Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Tiponi Grey, 1968-2018, a woman who told off Scientology for its lack of compassion

[Tiponi in July, with (L to R) Ishmael Bey, Mike Rinder, Leah Remini, and Hector Falu-Muhammad]

On Tuesday night, viewers of Leah Remini’s Scientology and the Aftermath were stunned when the episode finished with the words, “In Memoriam, Tiponi Grey.”

We were stunned too. We wrote about Tiponi in 2016, when she very publicly announced that she had quit her job working for the Church of Scientology, and we enjoyed seeing her on the episode, which we got to see a few days early. But we didn’t see the tribute to her on the screener we viewed, and we’re embarrassed to say that we were unaware that Tiponi died in early November.

The episode focused on Scientology’s bizarre relationship with the Nation of Islam, and it featured two former NOI members, Ishmael Bey and Hector Falu-Muhammad. But Remini also wanted to talk about Scientology’s attempt to reach the black community with its Inglewood “Ideal Org,” and so she also invited Tiponi on the program to talk about her experiences there.

The episode was taped in July in Los Angeles. Ishmael Bey tells us that at the taping, Tiponi didn’t seem ill.

“Indeed, she seemed fine. Very energetic. She spoke of future projects and her music,” Ishmael says.


In August, Tiponi posted a new music video that she hoped would catch the eye of Snoop Dogg.

According to her Facebook account, in August Tiponi had a hospital stay, for what she didn’t say, and then on September 3, Labor Day, she had a sudden and bizarre fall at her apartment complex, which happened to be caught on a security camera.

“I recently passed out in my hallway. It was tragic. I hit my head and could have put my eye out but I thank God it wasn’t my eye,” Tiponi wrote on a talent website where she was looking for her big break. She turned 50 on September 11.

Then, in early November, according to a family member, Tiponi’s daughter Tylan found her unresponsive in her home.

Ishmael says the daughter told him that Tiponi had died suddenly, but of natural causes. At a GoFundMe page Tylan set up, she said that her mother had been “ill for a long time.”

When we spoke to her for our 2016 story, Tiponi told us that she had two sons and a daughter, and that she first got involved in Scientology through a boyfriend. She spent several months working for Scientology, but as she explained to Leah, she became disillusioned that Scientology said it wanted to reach out to the black community but really had nothing real to offer to struggling working class people.

In Scientology, she told us, “when you get to a certain status, you learn what the true purpose is. I got to that point and realized it was just a business.”

We’re very glad that she told us that story, and that she tried to help even more people by talking to Leah Remini.

It saddens us that she did not live to see that episode aired. But she would likely be happy to know that her story has now reached so many more people.

UPDATE: Less than 24 hours before last night’s episode aired, Scientology sent a letter, written by spokeswoman Karin Pouw, accusing the Scientology and the Aftermath show of “ignoring facts” and continuing to use Mike Rinder, “a proven and admitted liar.”

In other words, pretty standard stuff. But it also contained this reference to Tiponi Grey, whose name was misspelled…

As for your other sources, we have little information to give you beyond the fact that we learned from the internet that Ms. Gray passed away in November and per our files she had not been a parishioner or staff member for many years, had a very brief involvement in the Church and was found at the time to be unqualified for both parishioner services and Church staff.

Leah Remini tells us she’s disgusted at the way Pouw’s letter took a swipe at Tiponi.


“The woman passed away, and they still couldn’t refrain from making disgusting comments about her,” she tells us. “If I saw Karin Pouw in the street, I would crack her in the mouth for writing that, and I would take the jail time. And Scientology can quote me on that. They take the memory of someone who worked for them and make those comments — this is not just a new low for them, it is such an offense to her family. It’s so disgusting I don’t even have the words.”



Bonus items from our tipsters

Here’s a fun invitation from the London org…


You may remember Charlie Wakley from his previous IAS appearance…



Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Elisabeth Moss, Michael Peña, and Laura Prepon]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!


Now on sale: Twice the Miss Lovely!

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. What a pleasure it is for us to work with her on this after we wrote about her ordeal as a victim of Scientology’s “Fair Game” campaigns in our 2015 book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, which is also on sale in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions.



[ONE year ago] For the first time: The FBI file of Gabe Cazares, the Clearwater mayor targeted by Scientology
[TWO years ago] Scientology and ‘aliens’: What did L. Ron Hubbard actually say about space invaders?
[THREE years ago] More leaked video: Watch Scientology welcome 2007, a year David Miscavige would regret
[FOUR years ago] Jon Atack packs a lot into a new short book — ‘Scientology: The Cult of Greed’
[FIVE years ago] Judge Whittemore grants Luis Garcia discovery of Scientology’s murky trusts in fraud lawsuit
[SIX years ago] Only 2,418 Scientologists in England and Wales, Vastly Outnumbered by Jedi Knights


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,296 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,427 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,929 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,409 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 472 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 360 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,667 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,535 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,309 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,083 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,429 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,995 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,915 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,082 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,663 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,923 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,963 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,675 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,201 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,290 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,430 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,750 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,606 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,725 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,081 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,383 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,489 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,892 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,763 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,346 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,841 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,095 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,204 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on December 12, 2018 at 00:15

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, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground 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

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates

Join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email