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Posts Tagged ‘Scientology’

Reporter Hangs Out in New York with ‘Jewish Scientologist’

Refinery29LogoAt the bottom of today’s item about a shaky National Enquirer Scientology exclusive, The Bunker disturber-in-chief Tony Ortega adds a P.S.:

As long as we’re taking a look at the way Scientology is being treated by other outlets, we have to draw your attention to an article we were discussing in the comments earlier. A “senior features writer” for fashion website Refinery29 has written a well-researched story that does its best to imagine the situation if Scientology’s public relations about itself were actually based in reality. It’s quite a feat of speculative non-fiction, and we think you’ll find it a real hoot.

High, reverse praise. We have since checked out Kelsey Miller‘s item “Scientology: The Story You Have Not Heard” and as Ortega hints, if the Church has any sense, it will be blasting this link across the digital universe right up to Thanksgiving. From the article:

Aside from requesting that we use a pseudonym, Elaine appears to be a typical millennial in most respects. A petite, excitable, 30-year-old woman living in midtown Manhattan, she runs an event-planning business, watches Sex and the City reruns and is dying to get a cat. Elaine is the kind of person you stick with at the cocktail party when you don’t know anyone else. She’s chatty, open and doesn’t scare easy. She swears a lot.

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Paul Haggis Talks Scientology in SoHo

ShutterstockStingHaggisTribecaPaul Haggis‘ latest film, Third Person, opens in the UK Friday. To set the cinematic scene for readers there, Hermione Hoby caught up in New York with the writer-director for a weekend piece in The Telegraph.

Haggis understands that because he remains Scientology’s highest-profile “apostate,” conversations with journalists will inevitably turn to that subject. He rejects the idea that what he did was courageous, and says with time came even more perspective:

“I had no clue how insidious it was until I’d been out for, like, a year. You look back and go, ‘Oh my god.’ I was always an outsider and if it can affect me that much – a cynic and a loner and an outsider – go figure! You have to be really purposefully blind, you have to choose to be blind, and that’s what I was doing and that’s what all my friends were doing.”

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Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise – Two Years Later

KatieHolmesPeopleOctober2014According to the New York Daily News, Katie Holmes placed some limits around this week’s big interview with People. At least two of which involved the cover:

“Tom’s name could not appear on the cover,” says our source… “The coverage had to be positive and there also couldn’t be a picture of Suri on the cover, because Katie wanted to protect her daughter.”

Meanwhile, Tom Cruise was in London this month and per an Instagram photo showing him standing alongside former Miss Venezuela World Ruddy Rodriguez, he could be seen wearing his Scientology Freedom Medal of Valor.

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John Oliver on Banner Ads

There are many memorable sound bytes in John Oliver‘s 11-minute rant about native advertising from this weekend’s Last Week Tonight.

FishbowlNY particularly enjoyed Oliver’s take on the waning effectiveness of Web banner ads:

“One study found we only intentionally click on banner ads less than two-tenths of one percent of the time.”

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And Now for Something Completely Different: Eric Idle Tweets About Scientology

The posts at The Underground Bunker no longer come quite as fast and furiously as they once did, now that gatekeeper Tony Ortega has a day job. Still, when they do, they’re as fun and informative to read as ever.

Today, Ortega recaps a typically surreal Twitter trail. This one involved, earlier in the week, Monty Python member Eric Idle, a Scientologist, Kirstie Alley and more.

KirsteyAlleyReplytoIdle

From Ortega’s summary:

On Tuesday, as we noted earlier, Idle posted a tweet referring to a man named John Wood who has been recognized in the press as Python’s most dedicated fan. But he’s also one of the UK’s most ardent Scientologists, and after some help exposing Wood by Bunker reader Media Lush, Idle publicly distanced himself from Wood and his latest endeavor, a dating site…

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Actress Who Auditioned to Be Tom Cruise’s ‘Wife’ Speaks Publicly for the First Time

Here’s another PR nightmare for the Church of Scientology, to be denied in short order, no doubt. It comes courtesy of Australian magazine Woman’s Day, which published the scoop in print over the weekend and has allowed U.S. side media partner Tony Ortega to post online at his end. (Ortega’s item includes additional, separate material; he worked alongside Woman’s Day U.S. reporter Henry Meller on this latest sensational story.)

In the articles, Norwegian born actress Anette Iren Johansen picks up on that infamous October 2012 Vanity Fair feature by Maureen Orth. She says she was one of the other actresses “auditioned” by the Church in the mid-2000s to be Tom Cruise‘s next, post-Nicole Kidman girlfriend-wife:

Until that time [Copenhagen, January 2005], she had made some appearances in Scientology magazines and training films, and she assumed this was something similar. She noticed right away that there was something unusual about this project. There was a makeup team, for example, which she’d never seen before. She wanted to keep it light, but the woman in makeup told her it was important for this audition to be made up with eye shadow and glossy lips…

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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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Nicole Remini Fact-Checks the Chicago Sun-Times

First, there was Paul Haggis; then, no doubt, the fear that Katie Holmes would speak out if wrongly handled. One summer later, after the Cruise-Holmes divorce, the Church of Scientology’s media relations folks (and outside crisis PR firm) must now deal with the media pit stops of Leah Remini‘s feisty older sister Nicole.

It started, as we reported, with a Minneapolis-St.Paul FM radio station (Remini lives in the area). Today, it continues – and oh, how it continues – with The Underground Bunker’s Tony Ortega.

One detail that jumped out for us is Nicole’s allegation that a portion of Bill Zwecker‘s Sun-Times column is completely erroneous. Here’s what Zwecker wrote:

Since then I’ve learned the two actresses [Leah Remini, Kirstie Alley] have chatted and there is no loss of friendship.

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