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Leah Remini and Mike Rinder cite Scientology interrogations as they support Paul Haggis

Yesterday, Mike Rinder and Leah Remini made a strong statement of support for director Paul Haggis at Rinder’s website. They explained how Scientologists are mined for intimate details about their lives, which they suspect may have led to recent accusations made against Haggis by four women, two of whom allege that they were raped, in 1996 and 2013.

Haggis appeared in an episode of Remini’s A&E series, Scientology and the Aftermath, this past season. Rinder and Haggis also appeared together in Alex Gibney’s 2015 HBO documentary about Scientology, Going Clear. (As did we, full disclosure.) Rinder left the church in 2007, Haggis in 2009, and Remini in 2013.

Rinder and Remini, in their statement, said that it was “suspect” that the accusers had not gone to law enforcement. The Church of Scientology denies that it is involved in the emergence of these women and their allegations.

Haggis filed his own lawsuit against one of his accusers, publicist Haleigh Breest, last month, the same day that she filed her own lawsuit against the director. In Haggis’s lawsuit, he is scheduled to be deposed on January 29 at the office of the law firm (Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady) representing Breest, the only one of the four accusers who has been named.


For now, we thought we would put in one place all of the statements that have been made as well as the most recent court documents for you to look over and discuss.

We’ll start with the statement that Rinder and Remini published yesterday:

There is plenty of reason to worry about defending anyone accused of sexual assault in today’s climate. But the fear of consequences for speaking our truth has not held us back in the past and isn’t about to start now.

We have supported victims of sexual abuse who have reached out to us and have worked with them and law enforcement to ensure justice is done for both victims and the accused. We have avoided trial by media.

In this time of heightened awareness of sexual predators, it is easy to remain quiet when an injustice is being perpetrated for fear of being tarred as politically incorrect. But more important to us than being politically correct is standing up for what we believe is right.

Paul Haggis is a good man who has been a friend to us and so many others. He has championed the rights of women, the LGBT community and has fought for and devoted himself to the underprivileged in the world. These are not “PR stunts” — he has devoted his time, skill and money to worthy causes without fanfare for decades.

Like all of us, Paul Haggis is not perfect. Unlike a lot of us, he is truly a gentleman. A gentle man, with impeccable manners and a generous heart.

Like those of us who were scientologists, we trusted and confided in our church to seek resolution for our shortcomings. What is different about scientology is the detailed records they maintain of everything you tell them. And beyond that, they conduct intense interrogations based on the idea that only when all specifics and details are disclosed can one find relief. The names, dates, and minute details of any indiscretions, and even thoughts, are all recorded.

It is not a crime to be attracted to women (or men). It’s not a crime to flirt. Or to have sexual relations with someone. It might not be acceptable to your significant other (if you have one), but it certainly isn’t criminal nor worthy of newspaper headlines.

Only a scientologist can understand the pressure one feels to offer up even the slightest thing that the scientology organization might consider a transgression of THEIR mores. This information is used against anyone who departs scientology and dares speak their mind. This is not imaginary. There is a documented history of such things. When someone is a declared an “enemy” by scientology, they are fair game.

With the name of everyone one might have thought of, flirted with or taken on a date, it takes little imagination to conjure a string of accusers being contacted and suddenly appearing out of the woodwork.

We expect the next “revelations” about Paul Haggis in this campaign to destroy him to be based on information culled from his scientology files in the form of more “anonymous” accusers, hiding behind a lawyer who will never have to disclose who is paying their bill.

Those who accuse without going to law enforcement, those who seek hush money to keep their stories secret, those who make accusations to the media anonymously – they are suspect. And when the target of these tactics is someone who is a prominent critic of scientology, it is very suspect.

Paul Haggis deserves, based on his record as a gentleman and humanitarian, to be judged when all the evidence has been taken under penalty of perjury in a court of law. Because claims of anonymous accusers who have NOT gone to law enforcement are not credible.


Leah Remini

Mike Rinder

Here is the Church of Scientology’s response to that statement, which was first published in the Hollywood Reporter…

Leah Remini, Paul Haggis and Mike Rinder have predictably thrown up a reprehensible smokescreen to turn horrific sexual assault and rape allegations made against Haggis by four women into a bigoted attack about their former religion.

Today’s transparent ploy by Remini and Rinder fails to mention that plaintiff Haleigh Breest’s court papers definitively state that “Ms. Breest has nothing to do with Scientology. Being a critic of Scientology does not give a man permission to rape.” Furthermore, Remini and Rinder conveniently fail to mention that the three additional women making allegations against Haggis all are on record to the Associated Press as stating that they are not Scientologists — as if an alleged rape victim’s religion should matter — and that these allegations have nothing to do with the Church. Not only are Remini and Rinder mouthing a debunked conspiracy theory that was dead on arrival when they posted today’s rant, they further offend countless other alleged victims with stunning insensitivity.

To be clear, the Church has never met the women in this case nor their attorneys and knows nothing about the accusations against Haggis other than what has appeared in press reports and public court documents.

A statement supporting Haggis was also made public by his ex-wife, Deborah Rennard…


As a woman, and an ex-actress in Hollywood, I have an unwavering support for the brave women, and some men, who have come forward to speak out against sexual predators in the film business. But even great movements by brave and sincere people can be used cynically.

I am not courageous. I don’t go out of my way to stick my neck out for others or champion an underdog. That would be my ex-husband Paul Haggis. In all the years I have known, been married to, worked together with, and been Paul’s ex, I have never known anyone more generous, caring, or selfless than him. When I met Paul, some 26 years ago, his credit rating was terrible – because he had co-signed mortgages in order that six of his friends could buy homes. And to a one they had all defaulted on those loans, bankrupting Paul.

