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The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, No. 15: Jeffrey Riffer

In 2011 we spent the month of August counting down a list of the “Top 25 People Crippling Scientology.” Nine years later, Scientology is still hurting, but church leader David Miscavige learned long ago that paid membership was only one resource that kept him in business. He also relies on a small army of enablers, some paid, some not, who help him stay in business even though they aren’t Scientologists themselves. So we thought we’d recognize them with this countdown.

We’ve been watching Scientology litigation for a long time, and we can tell you that one interesting evolution of it has been the way lawsuits in recent years have targeted not just the church but its leader, David Miscavige, and also the way he has responded.

Finding himself in the legal crosshairs, Miscavige began several years ago to rely more and more on one particular lawyer to carry a lance for him in court documents. We’re talking about Los Angeles attorney Jeffrey Riffer, whose splenetic writing on behalf of Miscavige has produced some of the most entertaining court salvos in Scientology litigation in the last decade.

Riffer first made an impression on us when he was brought in to go full blast on the editors at Vanity Fair in 2012, in hopes, we guess, to scare that publication out of printing Maureen Orth’s great expose about how the church held auditions of actresses in order to find a new mate for Tom Cruise.


We fell in love immediately with Riffer’s diction and tone, and the gentle way he gets his point across…

We represent Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center and the ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion.

We are writing regarding your, your editor’s and reporter’s shoddy journalism, religious bigotry and potential legal liability arising out of Vanity Fair’s upcoming story about the Tom Cruise divorce. Significantly, while Maureen Orth was preparing her story, Vanity Fair ignored its staff and contributors who have firsthand knowledge of Mr. Cruise and of Mr. Miscavige and who would burden her story with the truth.

It takes real skill to write in a way that sucks up to Miscavige while trashing merchants of chaos with sarcasm all at the same time like that, and we couldn’t get enough of it. Riffer’s pique was especially enjoyable here, describing the outrage he felt over Orth’s question she had sent over about Miscavige being a sort of third wheel in Cruise’s romantic relationships…

Mr. Miscavige is the leader of a dynamic global religion expanding across five continents. His duties are herculean and accomplishments monumental. He is not a “third wheel” to anything or anyone. Ms. Orth is apparently willing to besmirch Mr. Miscavige’s reputation based on unreliable sources to sell magazines, while ignoring the decades of his tireless service to advance the Scientology religion as well as its international humanitarian programs for all mankind…

Seriously, this stuff is just too good.

More recently, Riffer stood up for Dave against his former steward Valerie Haney, and called her lawsuit a publicity stunt…

Plaintiff’s fraudulent proof of service is just her most recent stunt aimed at generating media attention and harassing Mr. Miscavige. Plaintiff alleges no facts that Mr. Miscavige engaged in any wrongdoing. But, by naming Mr. Miscavige as a defendant, Plaintiff could tell the media that she sued the leader of the religion, in an effort to ensure that the allegations were widely disseminated. This lawsuit was brought to generate media attention as leverage.

(Emphasis in the original.) Riffer has also defended Dave against the Danny Masterson accusers who are suing Miscavige over what they claim is a coordinated campaign to harass them since they came forward to the LAPD with their allegations against the ‘That ’70s Show’ actor.

And Riffer continues to threaten magazines for Miscavige. The Daily Beast’s Marlow Stern got thrown an uppercut recently that was simply Rifferific after Stern inquired about Miscavige’s “planetary bullbait” secret message about the coronavirus for his parishioners…

The world would be in a better condition today had governments and other organizations timely followed Mr. Miscavige’s lead.

The undisputed written evidence, physical evidence and millions of masks and gloves in Scientology evidence prove that Mr. Miscavige implemented massive proactive state-of-the-art actions before governments and other organizations. So, you have no story.

Now that you are on written notice that your story is 100% false, any publication exposes you to the end of your career and The Daily Beast to the end of its existence (as happened when the jury awarded $140 million in a defamation lawsuit against Gawker, driving Gawker into bankruptcy). We hope that is not necessary.

Like Vanity Fair, The Daily Beast ignored Riffer’s bloviating and published their stories. But as long as David Miscavige needs a champion to extol his work as an ecclesiastical superstar, Riffer will no doubt jump into the breach.


The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology

3: The judges
4: The LAPD
5: The dirty tricks private eyes
6: The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department
7: The litigators
8: The ghost private eyes
9: The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office
10: Political shills
11: Gary Soter
12: The city of Clearwater, Florida
13: Google and other tech titans
14: The Los Angeles Times

15: Jeffrey Riffer
16: James Packer
17: Louis Farrakhan
18: Mark “Marty” Rathbun
19: Wally Pope
20: Gensler
21: Parents who subscribe to ABCMouse
22: Graham Norton and other celebrity strokers
23: The apologist academics
24: Rebecca Dobkin and other low-level PI grunts
25: DirecTV and filmmakers buffing Dave’s channel


Former Bauer mags continue their nosedive


We’ve told you that it’s been sad to see the trajectory of magazines like In Touch and Us Weekly after their takeover by American Media, the company that owns the National Enquirer.

