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He shilled for Scientology’s Covid ‘Stay Well’ program — and now he’s dead of the disease

Latin American music fans were stunned to learn that Argentinian-born Diego Verdaguer, a 70-year-old Mexican national who also had Italian roots, died in Los Angeles Thursday afternoon of complications from Covid-19.

Verdaguer was a major name in Spanish-language music, with 2.2 million followers at Facebook, and his albums had been nominated for Latin Grammys in 2009 and 2015.

He was also a Scientologist. Scientology’s own publications show that Verdaguer went Clear in 2016 and did the Student Hat in 2020.

In November, just two months ago, he posted this image of himself holding the infamous L. Ron Hubbard book “A History of Man,” one of the most bizarre of Scientology’s texts.



Most significantly, Verdaguer took part in the June 2020 “Stay Well Concert” (see image above), performing his song “Di-Di-Di-Dime (Te-Te-Te-Tell Me).” The concert, hosted by actress Erika Christensen, was part of a campaign by Scientology in the early months of the pandemic to seize on the health crisis as a public relations opportunity.

Scientology put out thousands of booklets containing basic advice about washing hands, wearing masks, and keeping distance. But as we noted later, that was 2020: Since vaccines became available to the public early in 2021, Scientology has said nothing about getting inoculated against the disease

Almost immediately after the news of Verdeguer’s death broke, the media in Mexico began asking whether he had been vaccinated, and came up with a series of anti-vaxx sentiments posted by his wife, singer Amanda Miguel, on her social media feeds.

El Universal noted that in April 2020 Miguel had said that “Covid might be the vaccine” and that it might contain “microchips,” and in July she denounced vaccine mandates. SDP Noticias, meanwhile, noted that Miguel had derided “propaganda to force us to get the experimental vaccine.” (An Amanda Miguel is listed in Scientology publications, with only a brief involvement in 2002.)


With the controversy over Miguel’s statements about Covid building, last night the AP reported that Verdaguer’s publicist in Mexico, Claudia López Ibarra, said that Diego had been inoculuated. “Yes, he was vaccinated … but the virus attacked him in the U.S. when the Delta variant was present,” she said.

El Heraldo de Mexico was one of the few news outlets that pointed out Verdaguer’s connection to Scientology, and noted that in October 2020 the singer gave a television interview and expressed the belief that Covid-19 was a man-made creation. “I think it is something that was created by evil minds, that is something manipulated, and that we are in this game of living and in this world and we have to recognize that there are evil people and that is a reality,” he said.

Last month, our new insider, an “under the radar” source in the church, claimed that Scientology leader David Miscavige had forced Sea Org members to get vaccinated but then instructed them to lie about it, knowing how much Scientologists in general tend to be anti-vaccination.



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Source Code

“The entirety of physics and the natural sciences pursues from a degradation of the mind. Awfully broad statement, but a very true one. If every place you’ve ever been is related to where you are, you’ve had it. It says at once you never could have had, and promises that you never can have, another universe — which I think is very cute; it’s a total trap.” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 29, 1957


Avast, Ye Mateys

“All semblance of anything that could be called ‘Hippiness’ must be eradicated for the next month. Better get started now on haircuts and beard off or trim. Be sure you haven’t only got miniskirts. The PRO mock up for your next month is very proper personal appearance. Clean cloths, clean braid, clean shirts for the officers. Lots of baths. Sleek personal appearance is the watch word for the next month. It fits in with why you are going on this cruise.” — The Commodore, January 29, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone


“Dear New Era Scientologists, I am feeling very festive at the start of this 2020. 20-20 is the year everyone’s eyesight opens up! The Commodore’s technical advancements deserve a big party. Better yet, I think we should have a big party every month just to celebrate how great a bunch of people we all are. I could easily organize a big party to mark 2020 as the best ever New Era milestone. New Era individuals could be encouraged to celebrate on an appointed date in all of the principal areas where we reside. How say you?”


Past is Prologue

2000: Sister 2 Sister magazine carried an interview this month with Scientology celebrity Isaac Hayes about the World Literacy Crusade. “I’m the international spokesperson. It brings literature to the inner city. We feel like the culprit in the demise of the inner city is illiteracy. When a person can’t read or write, they’re a victim… Q. So how is it that we’re going to be the ones to save it [the world]? A. Because at the end of the day, we are still the most spiritual people on this planet. We are special because we are spiritual and that’s why I have taken up Scientology. Because Scientology really knows who we are and it teaches us who we really are, as spiritual beings in this universe. Q. Don’t people think of Scientology as a cult? A. Of course they do, but they do that out of ignorance. You ask them what Scientology is, they can’t tell you because they don’t know. That’s irresponsible. But there are groups who want to control, and if they find anything that will try to free people, they will try to wipe it out of existence. Scientology will not go away.”


Random Howdy

“Does anyone else here understand how hard it is to explain to a complete stranger that your relative is a Scientologist?”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for February 8. Trial scheduled for August 29.

‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Last hearing was on January 18, referred to grand jury.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference March 25 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for February 11.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Next hearing February 15.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Eleventh Circuit affirmed ruling granting Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Garcias considering next move.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ US Supreme Court denied Valerie’s petition Oct 4.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Scientology has said it will file an anti-SLAPP motion.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for June 28.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 23. Appeal hearing held Aug 23-27. Awaiting a ruling.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Lawsuit filed by the FTC and state of Georgia in August, now in discovery phase.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. 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 a weekly series. How many have you read?


[ONE year ago] Scientology anti-masker Leigh Dundas absconds to Mexico, Jan 6 video of her turns up
[TWO years ago] Tom Cruise’s sister Cass the real superhero in the family, now with Scientology SUPER POWER
[THREE years ago] Accused rapist Danny Masterson hangs out with pal Ashton Kutcher at Scientology wedding
[FOUR years ago] Joy Villa’s ex-manager on the ‘pro-life’ Grammys dress: We’re not fooled this time
[FIVE years ago] Scientology recruits a new ally — a real life ‘Forrest Gump’
[SIX years ago] Scientology puts out a new ‘media guide’ that is as honest as you would imagine
[SEVEN years ago] How Scientologists are dealing with the buzz around Alex Gibney’s ‘Going Clear’
[EIGHT years ago] The best parts of Steven Mango’s ‘documentary’ on Scientology’s Celebrity Centre
[NINE years ago] Mike Rinder on “The Hole” and How He Escaped Scientology
[TEN years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: May the Force Be With You!


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 2,559 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,064 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,584 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,604 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,495 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,802 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,670 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,444 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,775 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,248 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,564 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,130 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,049 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,217 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,798 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,059 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,095 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,810 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,335 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 690 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,865 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,416 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,565 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,885 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,740 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,859 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,215 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,518 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,624 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,022 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,898 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,481 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,976 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,230 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,339 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 29, 2022 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, 1995-2021 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2021), 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, 15 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


Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast


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