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‘Scientology and the Aftermath’ participants send in their tributes as series is set to end

Leah Remini’s remarkable Emmy-winning series Scientology and the Aftermath will be coming to an end with a 2-hour special on August 26, but we are still stunned that the show existed at all, and that Leah and her co-star Mike Rinder were able to expose so much about the abuses of the Church of Scientology.

And of course, besides the two stars themselves, what really made the show unique were the many fascinating guests who told their stories. Here are some of the things they told us about Leah’s program and what it meant to them…

Mark Bunker The fact this show existed at all was mind-blowing. I remember going into CNN’s L.A. headquarters back in 1999 and speaking with some of the employees who told me that CNN had prepared three different stories on Scientology which the network’s lawyers blocked from airing. The media was frightened of covering Scientology at all after the costly Time magazine lawsuit of the 90’s. To have a weekly series exposing Scientology’s fraud and abuse seemed miraculous. The show would not have been possible without Leah Remini’s tenacity, dedication and heart. Week after week, she showed compassion to those abused by Scientology and brought stories to the public that reduced many viewers to tears. And what insight to bring Mike Rinder in as a co-host. For years I have advised the city of Clearwater to have Mike Rinder on speed dial to have access to his knowledge on how Scientology interacts with city officials, to no effect. Leah and Mike together are a powerhouse and will continue to have a real-life impact that lasts beyond the three seasons of Aftermath. You can see it in the lawsuits being filed. They encouraged me to run for office during the taping of the two-part episode on Clearwater earlier this year. I had been talking about this since I moved back to town but they prompted me to actually get down to doing it. We have a mayor here who seems proud to have never watched a moment of Leah’s show but I continually run into citizens here who are so glad it was on. That show may be leaving but we haven’t heard the last of Leah Remini and Mike Rinder by a long shot.

Paulette Cooper: Almost 50 years ago I wrote the first major expose of Scientology. I wrote how they were splitting up families, bankrupting members, and practicing Fair Game by going after people like myself who tried to expose or criticize them. In 50 years Scientology has barely changed. People and their families are still being bankrupted and destroyed. Fair Game is still very much in effect. But thanks to Leah Remini and Mike Rinder and the brave people who came on Aftermath and told their stories, hopefully sooner than 50 years from now, Scientology won’t be around to hurt or destroy any more people.


Karen de la Carriere: Year after year, decade after decade the cult’s 45-year crime wave seemed unstoppable. Then came Aftermath. The technique for retaliation changed: The cult solicited close family members to spew vindictive statements about the participants. How low they will go, how hatefully they will attack? I am of the opinion that Aftermath has been a game changer. The scenery and view of the cult changed in popular culture and Scientology can never be viewed the same way again. I am honored to have been a participant.

Tom DeVocht: Leah and Mike have my utter respect and gratitude. I think they (and A&E) have done an amazing thing — something most didn’t have the balls to do before. It has been, in my estimation, the most effective program at disclosing the truth about the Cult of Scientology and its misdeeds to date. I played only a small part in the programing — a couple of interviews — but was happy to do so and can only hope it might have helped the overall cause.


Mark Ebner: Mike and Leah don’t care about what the remaining powerful Scientologists think (or say) about them. I love them for that, because the ugly truth they’ve exposed on the show has diminished the cult to an unprecedented level of impotence in society at large. It was an honor to join them on the media panel episode with my other professional truth-tellers.

Ford Greene: Almost 100 years ago Justice Louis Brandeis expressed that the First Amendment values liberty both as an end and as a means; that liberty leads to happiness and courage leads to liberty; and that the freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth. Leah Remini’s “Aftermath” embodies these values. For decades Scientology leveraged an effective propaganda campaign. It used millions of dollars that its religious liberty tax-exempt status provided in order to effectuate its “Fair Game” doctrine. Fair Game requires the neutralization of heretics by bludgeoning them into silence by whatever means necessary. Concomitantly, Scientology disseminated fantastic and misleading statements of its efficacy for personal growth. Flexing muscles born of first-hand experience, personal integrity, intelligence, commitment and courage, “Aftermath” changed all that, giving an effective voice to the truth. “Aftermath” demonstrates that the power of reason as applied through public discussion can overcome the toxic silence that Scientology’s doctrine and system manipulation publicly enforced.