Time was that although In Touch and Us Weekly were tabloids, their writers at least tried to get things right. Now, not so much. In this week’s Us Weekly cover story, for example, there was a pretty remarkable assertion made in a story that claims (without any evidence) that Tom Cruise is being groomed to take over Scientology.

Only Sea Org members can actually run Scientology, and while Cruise has said he highly respects the members of that group, he doesn’t appear to be ready to sign a billion-year contract and go to work 365 days a year for pennies an hour as other Sea Orgers do.

However, Us Weekly claimed that Cruise already has! Here’s what it said:

“According to Lawrence Wright, author of ‘Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & the Prison of Belief,’ Cruise signed a billion-year contract of service with the Church of Scientology!”

Um, sure about that? For fun, we decided to run that by the man himself.

“No, it’s total horse shit. Thanks for checking,” Wright responded.


Joy Villa on Leah Remini

Scientology climber Joy Villa, doing publicity for her book ‘Kickass Conservative,’ tells YouTuber Ryan Glover that Leah Remini is “sad and bigoted.”


Joy Villa on Leah Remini, Sep 1, 2020 from Tony Ortega on Vimeo.


Ryan Glover: You know, one of your haters, Leah Remini, who you know in the past was a Scientologist and she accused you of using the Trump administration for career boosts. You know, what are your thoughts about her attacks on you?

Joy Villa: I don’t know who she is. Like, I don’t know her. You know, I’ve heard of her, but it’s like somebody who doesn’t know you, you know, who just wants to attack you. And I’m like great, you’ve got a blue check mark I’ve got a blue mark. You can start some. Yeah, it’s like you could start nonsense on Twitter and get a couple likes and start drama. And I mean all I know is like she used to be a Scientologist and she was a nobody before that and they helped her. The church helped her big time. So you know I’m a Scientologist as well and I’m like it’s helped me tremendously. This is spiritual counseling. It’s got me over you know drug addiction and trauma addiction. And anything that’ll help you is a good thing. And if you’re gonna attack somebody you know and that’s kind of your whole career that’s very sad and very bigoted.


Source Code

“Oh, Scientology. Oh, oh, yes, Scientology, all right. That’s, that’s fine. Well, they’ll make you an Operating Thetan there, and you’ll be nine feet tall, and you’ll be able to beat up on the local government, and you’ll be able to throw your wife in the Pacific Ocean, you won’t have to bother with her anymore. And you’ll just be all-powerful and so forth. Well, it probably wouldn’t be very real to the individual, even if he believed it. I can assure you it’s going to take him several years to make it and by the time he makes it he won’t have any interest in throwing his wife in the local ocean or beating up the local council.” — L. Ron Hubbard, September 9, 1965



Overheard in the FreeZone

“Squirrels and unethical people in the Freezone routinely use the ‘hidden data line’ argument to try to goad people of goodwill into giving them materials they will then use to spin people in or to deny their existence in order to falsely parade as an Authorities while being a complete ignoramus.”



Random Howdy

“After my dad’s POS father had abandoned him and my grandma in a one-room shack in the Arizona desert, and my dad, grandma, and his two sisters ended up in Northern California, I guess my grandfather ended up being one of the biggest contractors in the Tempe/Phoenix area. When he died he was worth millions and my dad and his two sisters never saw a dime. His new wife was a Mormon and all the money went to her and the cult.”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Arraignment scheduled for September 18.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing is set for October 5 in White Plains, NY. Jeffrey’s is set for October 24.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Jan 12 in Los Angeles
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29, bond raised to $350,000 on Aug 27.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Motion for reconsideration denied on August 11
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Sept 29 (CSI/RTC demurrer against Riales, Masterson demurrer), Oct 7-19 (motions to compel arbitration)
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach bankruptcy appeal: Oral arguments were heard on March 11 in Jacksonville
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, awaiting verdict.


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!

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



[ONE year ago] Thorn in Scientology’s side, Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan, says ESMB will go still on Sep 30
[TWO years ago] By any means necessary: Scientology’s bizarre war against psychiatry
[THREE years ago] Supporting Leah Remini and her show — what’s the risk for viewers who expose Scientology?
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s ‘disconnection’ policy gets sacrificed on the Burning Man altar
[FIVE years ago] David Miscavige: Scientology saved the universe from its ‘reverse point’ in 2006
[SIX years ago] Longtime Scientologist Jim Jackson remembers Lyman Spurlock, 1945-2014
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology and Nation Of Islam Education Hucksters Marching on Sacramento!
[EIGHT years ago] Voice Readers Raise Thousands For Couple That Refused to Spy for Scientology
[NINE years ago] The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 10: Lisa McPherson


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 2,055 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,559 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,079 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,099 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 990 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,297 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,165 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,939 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,743 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,059 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,625 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,544 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,712 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,293 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,554 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,592 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,305 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,830 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,360 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,920 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,060 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,380 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,235 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,354 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,710 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,013 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,119 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,521 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,393 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,976 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,471 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,725 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,834 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 9, 2020 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, 1995-2019 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2019), 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, 14 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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