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Posts Tagged ‘David Miscavige’

Leah Remini Aims Another Dart at the Church of Scientology

ShutterstockLeahReminiLeah Remini‘s LAPD missing-person report may have been quickly dissipated. But the former Scientologist and current Dancing with the Stars contestant still has a lot of fight left in her.

Per some eagle-eyed monitoring of the Comal County, Texas District Court docket by blogger Tony Ortega, Remini has agreed to provide a deposition later this month in connection with a harassment lawsuit brought against the Church and leader David Miscavige by Monique Rathbun. The deposition is scheduled to be taken October 15 in Los Angeles. From Ortega’s post:

While watching the docket in Monique’s lawsuit, we noticed today a reference to a transaction fee for a subpoena that listed Remini’s name. We then called [her attorney Ray] Jeffrey, who confirmed that he had talked to the actress and that she had agreed to give the deposition — which is happening one day after Jeffrey is scheduled to depose former Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis in Austin.

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Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes Send-Up Rolls into New York

It was a smash in Chicago. Now, August 20-24 at the Players Theatre as part of the New York International Fringe Festival, TheTomKat Project is set to wow fans in the very city where Katie Holmes pulled the plug on her marriage to Tom Cruise one year ago.

The play, featuring just a few odd props and the narration of writer Brandon Ogborn, skewers celebrity, the media and the Church of Scientology. There is no pretense at conventional celebrity impressions; lead actors Walt Delaney and Julie Dahlinger don’t much look like Cruise or Holmes. But that’s half the fun, with the support of a  versatile group of co-stars:

Based on actual interviews and completely imagined scenes, seven actors portray 54 characters including Oprah Winfrey, David Miscavige, Matt Lauer, Scarlett Johansson, Josh Hartnett, Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone, Cruise/Wagner partner Paula Wagner, Steven Spielberg, Nicole Kidman and Suri.

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Leah Remini Hits Church of Scientology with Missing-Person Report [Update]

Where is Shelly? This question is a rallying cry for many of those questioning the operational side of the Church of Scientology and was also at the causal center of actress Leah Remini‘s recent defection from the ranks.

Although Church spokespersons vehemently deny the wife of David Miscavige is “missing” in any way, shape or form, they are about to face a whole new level of public curiosity. From Tony Ortega‘s Underground Bunker:

After speaking with the Los Angeles Police Department, we have confirmed that on Wednesday Remini filed a missing-person report for Scientology leader David Miscavige’s wife, Shelly Miscavige, who has not been seen in public in six years.

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Paul Haggis Writes Open Letter to Leah Remini

The words of support appear in this week’s Hollywood Reporter magazine and comes via Europe, where Haggis has been working on a project for the past year and a half.

There are a number of interesting tidbits here, including a Church spokesman denying to THR that they recently registered the website domain whoisleahremini.com. Meanwhile, in his letter, Haggis states that Leah Remini was the only high-profile Church of Scientology member to remain in contact with him after he left the religion in 2009. She was also, he recalls, very friendly to him at a school function a few months after his exit.

Haggis argues that Remini deserves our full admiration for her courageous questioning of CoS higher-ups. The writer-director also shares an absolute howler of an anecdote:

When I was leaving [Scientology] and was visited by waves of angry friends and a phalange of top Scientology executives, trying to convince me to tear up my letter and resign quietly, I made a similar mistake by insisting they look into the charges of abuse detailed by the Tampa Bay Times. I was working on a film about Martin Luther King Jr. at that moment and made the polite suggestion that even great leaders like Dr. King were human and fallible.

Two of the senior church leaders leaped to their feet and shouted at me, “How dare you compare a great man like David Miscavige to Martin Luther King!” I ended the meeting at that point, thanking them for coming.

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Tony Ortega Posts Another Open Letter to Tom Cruise

As with almost all things Scientology/media related, it started with Tony Ortega. The former Village Voice EIC, now blogging at The Underground Bunker, was first to the Leah Remini defection story ahead of the New York Post, Hollywood Reporter and countless other outlets.

Today, Ortega revisits an even bigger CoS celebrity story – Tom Cruise’s deafening silence – in the form of a second open letter to the actor. He posted the first in February 2012, while still at the Voice, and today asks once again how the man with the million-dollar smile can tolerate the sanctioned environment of his billion-dollar spiritual leader:

You remember the stink that Leah raised at your wedding to Katie Holmes in 2006? Leah was surprised to see that your best man, Scientology leader David Miscavige, was there without his wife, Shelly. And when she asked about it, Tommy Davis told her, “You don’t have the f*cking rank to ask about Shelly…”

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Scientology Plaintiff Recasts Hubbard, Miscavige as Bond Villains

Five years after FishbowlLA first wrote about it, the legal crusade by Florida-based litigant Peter Letterese against the Church of Scientology continues. When Letterese recently reached out to us once more, he used an analogy that – regardless of the merits of his various complaints – lingered.