Aghast, I asked how he could have put himself in that kind of position. His response was simple, “they’re my friends and they needed it”. That is Paul in a nutshell.

When Paul left Scientology in such a bold and vocal way, I didn’t say anything. I didn’t feel comfortable speaking out or even publicly supporting him, though privately I did. But now Paul’s name is being impugned, and I find I cannot sit by in silence. I feel a responsibility to stand up for the man who always stands up for others.

In 2010, when Paul was in Haiti right after the earthquake, he discovered there was no free high school for the children of the slums. Against all odds, he fought tirelessly to fundraise and build one. Today, four thousand of the poorest children in the western hemisphere are getting a secondary education and the chance to break out of the cycle of poverty because of him. He resigned from his charity only because of his paramount concern for this organization.

In December of 2017 Paul filed a lawsuit against a woman who had demanded a nine million dollar “settlement” in exchange for her not going public about her supposed claim. Paul would not negotiate or capitulate. Instead, he went straight to the District Attorney’s Office – who I understand did not know anything about this woman’s story – and insisted that they question him in detail. He also filed a suit against the woman for emotional distress. In doing so, Paul was the one who brought this woman’s accusations out publicly- not the woman, who was demanding millions of dollars in hush money.

Paul has also categorically denied these new anonymous accusations of violent behavior. I don’t know the women who are making these allegations against Paul; because they are anonymous. How is it even possible, in America in the year 2018, that someone can destroy another’s reputation and not even have to give their name?

I know Paul. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt and in my heart that he would never have committed any violent acts against women. I know it because I know his character, and I know these allegations go against the core of who he is.

But then there are also facts that back up my convictions.

At the time of the claimed incident with Ms. Breest in January of 2013, Paul had just had serious back surgery. On his doctor’s orders, he wore a surgical brace under his shirt through the recovery period. He wore it until his birthday in March and during that time had to be very careful how he stood or sat. He was no physical condition to restrain a young woman against her will. Also, the apartment in which he lives, that we used to share, has an elevator door that opens right into the apartment. All that is required to leave is simply to press the elevator button. No key is required. Ms. Breest alleges she couldn’t escape from Paul – however anyone can simply walk to the elevator door and push a button to exit, or walk to either of the fire escape doors, located in both bedrooms.

Then there is the claim by an anonymous woman that, in 1996, she was an in-house publicist working on Paul’s TV show, and that he allegedly raped her one night late in his office. In 1996 Paul and I were working together on that series. There was no in-house “publicist” working in our offices – I would know, I had the office adjacent to Paul’s. We frequently worked late, and I always stayed with Paul and we always left together. Although we were not yet married, we were living together, and together we would make the half hour drive home. Every morning. Every night.

What I know for a certainty, even in those moments as a wife or ex-wife where I was furious with him at times, is that Paul is not the type of man who would ever commit an act of violence or aggression against a woman. He has never forced me to do anything against my will; has never been violent to me, no matter the provocation. This is not a man who has a “pattern of violence against women” as is so luridly claimed.

And here is what else I know: Paul would use his dying breath defending a friend who was under attack or in need. He always stands up and fights for what is right, no matter the consequences. And if one of Paul’s friends or family members, a good acquaintance – or even a stranger – like the homeless man he had move in with him (and me!) after his first marriage ended – were ever in need, Paul would bend over backwards to help or defend them, because that’s who he is. But who is the champion for the champion of the underdog? I simply cannot stay quiet and let a good man’s reputation be impugned.

I’ve noticed lately there seems to be a shortage of good men, and I don’t happen to think we have any to spare.

Paul and I had our troubles. If we didn’t we wouldn’t have separated in late 2009, and we wouldn’t have divorced after that. He has flaws, as do we all, he is by no stretch of the imagination a perfect man. But I know Paul better than just about anyone on the planet. I have seen him in the best and worst of times, I know who he is inside and out, and I know he would never use coercion, threats, or violence to have sex with a woman.

Deborah Rennard
January 10, 2018

And here is a statement made by the attorney of Paul Haggis after the three new accusers came forward…

Mr. Haggis denies these anonymous claims in whole.

In a society where one of a person’s fundamental rights is the ability to confront an accuser, that right has now been eviscerated when it comes to anyone being charged in the press with any sort of sexual misconduct.

Notably, no one has reached out to anyone on Mr. Haggis’ team other than the press to report this.

He views the fact that these reports appear to be spearheaded from the law-firm representing Ms. Breest, as a further tactic to try to harm him and continue their effort to obtain money.

Mr. Haggis also questions whether Scientology has any role here, which he notes has been attacking him for years with false accusations.

We reiterate our claim against Ms. Breest, and note again that we initiated the legal proceedings, not Ms. Breest.

And now the legal documents. Here is Haleigh Breest’s amended complaint, which includes allegations by the three additional accusers, one of whom alleges being raped…

Haleigh Breest v. Paul Haggis, amended complaint

Haleigh Breest v. Paul Haggis, Amended Complaint by Tony Ortega on Scribd

And here is the complaint filed by Paul Haggis in December, accusing Haleigh Breest of trying to extort him…

Paul Haggis v. Haleigh Breest

Paul Haggis v. Haleigh Breest, Complaint by Tony Ortega on Scribd


Make your plans now!



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,996 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 142 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,205 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,979 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,753 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,099 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,593 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,633 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,345 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 871 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,960 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,100 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,420 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,395 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 751 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,053 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,159 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,562 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,434 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,016 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,521 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,765 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,874 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on January 16, 2018 at 07:00

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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 can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), 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 | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ


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