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Here’s how Scientology tried to keep you from seeing tonight’s episode of ‘Leah Remini’

[Tara Reile]

“My uncle told me that if I were to allow the episode to air, I would personally be responsible for millions of deaths. He said the people who watch it will walk right into the hands of the psychs,” Tara Reile told us yesterday.

Tara appears in tonight’s episode of A&E’s Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, and we called her up after we had a chance to view the episode ourselves. It’s a frightening hour of television about what Tara and another child of Scientologists, Nathan Rich, went through as teenagers at Scientologist-run ranches in California and New Mexico. If you saw last night’s preview, or if you’ve seen some of the promotional spots online, you know it’s going to be a harrowing experience hearing these stories tonight.

But Tara wanted us to know about what she’s been through just in the last couple of weeks as Scientology tried to put the full-court press on her to convince A&E not to show the episode. The church really, really does not want you to watch this episode tonight.

[A programming note. Scientology and the Aftermath has moved to a new time slot! Didn’t hear about that? Well, of course not. A&E simply insists on confusing viewers with how it rolls out this series, including the odd way it numbers episodes and the way it claims that reruns with slight modifications are “new” episodes. (This feels like a ruse to convince people who DVR episodes to record anything labeled “new,” but A&E wouldn’t be that crass, would they?) Tonight, in the usual 9 pm slot for new episodes, A&E will show the Paul Haggis/Karen Pressley episode on Scientology celebrities (Season 2 Episode 5, or Season 2 Episode 6, depending on how you count the “special” episodes, but labeled “Season 1 Episode 6” on A&E’s schedule. Confusing? Of course, it’s A&E). This rerun has been labeled “new” because it apparently has some additional footage included. Then at 10 pm, A&E will air the actual new episode on Mace-Kingsley ranch featuring Nathan Rich and Tara Reile. We can already predict that the confusion on social media is going to be biblical.]

Tara tells us she has an aunt in California and an uncle in New York who are both Scientology OT 8’s, the highest level on the “Bridge to Total Freedom.” And both called her a couple of weeks ago, after the church had learned that she was going to be in an episode of Aftermath, and after the first teases of her episode showed up before the series took a two-week break.


“Both phone calls mimicked each other,” Tara says. “They both said they had seen the preview on TV. My aunt was basically asking me questions about the production aspect. ‘Did they fly you out? Did they come to you? Did they pay you? Did they do your makeup and hair? Was it at a hotel? Was it a production company?’ My uncle mentioned Slauson Productions by name [the production company actually filming the series]. He also asked if I had been paid. He said, ‘Doesn’t it anger you that Leah is making money off of your story?'”

It was obvious to Tara that her aunt and uncle had both been instructed by Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs to make the phone calls, and what questions to ask. And that they were both mostly interested in whether she had been paid to appear in the show. (She wasn’t.)

“I was on the phone for four hours with my uncle. It was so Scientology — he was super polite, but he was saying I should be thankful that I was sent to the ranch, and I should be grateful for doing such hard labor because it made me a strong person.”

In the episode, Nathan Rich explains that he was sent to the ranch at only 8 years old, from 1990 to 1991, when the Mace-Kingsley Ranch, founded and named after two high-ranking Scientologists, was first located in Palmdale, California. The ranch was a sort of reform school for kids who had been dropped off there by their Scientologist parents, and instead of schooling, the place was a kind of labor camp, interrupted by terrorizing by one of the men running it, a miserable wretch named Wally Hanks.


[Nathan Rich]

An audio tape of Hanks attacking a 15-year-old boy with a paddle is played as Rich insists that it is Hanks we hear on it. Hanks himself denied to A&E that he is on the tape, and the Church of Scientology denied that the ranch was a church operation. But there’s no question that the ranch was run on Scientology principles, by Scientologists, and housed Scientology kids who had been dropped off by their Scientology parents (who were paying Scientology prices — Tara’s parents spent $150,000 for her time there, which was just short of two years).

After Nathan’s experience in Palmdale, the ranch was moved to Reserve, New Mexico, and he was sent a second time, where he met Tara. Both were 14 years old, and were there in 1996. Tara was there for almost two years, and Nathan for three years. Their stories on tonight’s episode will shock you, particularly about how easy it was for their parents to turn them over and forget about them.

Now, however, Tara’s family suddenly has concerns for her welfare, as her aunt and uncle tried to convince her to pull her cooperation from the episode.

“They both brought up a suicide attempt from 11 years ago,” she says. “My uncle asked if I really wanted the world to know all of my private business.”

She took that as a mild threat about what Scientology would include in what almost certainly will be new material tonight on its “Leah Remini — Aftermath: After Money” website, which has featured video interviews of family members and friends attacking the people who contribute to Leah’s show.

Tara discussed with us several things that she expects to see the church dredge up in an attack video on her, just like it did for past participants like Gary Morehead, John Brousseau, Karen Pressley, and many of the people who took part in Season One.

After Tara’s long conversation with her uncle, he called the rest of her family members. “He said the church was trying to find any dirt on me that they can. And they’re trying to prove that I was paid by the show, but I wasn’t,” she says. “My aunt and uncle both told me the ranch was not part of the church. But they’re only saying that now. As far as I was concerned, it was always part of Scientology.”

Her uncle told her that she could be responsible for the deaths of millions if she didn’t press A&E to cancel the episode.

“My aunt actually asked me what it would take for me to do that, to ask A&E to pull the episode,” she says.

But even though she isn’t looking forward to the smear job she will probably be subjected to tonight, she’s looking forward to the episode airing.

“How am I feeling? Literally every feeling someone could feel. Apprehensive. Excited. Fulfilled,” she says.

So are viewers as they wait for tonight’s episode, we suspect.


Bonus items from our tipsters

Actual caption: “Our Very Own Student Minister Tony Muhammad has received The Freedom Award from the Church of Scientology and will be recognized on Friday for his great work in humanitarian affairs. He has traveled thru out the world sharing the information on the ‘VAXXED’ documentary and how vaccines are causing autism under the Divine Leadership of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, the Peace rides and resolving conflicts between gang rivals. You don’t want to miss this Beautiful Presentation, Dinner and Entertainment”



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,898 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 44 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,107 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,881 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,655 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,001 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,495 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,535 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,247 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 773 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,862 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,002 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,322 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,297 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 653 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,955 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,061 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,464 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,337 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 918 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,423 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,667 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,776 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on October 10, 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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