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David Miscavige’s nod to John Travolta debunks another tabloid ‘leaving Scientology’ fantasy

Earlier this year, the Daily Mail proposed that because flight data showed that Tom Cruise had not flown his helicopter into East Grinstead in the last three years, it suggested that Cruise was no longer visiting Scientology’s UK headquarters there at Saint Hill Manor, and so he appeared to be leaving Scientology itself.

This assumption was made without checking with any former high level Scientologists, who might have explained to the Daily Mail that since the beginning of the pandemic, Scientology leader David Miscavige himself had not been visiting Saint Hill, and Tom Cruise’s number one loyalty is to Miscavige, so his not flying there probably meant very little.

Instead, other publications jumped on the the Daily Mail’s observation and announced that it was a settled matter: Tom Cruise had left Scientology. On August 27 we pointed out how ludicrous this was, and then on November 3 we got a little vindication: Tom Cruise was spotted flying his helicopter to Saint Hill for the resumption of the IAS Gala and the return of David Miscavige.

The next night, at the Patrons Ball, Cruise made a more public showing of himself with his fellow Scientologists than we’ve seen probably since 2004, when he picked up his Freedom Medal of Valor. Photos of him mugging with other attendees of the Patrons Ball proliferated on social media, to the point that we suspected it was actually encouraged by the church itself. (No photos of Miscavige, for example, were leaked from either night.)

We only saw a little recognition by those websites that had announced Tom’s departure now admitting that he was as dedicated as ever, which is what we’ve been saying all along.


And, you know, they might have learned a little lesson this time.

Oh no they didn’t.

Last week, the National Enquirer and Radar, and even Yahoo jumped in with a new theory: Tom might have been at the event, but John Travolta wasn’t, so that suggests that Travolta is leaving Scientology.

Come on, people.

Once again, these stories relied on unnamed anonymous sources, when there are plenty of former high-ranking Scientologists who would be happy to be consulted on such a story.

We can tell you from our own experience that we’ve been watching the annual IAS galas very closely for many years, and we don’t remember John Travolta ever showing up at one. So the fact that he didn’t attend this one really doesn’t mean anything at all. [UPDATE: Axiom 142 remembers seeing Travolta attend one IAS gala around 2004, so about one attendance in the last 20 years.]

And now, we have evidence to the opposite, that Travolta is still firmly in the fold.

With Alex Barnes-Ross, yesterday we made public the entire three-hour speech by David Miscavige from the first night of the IAS weekend. And about two thirds of the way into it, as Miscavige was boasting about the accomplishments by Scientology “Volunteer Ministers” at the sites of international disasters, he uttered this paragraph…

“Florida hurricane Ian slams the southwest coast making landfall at Category Four. But IAS Freedom Medal winner John Travolta airlifts urgent provisions for utterly decimated communities, whereupon Florida’s megaforce of VMs takes over distribution, relieving stranded families everywhere, all to help 5,000 get back on solid ground.”

This was surprising, not only because Miscavige normally doesn’t mention the church’s celebrities during these speeches (again, we’ve listened to a lot of them), but also because we know that Travolta is not one of David Miscavige’s favorite people, and he does not have the same kind of relationship with him that he does with Cruise.

“Miscavige is always ready throw shade on JT to make sure Tom knows he is the number one favorite horse in the stable,” Mike Rinder tells us. And if he would not normally give Travolta a shout-out during one of these speeches, Dave probably included him this time because, “In the world of Scientology these days, ‘good news’ is hard to come by.”

Mike says that he wouldn’t be surprised if Miscavige and Cruise, while they were palling around at Saint Hill that weekend, “there were snide comments about JT between them.” But the point remains, that Miscavige did include Travolta in his speech, and that’s not something he would have done if Travolta had left the church.

Travolta’s loyalty has always been to L. Ron Hubbard, not Miscavige. And we have seen no evidence that he is pushing away, as the tabloids so desperately want to believe.

No doubt in the coming weeks, months, and years, we’ll hear again and again from the tabloids that Cruise or Travolta have “left” Scientology.


Not only is it lucrative clickbait for them, but we think they simply cannot or don’t want to understand how deeply these two celebrities feel connected to Scientology.

Travolta, we have been told by people who knew him well, ascribes all of his success to L. Ron Hubbard. Cruise, we were told by Jean Brousseau who worked very closely with him, worships David Miscavige like a god.

We’re going to need to see some much more convincing evidence than helicopter manifests or missed attendance at a gala before we’ll consider that either of these figures are walking away.


Technology Cocktail

“Due to certain pressures in the world at the end of 1962, I deemed it advisable to speed up research as a means of handling developing situations. This activity proved fruitful beyond any expectations for the period devoted to it. To increase an already burdened personal time schedule was not without repercussion. It was in the first place impossible to crowd more action into the crowded hours but somehow I did so. I cut out all social engagements, almost all appointments and even reduced time spent talking to students. I canceled all lecture appearances abroad. I let my cars and motorcycles rust and my cameras gather dust. I kept Mary Sue up all night auditing or being audited. And somehow, through the devotion of staff, everywhere, kept the show on the road and handled the legal front also. The stepped up schedule period has not ended but the golden knowledge has been gathered in and all targets hoped for have been exceeded.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1963



