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Tom Cruise, John Travolta and some other rare celebs made Scientology event in Florida

[David Miscavige and his galaxy of stars]

We noted yesterday that Scientology posted images from its L. Ron Hubbard Birthday Event which was held Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida. And now we’ve had a closer look at those images and found some surprises.

Tom Cruise and John Travolta were in the front row, for example, along with the usual group of enthusiastic donors and Freedom Medal winners.

The involvement of both Cruise and Travolta is really a surprise. We haven’t seen either of them at a Miscavige event in many years.

How do we know they were there? We blew up a shot of the crowd that Scientology itself had posted…



…until we could make out some of the people in the very center of the front row, and this was the result:


We believe that’s Travolta on the left in the light-colored tuxedo — he’s been going out in public bald lately, and with a goatee. There’s a woman we don’t recognize between them, and then Cruise is making his forceful applause, which we’ve seen before.

For several years now, we’ve been saying that Scientology has been increasing the importance of its Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida at the expense of its other major locations in Los Angeles and England.

Cruise is not only having a double-penthouse built right in the Flag Land Base footprint in downtown Clearwater, but Travolta and Kirstie Alley have purchased expensive homes nearby, and we see other signs that the Florida spiritual mecca is becoming more and more the center of Scientology’s world.

Cruise and Travolta both showing up to the Birthday Event there seems to us another major validation of that trend.

And we spotted other Scientology celebrities at this event that we either have never seen at big annual events or not in a long time.

We were stunned, for example, to spot Greta van Susteren’s husband, retired attorney John P. Coale, at the right end of the front row, standing a couple of seats over from actress Erika Christensen and her hipster husband, cyclist Cole Maness…


[Coale is the one with the red tie]


Greta never talks about Scientology, and people find it hard to reconcile the idea of a hard-nosed journalist and attorney like Greta being such a longtime, dedicated member. But that’s what people like Mike Rinder tell us, that she was very involved behind the scenes when he was an executive in the church. Still, she keeps her involvement pretty much on the down low. You would never expect her, for example, to show up at one of the big annual events. Even her husband being there is pretty stunning.

Can someone please ask Greta about this? Why didn’t she go along with her husband? Why does she never talk about her Scientology involvement? How can she highlight injustices around the world in her work and never discuss allegations of abuse in her own church?

To the left of Christensen and Maness, this is the next group…


We see Florida electricity deregulation mavericks Tom Cummins, his wife Victoria, and Jim Bridgeforth there in the front row, and right behind Tom we see Matt and Kathy Feshbach.

In the next set, we see Chick Corea on the right (Travolta is next to him, behind Miscavige’s leg), and in the center of the photo there’s Scientology hamhock Grant Cardone and his wife Elena…


To the far left of the front row, we see another celebrity that we’ve never seen at a major event. It’s German artist Gottfried Helnwein, who lives in an Irish castle…


We’d like to hear your thoughts on how Miscavige managed to get more longtime celebrities at this event, when we’ve seen very few celebrities at other events in Los Angeles and East Grinstead, England in recent years.

Is it a sign of Miscavige’s power as Scientology’s ultimate leader that he’s able to attract such big names? Or is it a sign of desperation that Scientology is concentrating its star power in a small Florida town?


HowdyCon 2019 in Los Angeles

This year’s HowdyCon is in Los Angeles. People tend to come in starting on Thursday, and that evening we will have a casual get-together at a watering hole. We have something in mind, but for now we’re not giving out information about it.

Friday night we will be having an event in a theater (like we did on Saturday night last year in Chicago). There will not be a charge to attend this event, but if you want to attend, you need to RSVP with your proprietor at tonyo94 AT gmail.

On Saturday, we are joining forces with Janis Gillham Grady, who is having a reunion in honor of the late Bill Franks. Originally, we thought this event might take place in Riverside, but instead it’s in the Los Angeles area. If you wish to attend the reunion, you will need to RSVP with Janis (janisgrady AT gmail), and there will be a small contribution she’s asking for in order to help cover her costs.

HOTEL: Janis tells us she’s worked out a deal with Hampton Inn and Suites, at 7501 North Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, (818) 768-1106. We have a $159 nightly rate for June 19 to 22.



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

[Kelly Preston, Beck, and Anne Archer]

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!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] What do you want to see in Leah Remini’s third season of ‘Scientology and the Aftermath’?
[TWO years ago] Leah Remini’s second season of ‘Scientology and the Aftermath’ — what do you want to see in it?
[THREE years ago] Scientology disconnection rips apart another family, this time affecting a familiar face
[FOUR years ago] ‘Going Clear’ subject Tom DeVocht gets a lesson in Scientology’s social media surveillance
[FIVE years ago] Ryan Hamilton files two new suits against Scientology’s drug rehab network — in California
[SIX years ago] VIDEO: What Did You Lose in Scientology?
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology’s Future History! A Vision from 1969, and our Stats Roundup


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,389 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,518 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,022 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,502 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 565 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 453 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,760 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,628 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,402 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,176 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,522 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,088 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,008 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,175 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,756 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,016 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,056 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,768 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,294 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,383 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,523 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,843 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,699 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,818 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,174 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,476 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,582 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,984 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,856 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,439 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,934 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,188 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,297 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 15, 2019 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post 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 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. Our book about Paulette, 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, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | 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, or 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 | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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