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


Not surprisingly, Scientology opposes an appeal in the Baxter trafficking case

On May 2 we told you that the plaintiffs in the Tampa labor trafficking case — Valeska Paris and Gawain and Laura Baxter — had asked Judge Thomas Barber for permission to appeal his decision forcing them into “religious arbitration” and derailing their lawsuit.

You would probably not be surprised to hear that Scientology is not in favor of this idea.

Saying that his hands were tied, Judge Barber accepted the idea that contracts signed by Valeska and the Baxters obliged them not to sue in court and to take their grievances to Scientology’s internal justice system. Normally, the plaintiffs would have to go through Scientology’s arbitration before they could appeal Barber’s ruling to the Eleventh Circuit.

But they’ve asked Judge Barber to give them permission to go to the Eleventh Circuit now with an “interlocutory” appeal, saying that waiting to go through Scientology arbitration could take years. And, based on what we’ve seen the Garcias and Valerie Haney go through in their own lawsuits, they certainly have a point.


Scientology, of course, is happy with Judge Barber’s ruling and don’t want him to grant the request for the early appeal.

We figured you’d want to see some of the language they’re using, written by attorney Gustavo Membiela…


Well sure, if these folks would just get with the program, Scientology arbitration is a breeze.

What follows is a lengthy legal argument against the points raised by the plaintiffs. And now it’s Judge Barber’s move to decide whether to allow the Baxters and Valeska to take their appeal to the Eleventh Circuit.

As we’ve pointed out before, however, the Eleventh Circuit has already found for Scientology arbitration in the Garcia case, so once again this case will be going uphill.

Well, we’ll be keeping an eye out for Judge Barber’s decision either way.


Technology Cocktail

“Sometimes a thetan will get a series of engrams all hooked together — shoulder with an arrow, stomach with a crossbow through it, leg with a spear in it and a few slinging stones that are back of the left eye. That is a nice combination and moves the body rapidly. You start to shift the engram a little and the body jumps, and you move this at somebody else and he jumps as well.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1958




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 as Danny faces a potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison. NOW WITH TRIAL INDEX.


THE PODCAST: How many have you heard?

[1] Marc Headley [2] Claire Headley [3] Jeffrey Augustine [4] Bruce Hines [5] Sunny Pereira [6] Pete Griffiths [7] Geoff Levin [8] Patty Moher [9] Marc Headley [10] Jefferson Hawkins [11] Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan [12] Paulette Cooper [13] Jesse Prince [14] Mark Bunker [15] Jon Atack [16] Mirriam Francis [17] Bruce Hines on MSH

— SPECIAL: The best TV show on Scientology you never got to see

[1] Phil Jones [2] Derek Bloch [3] Carol Nyburg [4] Katrina Reyes [5] Jamie DeWolf

— The first Danny Masterson trial and beyond

[18] Trial special with Chris Shelton [19] Trial week one [20] Marc Headley on the spy in the hallway [21] Trial week two [22] Trial week three [23] Trial week four [24] Leah Remini on LAPD Corruption [25] Mike Rinder 2022 Thanksgiving Special [26] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part One [27] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part Two [28] Claire Headley on the trial [29] Tory Christman [30] Bruce Hines on spying [31] Karen de la Carriere [32] Ron Miscavige on Shelly Miscavige [33] Karen de la Carriere on the L’s [34] Mark Bunker on Miscavige hiding [35] Mark Plummer [36] Mark Ebner [37] Karen Pressley [38] Steve Cannane [39] Fredrick Brennan [40] Clarissa Adams [41] Louise Shekter [42] John Sweeney



Source Code

“A special story I wrote was taken to the NY Times Reporter and she was very pleased. It was about the Marines and Corfu. Remember? We have to get the 19 crew members who wrote affidavits in this up to the US Embassy to get them notarized. They go to the US Congress and assist in the Life suit. (We have to get Life sued fast. The Sat Eve Post has gone out of business and Time-Life is fading. Like the Daily Mail, newspapers who attack us fail, strange coincidence.)” — L. Ron Hubbard, May 13, 1969