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 [43] Tory Christman [44] Kate Bornstein [45] Christian Stolte [46] Mark Bunker [47] Jon Atack [48] Luke Y. Thompson [49] Mark Ebner [50] Bruce Hines [51] Spanky Taylor and Karen Pressley [51] Geoff and Robbie Levin [52] Sands Hall [53] Jonny Jacobsen [54] Sandy Holeman


Source Code

“Clearing, actually, is not nice. And if you’re looking for some nice, sweet procedure, why, you know, be an art critic and don’t get audited. Spend all your time in the galleries where it’s quiet and serene and nothing ever happens.” — L. Ron Hubbard, November 30, 1961


Avast, Ye Mateys

“Good News: ASHO, AOSH DK and AOLA all have higher stats. Clarice Jackson is reported to be doing absolutely fantastically and one of the most respected people in the whole area known widely in the US for her first actions. She issued ‘writs of expulsion from the church’ on Berez, Taunton, Deitsch and Bernie Green and things are cooling off. Big factors in the upsurge are said to be sending Fred Hare, the new stable datum materials and new OT III results. Guardian lines show us fighting on enemy terrain for the first time, not our own. She had loads of good news and is overjoyed with her Gdn offices.” — The Commodore, November 30, 1969



Overheard in the FreeZone

“The majority of stuff above OT 2 is mostly false and limiting data. AKA: bullshit. It causes psychosis. No exception. I know many people who are psychotic after doing the bridge past OT 2. I was warned 22 yrs ago, not to go past OT 2.”


Past is Prologue

1998: Pickets were held in Clearwater, Florida this week to mark the 3rd anniversary of Lisa McPherson’s death at the Fort Harrison Hotel. Pickets were to be accompanied by bus ads. From the St. Petersburg Times: “Pinellas County’s transit chief pulled 10 buses off the road Sunday after the Church of Scientology complained that the vehicles’ side panels contained anti-Scientology advertising. The ads were purchased by church critics and were to be on buses Saturday through Monday as part of a weekend-long protest against Scientology. Each of the 11 ads carried a different message. Among them: ‘Think for Yourself. Quit Scientology,’ ‘Find out why so many people oppose Dianetics and Scientology’ and ‘Why does Scientology lie to its members?’ Scientology representatives began phoning the homes of transit and Clearwater city officials after the buses began rolling Saturday morning. The church argued that the ads violated a state law regarding published material that ‘tends to expose any individual or any religious group to hatred, contempt, ridicule or (abusive language).’ Rathbun said ads were part of ‘an unprecedented level of taunting’ against Scientologists. ‘I think they went out of bounds in terms of inciting hatred toward Scientologists and inciting Scientologists to react
in some fashion,’ he said. Had the church engaged in the same activity, it would have been skewered by the media, Rathbun said. ‘You might as well have no rights as far as we’re concerned.’ They were purchased by a group called Former Scientologists Speaking Out, which had its three-day advertising contract cut short, said Frank Oliver, a former Scientologist and a Scientology critic who heads the Miami graphics company that designed the ads. ‘None of those statements are inflammatory in any way,’ he said. ‘They don’t have a leg to stand on.’ Oliver said the group that placed the ads had not decided how to proceed. ‘Obviously the contract was violated, but I think our point was made,’ he said.”


Random Howdy

“Professors Kent and Touretzky are the go-to guys in the academic study of Scientology and cults in general.”



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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Found guilty on two counts on May 31, remanded to custody. Sentenced to 30 years to life on Sep 7.
‘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 October 30.
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.

Civil litigation:
Leah Remini v. Scientology, alleging ‘Fair Game’ harassment and defamation: Complaint filed August 2, Scientology submitting anti-SLAPP response Oct 26.
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Forced to arbitration. Plaintiffs allowed interlocutory appeal to Eleventh Circuit.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Discovery phase.
Jane Doe 1 v. Scientology, David Miscavige, and Gavin Potter: Case unsealed and second amended complaint filed. Scientology moves for religious arbitration.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Ordered to mediation.



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] As jury looks at Jane Doe 3, let’s keep in mind Cohen’s statement about unconscious rape
[TWO years ago] Scientology ‘honors’ veterans by lying about founder L. Ron Hubbard’s war record
[THREE years ago] Kirstie Alley is wrong on Leah Remini & Shelly Miscavige. We know because we broke the story.
[FOUR years ago] Guy White opens his big mouth: The former Hubbard family member spills on Scientology!
[FIVE years ago] The Valerie Haney interview: Scientology smear tactics, and where Shelly Miscavige is
[SIX years ago] The new list of Scientology donors is out early this year — and the biggest whale is missing!
[SEVEN years ago] Amy Scobee: ‘Even on her deathbed, my mom was fighting Scientology and disconnection’
[EIGHT years ago] Where it all began for us: Rick Ross, David Koresh, and the Church of Scientology
[NINE years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: An oily and super powered edition of our weekly feature!
[TEN years ago] Scientology Celebrates its Legal Defense Slush Fund, and What a Party!
[ELEVEN years ago] Miscavige Gets His Wish: Marty Rathbun Pulling Up Stakes?


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 3,229 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,744 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,294 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,284 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,165 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,469 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,340 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,445 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,892 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,234 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,800 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,719 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,887 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,468 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,729 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,765 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,481 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,045 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,360 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,535 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,086 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,217 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,555 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,410 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,529 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,885 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,188 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,294 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,692 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,568 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,133 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,646 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,900 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 15,009 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 30, 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


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