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Scientology loses another outlet for attracting young acting talent in Hollywood

[Steven Mango, YouTuber and former Scientologist]

In 2014, friend to the Underground Bunker and Chicago Fire actor Christian Stolte convinced SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union, to stop taking ads from Scientology. And now, Rod Keller catches up with Steven Mango, who has picked up that baton.

Steven Mango is on a mission to help fellow actors avoid the trap he fell into when he was recruited into Scientology. In 2009 Mango answered an ad in Backstage magazine for a seminar for aspiring actors with actor Gino Montesinos. Montesinos is a Scientologist, and the seminars at the Celebrity Center in Hollywood appeal to the thousands who come to Los Angeles seeking fame. Now Mango’s mission is to convince the entertainment industry not to accept ads for those seminars, and he has recently succeeded with Actors Access.

Scientology’s fixation dates back to 1955 when founder L. Ron Hubbard announced Project Celebrity in which Scientologists were to receive a celebrity “quarry” to be hunted and recruited into the group. The top movie stars and artists of the day were targeted then, but today the Celebrity Center in Hollywood targets those who haven’t had their big break yet. They are promised help with finding an agent or manager, access to directors, producers and writers. But the goal for Scientology is not to help aspiring actors, it is to recruit new members.


[Project Celebrity in Ability Magazine]


We spoke with Karen Schless Pressley, author of Escaping Scientology – A True Insider’s Story. Her involvement with the seminars was from 1984-89 when she was Public Executive Secretary, or PES of the Celebrity Center. The PES is the head of Division 6 in any Scientology organization, the Public Division responsible for recruiting and introductory courses. She says Scientology has no interest in helping actors or any artist. “The sole purpose is to bring in the raw meat,” she says. The term comes from a policy by Hubbard: “The guy thinks he’s a brain. He doesn’t know he’s a thetan, he isn’t up there and he thinks he’s deteriorated into a bit of matter, he thinks he’s a body and so forth. Hence this jocular term ‘raw meat.'” (SH Spec 43, 6410C20)

Scientology runs on statistics, and Pressley’s job was ruled by two: Celebrity New Members to Central Files, and Celebrity Bodies in Shop. The easiest way to get a potential recruit into the Central Files of the org was to sell them a Scientology book, such as The Problems of Work, or to enroll them in a course. “Musicians or actors can be convinced that they can improve how they relate to their audience through improved communications skills,” she says. The Communications Course is one of the introductory courses in any Scientology org.


[Actress Denice Duff and Director/Producer Isa Totah]

By introducing recruits to the language of Scientology, participating in communications drills and “locationals with your environment,” participants are prepared for the grade chart, auditing and a trip up the Bridge to Total Freedom. Mango says, “Before long I was on course all day and, oh yeah, what happened to my acting career? I was always in recruitment sessions trying to get me to join the Sea Org. It sort of sucks you in.”


[Actor Marcus Coloma and actress/acting coach Amanda Reed]

Since leaving Scientology $50,000 poorer in 2013 Mango has worked to convince trade publications not to accept ads for the seminars. “SAG-AFTRA, the actors union, stopped taking ad dollars from Scientology, which was huge. Now, the big project for me was to stop ads running on Actors Access/Breakdown Services as well as Backstage Magazine,” he says. Actors Access allows actors to apply for parts directly with casting directors. Most parts are listed with the sister site Breakdown Services, which is reserved for agents.

Mango says, “I informed an employee of Breakdown Services about what actually happens inside Scientology after going to the actor seminars hosted at CC. He later told me Actors Access had stopped accepting those ads. Many actors new to Hollywood are searching for ways to break into the industry. They see Scientology ads and they promise help, guidance, tools, and the answers to make it in Hollywood. I will do anything I can to prevent these starry eyed folks from being taken advantage of by Scientology.”


[Tom Mendola does not have a listed credit in IMDB for any of these films. He is sometimes described as an actor, and sometimes a musician]

Mango has set his sights on his next target, Backstage Magazine. “They have been in bed with Scientology for many years. Backstage is the number one trade paper for actors. It has articles, ads, casting calls, and is the top resource for actors. I was told while in Scientology that they had staff members in Backstage who are Scientologists. They buy the biggest, glossiest full page ads every week. They have a booth at Backstage’s annual Actor Fest trade show. We need to put pressure on Backstage to stop running ads and taking Scientology ad dollars when it is harming and scamming actors new to Hollywood.”

— Rod Keller


Jeffrey Augustine interviews Valeska Paris

Says Jeff: “Valeska Paris joined the Scientology Cadet Org at six years of age. She then joined the Sea Org when she was 14. As a teenager she was sent to Scientology’s ship the Freewinds. In this gripping podcast Valeska discusses the surprise raid on the Freewinds by the French police in 1999.”



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,952 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 98 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,161 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,935 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,709 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,055 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,549 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,589 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,301 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 827 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,916 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,056 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,376 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,351 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 707 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,009 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,115 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,518 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,391 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 972 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,477 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,721 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,830 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on December 3, 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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