[Claire Headley became a US citizen yesterday]

Claire Headley: When I escaped Scientology in January 2005, I was broken, fearful and in a terrible state, both physically and emotionally. Participating in the Aftermath show, with so many other brave and wonderful survivors, has been amazingly therapeutic. A real honor. Yes, I had spoken out before. But the Aftermath has created a true movement, wherein knowledge of Scientology’s abuses and evil practices is now mainstream. I’ve no doubt the show has saved lives, saved families and more. I am forever grateful to Leah and Mike. It takes a special person to face Scientology head on, despite all consequences and risks, and they have done so with grace, honor and integrity. I look forward to doing my part to help with whatever comes next.

Mary Kahn: Simply put, appearing on Aftermath afforded me an opportunity to tell my story and and speak out against the abuses inflicted by the Church of Scientology, specifically the “Disconnection” policy. The church wants nothing more than to censor its members or make them shut up, even after they “declare” them and destroy their families. Leah and the show gave me a voice and allowed me to say “No more.”

Quailynn McDaniel: For me the show was a big step in healing the wounds Scientology left on me. The show unravels the churches manipulation, making victims feel alone and at fault. As a victim you start to be able to connect to others going through the same process. You feel less alone and less isolated. It’s a step away from denial that you were victimized by a terrible group of people. That’s one of the biggest differences I notice with people that go on the show. They are ready to move past denial. Going on the show was also empowering for me. I got to make this very public statement to David Miscavige and Scientology that I can stand up for myself now. It was a taking back of my freedom of speech right. A personal boundary was established that I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t speak out and go on the show. Countless number of victims are still hiding, scared or in denial or both. If I hadn’t gone on the show I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to heal the way that I have. Thanks to Leah and Mike for having the courage to create the show. They have tremendously helped me in my life and those connected with me. As a family we are able to heal.

Russell Miller: It was a great pleasure to talk about Hubbard’s life and lies on Leah’s show and I admired her courage – so much of the media is intimidated by the so-called church, but Leah is an example to us all.

Ron Miscavige: I was really proud to be part of it, but the main thing I wanted to say was this. When I got there and saw what Leah and Mike were doing with it, I knew it would snowball and become something so powerful that no one would see coming. I consider Leah and Mike to be great freedom fighters. Thank God we have these two, and thanks again for letting me participate.

Gary “Jackson” Morehead: Having contributed is like a runway….. it started out a small dirt and grass covered path with no tower for guidance and no markings or lighting to navigate. Only able to serve a single engine plane, that single engine plane suddenly found itself in demand. The demand was from those who had a fear of flight! As time went on and more effort was put into staring down one’s own bone-chilling fear of flying and missing out on the freedom one experiences and feels from flying, more planes were obtained to serve the demand. Bigger and better runways were obtained and with that bigger, more secure planes were obtained and afforded to those who came to grips of crossing that fear of flying threshold! We now have a fleet of aircraft, actually the best aircraft one can buy, with a not just one runway but RUNWAYS with a tower to make contact with for your flight and markings and lighting for guidance 24/7/365! I love it!


Carol Nyburg: I was grateful for the opportunity to share my story on the Aftermath. I am also grateful that Leah and Mike used their celebrity to give so many a voice. To let it be known what the TRUE intentions of the Church of Scientology are. The evil and cunning of Scientology is still running rampant. The fight must continue.

Karen Pressley: To me, Scientology and the Aftermath is a phenomenon in the power of public outcry. I feel so very fortunate to have been included as a contributor along with the many brave people who cared more about speaking the unspeakable than the risks involved. I didn’t anticipate the power of the group experience that birthed though the show; the sense of having common threads with so many others whose voices together created a beautiful tapestry out of an ugly past. My personal experiences in the Sea Org and with Scientology, devastating in so many ways, fit into a thimble compared to the horrors that Aftermath exposed to the world. It was almost surreal to be a part of Aftermath’s success in breaking through Scientology’s stonewalling that had kept victims intimidated and quiet for years. I am deeply appreciative and respectful of Leah, Mike, all contributors, and all production crews for spearheading this feat that refuses to allow people to turn a blind eye anymore. Because of you, so many victims are no longer cowed by the cult’s oppressive policies and destructive tactics that have damaged far too many lives.

