, a Manhattan lawyer, after watching an episode of A&E’s Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, took to Twitter to say that she had formerly been a psychiatric clinician, and that in her opinion, “Scientology is institutionalized mental illness.”

It was a harsh assessment, but the lawyer’s reach on Twitter was modest. She had only about 1,200 followers, although her use of the hashtag #ScientologyTheAftermath helped give her message a chance to be seen more widely — including one person in particular who happened to notice it.

It was Leah Remini, who retweeted the lawyer’s message to her 567,000 followers.

The lawyer tells us that once Leah launched her tweet to a larger audience, she suddenly became the subject of interest by two Twitter accounts. One of them (we’ll call him “Hank”) ridiculed her reference to being a “former” clinician, as if that meant she had been fired from her job before becoming a lawyer (she hadn’t). The other (we’ll call him “Jim”) was mildly rude, and persistently so: “you’re neither smart enough to write or have anything interesting that people want to hear,” he wrote.

For several days, the lawyer responded to them with barbs of her own, ridiculing “Hank” for his poor spelling, and jabbing “Jim” as “clinically insane.”

At that point, it was not unlike a lot of name-calling on Twitter, and neither Hank or Jim’s accounts gave a hint of what was to come next.

Yesterday, we dove into the entire histories of both accounts — both of which were relatively short, each having existed for only several months — and found that they did have a lot in common. Hank and Jim spend nearly all day, every day, launching vicious attacks at a few targets, nearly all of which happen to be women involved in the comic book industry.

Obsessively, day in and day out, Hank and Jim comment on the looks and talent of these women, making vile suggestions about their sexuality. And sadly, it’s completely unsurprising.

As USA Today and many other publications have pointed out, Internet harassment of women — particularly those who dare to express an opinion, and especially about comic books or video games — is epidemic.

Jim appears to be a man in his late 20s, and Hank claims to be a teenager, although the wording of some of his tweets makes us suspect he’s much older. The two might also be related, judging by something Hank mentioned several months ago.

After Jim started his account, he initially expressed some support for Leah Remini and her A&E show, but then his attitude toward her gradually changed. He began to accuse Remini of not caring about the people she must have attracted into Scientology as one of its celebrities. Hank, meanwhile, was consistently skeptical of Leah and her mission. But even with Hank’s criticisms, and Jim’s evolving attitude, neither of them gave the impression of being Scientologists or Scientology operatives.

But after they began to tangle with the Manhattan attorney, things took a frightening turn.

The lawyer blocked both accounts, but then she found that a detailed page about her had suddenly showed up on a misogynistic website. It called her a “run of the mill, bat-shit insane, all around Feminazi libtard suffering from Unwarranted Self-Importance that should be barefoot, Pregnant and in a kitchen making sammiches and bringing men beers rather than trying to succeed in her secret man-hating club goal of either boring all men to impotence or destroying them with her secret power up move of giving out Brain Tumors through her incessant use of Social Media because some Uncle had to go and convince her she was interesting when he was making Small Talk during one of their molestation slash ice-cream parties.”

The lawyer was stunned. Her husband had died of a brain tumor, and she didn’t think it was an accident that the anonymous website had included that detail.

The page went on to ridicule her career and the books she’s written, calling them “self-published” (they aren’t), and going into details about her consulting work.

“Much like the ugly girl rationalizing to her emo blog on why she’s so much better than the pretty girl with the nice body, rich parents, huge tits and long legs by saying she’s smart, has a personality and genuinely cares about people, all [she] is really doing is hating on L. Ron Hubbard because he and $cientology have everything she wants out of life: money, fame, a tax-free status and brain washed accolites who will do whatever is ordered of them…”

After the web page had been put up, emails started showing up at the Manhattan law firm to make sure that the attorney’s bosses knew about it.

“They sent a barrage of emails to my bosses to get me fired,” she tells us. “Our computer company blocked their IP addresses. It’s been a campaign to destroy my life and intimidate me over a tweet. It’s insane.”

“I hope you intend to do something about her because I am telling my church group about your firm and how you choose to represent the world by hiring angry, bitter people that call people names and hate people simply on religion alone,” one of the emails reads. After the email accounts were blocked, the senders (whose names now were not Hank or Jim) started coming through from new accounts.

Then, this week, one of the firm’s partners reported that his wife had found a suspicious man taking photographs of their house.

The lawyer says the firm’s partners are seriously shaken. They’ve worked hard to block the emails. The attorney has killed her Twitter account and is going completely silent on social media and otherwise on the Internet.

She says the firm’s partners are standing by her, but the entire office is on edge. She told us they all assume that they are under attack by the Church of Scientology itself.

We told her we couldn’t be certain of it. Photographing the partner’s house, the smear webpage, and the emails are all tools that Scientology uses in its “noisy investigations,” some of which we have been subjected to ourselves. But the original Twitter accounts struck us more as garden variety women-hating trolls who got wound up when the attorney returned their insults.

We just don’t know.

But we will suggest to all of our readers that there are risks, even now, to speaking out about controversial topics online.

Make sure you think twice about it, and take precautions. Things only seem like they’re going to get hairier still as Leah Remini’s second season plows forward.

 
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Leah Remini and Mike Rinder at the Emmys tonight

Yesterday, Mike Rinder posted a photo of his Creative Arts Emmys tickets…

 

 
Now, if you remember the last time we were watching for an Emmy award — when Alex Gibney and Lawrence Wright were up for their HBO documentary Going Clear two years ago — the “Creative Arts” Emmys ceremony takes place a week ahead of the main event, so the Television Academy can hand out boatloads of awards for technical categories and other areas that don’t fit the big live broadcast next week.

That means there’s no televised broadcast, but there is a stream, which you can watch below. Also, we’ll be looking for tweeting from Rinder, et al.

 

 

 
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Scientology ‘Volunteer Ministers’ having their Mandela moment?

Nah. We want to thank the tipster who sent us this video, but we’re now convinced this bad interpreter for the deaf was not a Scientology Volunteer Minister.

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,868 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,077 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,851 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,625 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,971 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,465 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,505 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,217 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 743 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,832 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,972 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,292 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,267 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 623 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,925 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,032 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,434 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,307 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 888 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,393 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,637 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,746 days.

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on September 9, 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 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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