“In numerous places within his own writing, L. Ron Hubbard openly wrote about being a big Ian Fleming fan,” Letterese explained via email. “Every bit as dangerous as the Nazis, who used tanks, guns and ships to “conquer,” Hubbard, who didn’t have the financial resources for all that, created his own SPECTRE.”

In other words, Letterese is drawing a line from real-life USSR organization SMERSH and Fleming’s book-inspired version SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) to the idea that Hubbard was the equivalent of Ernst Stavro Blofeld and David Miscavige, ostensibly, Ernst Blofeld Jr. The current leader of the Church of Scientology does not have a white Persian cat, but as Janet Reitman‘s 2011 book about the non-profit religion alleged, he has owned dogs that come pretty close:

Miscavige would arrive flanked by his wife and Lou Stuckenbrock, a retinue of aides and, often, his beagles. He had five dogs, two of which, Jelly and Safi, wore tiny blue sweaters with commander’s bars. Miscavige was known to make his staffers salute the dogs, who held ranks higher than those of many people on the base.

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Cruise-Holmes Scientology Spoof Gathering Steam in Chicago

The buzz is growing for The TomKat Project, a bare-bones stage show running through April 24 at the Playground Theater in Chicago. Scientology watcher Tony Ortega let his readers know about it this morning and Tribune theater critic Nina Metz has just given the production a “Genius” rave:

It matters very little that Brianna Baker bears no meaningful resemblance to either Oprah Winfrey or Cruise attorney Bert Fields; she inhabits both with real skill and technique. This might be the best Winfrey impression I’ve seen, one that doesn’t overplay its hand but perfectly embodies her vocal tics and regal self-regard.

The Brandon Ogborn script sources media coverage of Cruise and Holmes from 1998 through 2012 to skewer celebrity journalism as much as it does Scientology. Ortega’s tipster, Synthia Fagen, says that Ogborn has told her there may be some interest from Comedy Central. [Editor's note: Please see reader comments below.]

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Paul Haggis Crashes Church of Scientology’s New Year

In the media this week, there’s something going on in reaction to the release of Lawrence Wright‘s book about Scientology that also occurred last year when Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorced, and separately when a Vanity Fair cover story outlined that whole business with Nazanin Boniadi.

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Our good friend Tony Ortega sums it up this way:

For those of us who watch Scientology closely, and have for many years, most of the [Lawrence Wright book-related] articles that have popped up in recent days seem to be gasping over things that have been known or written about for many years…

We would argue that for much of the public, the word [about Scientology] was already out long before today’s publication of Wright’s book. (Look at the reaction, for example, when on Monday The Atlantic magazine ran a paid church advertorial at its website extolling the virtues of Scientology leader David Miscavige. Even though there was nothing really wrong with The Atlantic taking the church’s money for an ad, the public denunciation of the magazine was so swift and loud, The Atlantic caved and took it down.)

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Latest Church of Scientology PR Crisis Heats Up

As we reported earlier this week, Paul Haggis’ comments about the shocking Vanity Fair October cover story involving Tom Cruise, the Church of Scientology and an alleged 2004 audition process was met with an almost equally disturbing response from the church. The CoS pointed to Googled proof of a prior Haggis “relationship” with the woman at the center of Maureen Orth’s article, Nazanin Boniadi (pictured).

Today, there is more of what will be much more as the Vanity Fair October issue begins to circulate. Over at Tony Ortega’s Village Voice CoS blog, Haggis has chimed in with a few more thoughts. He clarifies that although his emails to Showbiz 411 columnist Roger Friedman were taken as confirmation of the VF report, “Like everyone else, I have not even read their story.”

But Haggis stands firm on the central point of his reaching out. Vouching for Boniadi’s character:

“I am simply coming to the defense of a woman who has been publicly called a liar… Perhaps it’s just me, but I have never found Scientology’s blanket denials equally credible… It is my understanding that Naz is the subject of this article, not the source of it. Scientology has a long and well-documented history of attempting to bully its critics into silence. Here they are bullying a woman who has yet to even speak. I guess I just don’t like bullies.”

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Village Voice Editor Shares Another Huge Scientology Scoop

Tony Ortega has done it again. Over the weekend, on his Scientology-focused blog Runnin’ Scared, the Village Voice editor-in-chief published a groundbreaking two-part interview with John Brousseau, a 32-year member who very methodically “blew” Hemet’s Int Base in 2010.

Ortega remains the church’s number one journalistic foe, tirelessly publishing scoop after scoop. But FishbowlLA figured that this latest Saturday-Sunday opus must rank pretty high on his list of feature articles. Via email, Ortega concurred.

“I think this is definitely one of my favorite four or five Scientology pieces I’ve ever done,” Ortega says. “And people are telling me it fills in some interesting gaps in the historical record, so that’s nice to hear.”

“I was talking to JB for more than a year,” he adds. “In February 2011, Larry Wright’s New Yorker piece described some of the work Brousseau had done for Tom Cruise, and then I actually put his photos of that work up (Marty Rathbun had already done that too). Then, over the last year JB helped me here and there with stuff and questions about people like Ann Tidman [link] and Shelly Miscavige [link].”

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