Avast, Ye Mateys

“GROUP CONFESSION is group confession. It is done with the whole group present. It is not done divisionally and it is not done by unit. Try this and you’ll see it work. This is a team and not individuated.” — Lt. Cmdr. Diana Hubbard, CS 1, May 13, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I tell myself if I had cancer I wouldn’t do their chemo but would try free people chemo: Chlorine DiOxide aka MMS and aka CDS. People report oxidation of cancer tumors and remission of that and many other ailments. It works fast so if you know what you are doing and do it right you could tell within days. No joke. You got nothing to lose! I know about it for years it is SAFE and is NOT bleach! Ask any chemistry student!”


Past is Prologue

2000: From the Washington Post: “We hear that members of the Church of Scientology were being urged last weekend to see, over and over again, Scientologist John Travolta’s universally panned movie ‘Battlefield Earth,’ based on the novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. An e-mailed message exhorted: ‘Battlefield Earth MUST beat Gladiator on the first weekend B.E. comes out. Anything after that doesn’t count! Alas, the hugely expensive ‘Battlefield Earth’ did a disappointing $11.5 million in weekend business, compared with $24.6 million for ‘Gladiator.’ Church spokesman Mike Rinder yesterday insisted the Church had nothing to do with the e-mail. ‘It’s pretty sickening,’ he told us. ‘The last three weeks have been consumed with people telling people not to see the movie.’ We suppose he means film critics.”



Random Howdy

“The world is disconnected because of technology, it turns people into zombies. A handful of corporations control all the the media, the arts, and what passes for popular culture these days. What happened to rock’n’roll? It’s been replaced by no talent moop thugs who can’t play an instrument and can’t write lyrics above the 4th grade. There is no more rebellion. They’ve won. It’s ‘Tittytainment’ from here on out. Detroit has gone bankrupt and the corporations are going to run the city. Didn’t they make a movie about that 20 years ago?”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Mistrial declared November 30. Retrial scheduled, jury selection begins March 29. Next pretrial hearing: Feb 16.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Next pretrial hearing Feb 13.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for March 1 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next status conference Feb 13.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Complaint filed April 28 in Tampa federal court, Scientology moving to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs filed amended complaint on August 2. Hearing November 17 to argue the arbitration motions, awaiting ruling.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: March 15, 2023.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Stay in place at least through February 7.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: New trial ordered after appeals court overturned prior 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.



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] ‘Top Gun: Maverick’: The only movie review you need if you’re being honest about Tom Cruise
[TWO years ago] Tom Cruise said he needed only an hour to sell Scientology: What would he do in that hour?
[THREE years ago] Scientology trying to sell Irish reporters on the idea that interest is booming there
[FOUR years ago] Scientology admits it’s selling ‘magic’ at its Florida spiritual mecca
[FIVE years ago] We have the detailed specs for your dream job: Public Relations officer in Scientology
[SIX years ago] Scientology’s casting calls get nuttier all the time. Who would you hire to fill them?
[SEVEN years ago] Document leak: How Scientology freaked out over losing Lori Hodgson and her mom
[EIGHT years ago] Hand out L. Ron Hubbard literature and score a date with a Scientology sweetheart!
[NINE years ago] DOX: The appeal to restore the class-action lawsuit against Scientology’s rehab network
[TEN years ago] Will Scientology’s Motion Demolish the Garcias’ Federal Fraud Lawsuit?
[ELEVEN years ago] Lisa Marie Presley Says “So Long” to Scientology


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 3,028 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,533 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,083 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,073 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,964 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,268 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,139 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,244 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,691 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,033 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,599 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,518 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,686 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,267 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,528 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,564 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,280 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,844 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,159 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,334 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,885 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,016 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,354 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,209 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,328 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,684 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,987 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,093 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,491 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,367 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,950 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,445 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,699 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,808 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 13, 2023 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, 1995-2022 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2022), 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


Tony Ortega at Rolling Stone


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email