Tony Ortega is a journalist who was formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He's written about Scientology since 1995, and in May 2015 released a book about Scientology's harassment of Paulette Cooper titled 'The Unbreakable Miss Lovely.' He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world from an undisclosed location in an underground bunker he shares with four cats and one of them wrinkly Shar Pei dogs. Despite his super-secret security protections, you can still reach him pretty easily by sending him a message at tonyo94 AT gmail.com (Drop him a line if you'd like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.) [Header image courtesy John Rickard]
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Phil and Willie Jones versus Scientology: The real story of how the billboard came to be

 
On Thursday, we published an account by Derek Bloch describing part of his experience in 2015 filming a television series about Scientology ‘disconnection’ that has yet to receive an airdate. When he saw what Derek had written, Phil Jones contacted us, asking to post his own experience with the unaired ‘Disconnection’ series and how it eventually led to the famous billboards that Phil and Willie crowdfunded in Los Angeles and Florida. As we said last time, for a short period we too became involved in that television production, serving as a consultant for Sirens Media for about a month as the series lineup was being finalized. We hope that the series does get an airdate at some point, but in the meantime we believe Phil’s account deserves to be heard.

 
Continue reading Phil and Willie Jones versus Scientology: The real story of how the billboard came to be

Scientology ‘dead agents’ our own Rod Keller as it pursues more illegal activity in Mexico City

 
Rod Keller continues to watch Scientology try, illegally, to build a new “Advanced Org” in Mexico City, and now the church is starting to play dirty.

Continue reading Scientology ‘dead agents’ our own Rod Keller as it pursues more illegal activity in Mexico City

Jon Atack: The biggest thing L. Ron Hubbard got wrong about Buddhism

 
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. For more than three years he’s been helping us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet. Today, he takes on Scientology’s notion of reincarnation and past lives.

Continue reading Jon Atack: The biggest thing L. Ron Hubbard got wrong about Buddhism

Bryan Seymour takes a Scientology field trip, and we’re the better for it

 
Our man in Australia, TV journalist Bryan Seymour, sent us a dispatch from one of our favorite places on earth, and we’re happy to share it with you.

Perhaps the best thing about the decade I’ve spent reporting on Scientology is the people I’ve met, many who have become friends.

Continue reading Bryan Seymour takes a Scientology field trip, and we’re the better for it

Derek Bloch on fighting Scientology ‘disconnection’ in an unaired TV series

[Derek Bloch at HowdyCon in Denver with Cathy Schenkelberg and Willie Jones]

We first wrote about Derek Bloch at the Village Voice in 2012, and he’s been a pretty constant presence here since then. You probably know his story — that he was kicked out of the Sea Org for being gay, and then his family disconnected from him in the Scientology way.

Continue reading Derek Bloch on fighting Scientology ‘disconnection’ in an unaired TV series

Paulette Cooper at 75: Still unbreakable, and still Miss Lovely

 
We had dinner with Paulette Cooper in Manhattan a few weeks ago, and it felt once again like we could never keep up with her. The woman has so many things going on, we don’t know how she keeps track of it all.

Continue reading Paulette Cooper at 75: Still unbreakable, and still Miss Lovely

The Rathbuns hire a lawyer, and Ray Jeffrey answers questions about his legal salvo

[San Antonio attorney Rich Reynolds]

We spoke to Ray Jeffrey yesterday about the petition he filed on July 5 along with Elliott Cappuccio and Marc Wiegand, asking the Bexar County District Court to order that their former clients, Mark “Marty” Rathbun and Monique Rathbun, sit for depositions and turn over financial records.

Continue reading The Rathbuns hire a lawyer, and Ray Jeffrey answers questions about his legal salvo

RAY JEFFREY TO JUDGE: ORDER RATHBUNS TO TURN OVER FINANCIAL RECORDS AND TESTIFY

[Attorney Ray Jeffrey; Marty and Monique Rathbun]

One of our court watchers in Texas stumbled on a stunning document: On July 5, Monique Rathbun’s former attorneys filed a petition in a San Antonio court, asking for an order to compel their former clients, Monique and Mark “Marty” Rathbun, to submit to depositions and turn over detailed financial records. The attorneys — Ray Jeffrey, Elliott Cappuccio, and Marc Wiegand — requested a July 25 hearing, but court records show it’s been set for August 29. We’ve put in a call to Jeffrey to find out more.

Continue reading RAY JEFFREY TO JUDGE: ORDER RATHBUNS TO TURN OVER FINANCIAL RECORDS AND TESTIFY

Scientology shifting front group strategy — it’s all about kids, kids, kids

 
Rod Keller keeps a close watch on Scientology’s numerous front groups, and today he tells us about a new group emerging…

Continue reading Scientology shifting front group strategy — it’s all about kids, kids, kids

Janis Grady’s new book on life in Scientology: Jon Atack’s take, and an excerpt

 
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. For more than three years he’s been helping us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet. Today, he’s introducing a new book he wants you to be aware of.

 
Continue reading Janis Grady’s new book on life in Scientology: Jon Atack’s take, and an excerpt