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YouTube permanently shutters channel that exposed Scientology’s bigotry

[Abdul Malik Sayyid (Tony) Muhammad]

A researcher who goes by the moniker Independent Scientology News has learned that YouTube rejected his appeal and permanently shut down his channel for posting videos that were “severe violations of our
Community Guidelines on Hate Speech.”

Those videos were recordings from lectures by Nation of Islam and Scientology figure Abdul Malik Sayyid (Tony) Muhammad, who regularly expresses bigoted ideas, particularly about Jewish people.

As we pointed out previously, ISN was caught up in a wave of channel suspensions resulting from a recent crackdown by YouTube on extremist speech. The online giant was making a long overdue clean up, but because it relied on automated software, it had caught whistleblowers in its nets along with the extremists it was trying to fumigate.

With his appeal, ISN hoped to get an actual human to look over his work, to see that he was exposing the bigoted speech of Muhammad, a Scientology Freedom Medal winner as well as the most prominent Nation of Islam minister on the West Coast.


Instead, YouTube doubled down, shuttering ISN’s channel without any real explanation.

Thank you for contacting us. We have carefully reviewed your account appeal.

Your account has been terminated due to repeated or severe violations of our Community Guidelines on Hate Speech. Although YouTube is a platform for expression of all kinds, our Community Guidelines prohibit speech that promotes hatred or violence towards certain groups or individuals…

We have decided to keep your account suspended. You won’t be able to access or create any other YouTube accounts.

Was the material in ISN’s videos offensive? Yes it was. But ISN was careful to label his videos, making it very clear that he was posting the segments to show that a highly decorated Scientologist was spreading vile untruths about Jewish people while “preaching” at a Nation of Islam facility. It was more than clear that ISN wasn’t endorsing those views.

“I am a journalist who covers Scientology and the Nation of Islam. As I state in the description of each video, my purpose is NOT to promote the anti-Semitic, racist & homophobic statements by Scientology Freedom Medal Winner Nation of Islam Minister Tony Muhammad, but instead to report on and expose his statements. The description of each video also includes numerous links to stories that report on and are critical of his statements,” ISN wrote in his appeal.

“Removing my channel serves only to censor news reporting,” he added.

But YouTube killed the channel, as well as one of ISN’s videos which we had hosted on our own channel.

Meanwhile, YouTube has left untouched the smear videos posted by the Church of Scientology that target Leah Remini, Mike Rinder, and Valerie Haney, the latter a video which has been submitted as evidence in a new lawsuit accusing Scientology of libel and slander.

Scientology has boasted in the past about how much help it gets from Google, YouTube’s owner, in the form of free advertising. In turn, Scientology spends huge amounts for Google advertising, including persistent and dedicated ads that target Remini, Rinder, and your proprietor.

Convenient, isn’t it.

“Clearly it is idiotic that someone using video of hate speech in order to highlight it as something to be decried is censored by YouTube,” says Rinder, who had featured some of ISN’s videos at his blog.

“What’s next — are they going to shut down the Southern Poverty Law Center channel for exposing hate groups and sites because they contain hate speech and symbols in their listings?” Rinder adds. “This is the same twisted sort of think scientology applies — if you expose their abuses, you are a ‘bigot’ and ‘hater’ because you are ‘attacking ‘religion.’ Same logic YouTube is applying here. I wonder if the ‘STAND League’ was behind this, trying to protect Tony Muhammad from exposure because it embarrasses them so much?”



HowdyCon in the City of Angels

By the time this story posts, we should be near landing in New York after taking the red eye from Los Angeles on Sunday night.

Another HowdyCon is in the books, and we’re still trying to assimilate what a rich experience it was. We lost track of how many times we were stunned by the people who came out to celebrate with us. Some of them you’ll be hearing about as we look forward to writing stories about them, like the Dianeticist who was there for the beginning of things in 1950, the former crew members of the Apollo we hadn’t met before, and other folks from Scientology’s history that really made this trip a treat.

Thursday night Cathy Schenkelberg blew us away with her performance of “Squeeze My Cans.” Other shows, such as the movie “Going Clear,” might do a terrific job illustrating Scientology’s history and controversies, but Cathy’s is the only production that really takes you through the experience of being a Scientologist, and fighting up the “Bridge” from beginning to end. What an achievement.

Friday night at the Center for Inquiry’s new theater, we revealed that we’re starting a new enterprise with CFI director Jim Underdown and ex-JW and Saturday Night Live alum Jerry Minor: a show we’re calling the Cult Awareness Podcast.

For our first episode, we invited several guests who were all key figures here at the Underground Bunker: Graham Berry, Karen de la Carriere, Derek Bloch, Erin Hodges Plumb, Jefferson Hawkins, and Tory Christman.

Jerry is editing the result, and we hope to have something for you to hear very soon.

On Saturday, we joined Janis Gillham Grady, who was having a reunion of ex-Sea Org friends at the home of Spanky Taylor, and they held a memorial for Bill Franks, Loy Young, and Amos Jessup.

One of our Bunker regulars, who had never been a Scientologist, told us how much it meant to him to attend Janis’s event and see the camaraderie and love that these Sea Org veterans had for each other. He said it gave him a new perspective on the subject.

We certainly were humbled by all of the folks who came up to us to express how much this place means to them. We wish you all could have been there to share those kudos with us. We really do have a great community here, and we never get such a confirmation of that like we do at HowdyCon.

One thing we didn’t do: We didn’t announce a destination for next year. We’re planning to ruminate on that for a while. For now, we’ll post a few photos in the hopes that you’ll join us in 2020, wherever we are.

[Cathy Schenkelberg and Jefferson Hawkins]

[Sandy Holeman and Roger Weller with the Proprietor]

[With Science Doc]

[Jim and Jerry, with your proprietor, who seems to have slipped into the porch to infinity.]

[Photo by Susan Gerbic.]

[Tory Christman and Spanky Taylor with Jim Underdown. Photo by Susan Gerbic.]

[Janis begins the tribute to fallen comrades.]


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

[Alanna Masterson, Terry Jastrow, and Marisol Nichols]

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] Coming soon, our collaboration with ‘Miss Lovely’ herself, Paulette Cooper!
[TWO years ago] Scientology watchers, one mile high: HowdyCon 2017’s big night is here
[THREE years ago] Scientology stealth opening: Tomorrow, David Miscavige will dedicate two buildings in Florida
[FOUR years ago] A rundown on the truth being delivered at the Toronto Scientology conference
[FIVE years ago] UP THE BRIDGE: We finally reach ‘OT 8’ — but was its first version really a hoax?
[SIX years ago] Laura D to Scientology: It’s Too Late for a Protective Order in Forced-Abortion Case
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology Plays Denver’s Police Chief Like a Violin
[EIGHT years ago] Janet Reitman: An Interview with the Author of Inside Scientology
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology’s Crushing Defeat


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,487 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,616 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,120 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,640 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 660 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 551 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,858 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,726 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,500 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,274 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,620 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,186 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,105 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,273 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,854 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,115 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,154 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,866 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,392 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,481 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,621 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,941 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,797 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,916 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,271 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,574 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,680 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,082 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,954 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,537 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,032 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,286 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,395 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 24, 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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