Lois Reisdorf: I want to thank Leah Remini, Mike Rinder and A&E for the courage to have produced this amazing series. I believe that because of Scientology and the Aftermath, there is far more awareness worldwide now about Scientology and its terrible practices it inflicts on its members and ex-members. I was very happy to participate in Season 1 as I wanted to help shed light on the real truth of what is happening with their awful disconnection policies causing families to be split up. Further, Scientology’s insane and damaging approach to mental illness is shocking. They claim to be the “modern science of mental health” and yet they have no workable solution to real mental illness. If a member is a risk because of past or current mental illness or have taken psych drugs, they will be barred from their services. At the same time, they fight tooth and nail against psychiatry. Scientology have no science for mental health or people with a mental disability. They do have a great science of taking your money, however. This series was so important and I am eternally grateful for being able to tell my story of losing my son to disconnection and for shedding a light on mental illness. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart. I will keep on fighting and pray every day until I get my son back.

Chris Shelton The mere fact of Scientology and the Aftermath being produced and aired at all was, for someone like me, a life-changing event. I’ll never be able to thank Leah and Mike enough for not only producing this show, but giving me an opportunity to be part of it. I learned quite a bit about the organization I had already given 27 years of my life to and many of the things I learned were not pleasant surprises. The lesson that one learns in watching this show, Emmy-award-winning season after season, is that there is no bottom to Scientology. No matter how far down you think you have gone, no matter how heinous and awful and morally repulsive the crimes are that Scientologists have engaged in (many of which continue to this day), it seems there is always something even worse happening. Leah’s show solidified in many people’s minds, including my own, that the only sensible end to this is for the Church of Scientology to either come clean and completely reform — an impossibility as far as I’m concerned — or shut it down entirely. No one show or documentary or activist is going to accomplish this on their own, but the true legacy of Leah’s show is that now none of us have to. This show united ex-members, watchers, other former cult members and the uneducated public at large and put us all on the same page on a scale that nothing else in Scientology history has accomplished. To be part of that is not just an experience I’ll never forget. It’s more like having been part of a small but important slice of history that is still having ripple effects and likely will for years to come. There’s no going back from this. None of us are done. There’s a lot more still to come in the future. I don’t think of this as an end at all. I think of this as just the beginning.

Hana Whitfield: Leah and Mike, thank you for the honor of being part of Aftermath. The words do not begin to express what Jerry and I feel about you, or what you deserve. You have broken through Scientology’s decades-long secret sexual and child-abuse history, and have returned to victims their right and ability to talk freely and openly, and seek justice and recompense. Your work will not end here. We will continue to support you in all your future endeavors to disclose truth about Scientology, or whatever form your work takes.

Len Zinberg: I’m proud to have participated. Leah and Mike brilliantly exposed, documented and analyzed the abuses, lies, and crimes of Scientology (on a weekly basis for three seasons) winning an Emmy and a host of other awards. Five years ago would anyone have even entertained the possibility? I’m just proud as hell of what we accomplished, so far.


Bonus items from our tipsters

Meanwhile, in Canada…



The Cult Awareness Podcast Episode Four!

Ex-JW and former SNL comedian Jerry Minor and the gang (including your proprietor) get medical with a look at crazy JW blood practices, Scientology’s measles cruise ship, and more.

Episode 1: HowdyCon 2019
Episode 2: NBA or JW?
Episode 3: Tulsi Gabbard


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

[Erika Christensen, Ethan Suplee, and Juliette Lewis]

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] The Garcias won’t go down without a fight: Filing appeal of Scientology’s ‘arbitration’ farce
[TWO years ago] Celebrity battle lines: Michael Peña’s wife asks Scientologists to ‘Stand with Daniel Masterson’
[THREE years ago] A rare gem from 1968: When the Daily Mail tracked down L. Ron Hubbard in Tunisia
[FOUR years ago] Once shy about the Internet, Scientology is now oversharing on social media
[FIVE years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: The apocalypse is here, and it is ideal
[SEVEN years ago] The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology — 2012 Edition!
[EIGHT years ago] The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,541 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,670 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,174 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,694 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 714 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 605 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,912 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,780 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,554 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,328 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,674 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,240 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,159 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,327 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,908 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,169 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,208 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,920 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,446 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,535 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,675 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,995 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,851 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,970 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,325 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,628 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,734 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,136 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,008 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,591 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,086 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,340 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,449 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 17, 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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