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


Leah Remini and Mike Rinder dare Scientology defenders to go on camera

Yesterday, Leah Remini and Mike Rinder used their Twitter accounts to call out church leader David Miscavige and other Scientology figures, daring them to be interviewed on camera.


Presumably, the taping that they’re talking about would be for future episodes of A&E’s Scientology and the Aftermath, which aired the final episode of its third season on February 5.

We haven’t heard yet from A&E whether there’s going to be a fourth season, but last year word from A&E of a new season came four months after the 2nd season’s final episode aired, so it’s still early.

Since the beginning of Remini’s series, the show has included disclaimers that Scientology’s representatives have been asked to come on the show, but have consistently refused.

Scientology instead has tried to influence A&E and its parent, Disney, with lawyer letters, sketchy websites and videos, and outright smears on social media.

Church leader David Miscavige has not gone on live television since a disastrous 1992 Nightline episode. After that, he did one more on-camera segment under much more controlled conditions, and in 1998 a print interview for the Tampa Bay Times. But since then, he has granted no interviews of any kind.

Heber Jentzsh was a fairly regular participant on television news programs in the 1980s and early 1990s, but the 83-year-old Church of Scientology International president became one of the prisoners of “The Hole” and is confined to Scientology’s secretive international management base near Hemet, California.

For a brief time in 2005, Tom Cruise became vocal about Scientology, but his notorious Today Show debate with Matt Lauer about psychiatric drugs made him look ridiculous, and he’s hardly uttered a word about the church since then.

Tommy Davis took over the role of international spokesman in the 2000s, and he brought an aggressive style to it, walking out of a Martin Bashir interview, barking with the BBC’s John Sweeney, and telling John Roberts on CNN that there was no “disconnection” policy that splits up families in Scientology. (Many former Scientologists have told us seeing Tommy lie about that on national television was such a shock, it helped them decide to leave the church.)

Tommy’s tenure as spokesman ended after New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright made him look ridiculous in his February 2011 epic piece, “The Apostate.” Records indicate that Tommy was out of his job a month later. Since then he’s worked for a couple of billionaires, Australian gambling mogul James Packer and Santa Monica real estate investor Thomas Barrack. But he testified in a 2013 deposition that he’s still a member of the Church of Scientology and he has said nothing about his tenure in the Sea Org.

Since Tommy’s departure the only people who have spoken for Scientology are its current spokeswoman Karin Pouw, who only emails or writes letters and never appears on camera, or attorneys who send letters. One of them, Monique Yingling, has spoken for Scientology on a couple of national television programs, with ill-fated results.

Scientology’s celebrities rarely get asked about the organization’s controversies, and when they do they have been taught to change the subject. Elisabeth Moss provided a textbook example of this recently when she was asked three questions about Scientology by the Daily Beast, which is more than most publications manage to do. But in each one, she artfully dodged the question and said essentially nothing about Scientology itself, despite the Daily Beast’s claim that she had “opened up” about the church.

L. Ron Hubbard made it very clear to his followers: Never discuss the real goings on about Scientology not only with the outside world but even with fellow Scientologists. Just tell people to “buy a book and learn for themselves” what Scientology is all about. So, avoiding interviews is literally built in to Scientology, and will probably never change.



Wise Beard Man is back on the air!

Mark Bunker is back in a big way, telling us that he’s started a new video series at his new Patreon channel, which we encourage you to visit.

“For 20 years I have been pointing a camera at Scientology and letting the world see the results. Equal parts scary and amusing, I have been sharing my encounters on YouTube and at my website so others can find out more about the history and reality of what Scientology is and how the organization behaves,” he says. And he starts things off with “Dining with the SPs.”


Bonus items from our tipsters

Spotted in Clearwater, a ‘The Way to Happiness’ logo tire cover!



HowdyCon 2019 in Los Angeles

THURSDAY NIGHT OPPORTUNITY: 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. But we also want to point out that Cathy Schenkelberg’s “Squeeze My Cans” will be running at the Hollywood Fringe, and we encourage HowdyCon attendees to see her show on Thursday night, June 20. Tickets and more dates available here.

Friday night June 21 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. Note: You need to ask for the “family reunion” special rate.



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

[Catherine Bell, Chick Corea, and Nancy Cartwright]

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] A new ex-Scientologist memoir provides a journey through extortion in the rank-and-file
[TWO years ago] With Scientology at war in Clearwater, religious studies types still seeking its warm & fuzzy side
[FOUR years ago] Secretly taped Scientology executive complains about cheating on the ‘Survival Rundown’
[FIVE years ago] Chris Shelton on the origins of Scientology’s notorious ‘Fair Game’ policy
[SIX years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: Baby We’re Amazed!
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Critics Find That Someone Wants Their Cellphone Records


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,430 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,559 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,063 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,543 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 606 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 494 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,801 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,669 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,443 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,217 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,563 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,129 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,049 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,216 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,797 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,058 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,097 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,809 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,335 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,424 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,564 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,884 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,740 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,859 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,215 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,517 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,623 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,025 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,897 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,480 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,975 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,229 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,338 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 28, 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email