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].”
“At some point I knew that he’d been Miscavige’s brother-in-law, but I had no idea about him making movies with L. Ron Hubbard and driving Hubbard around, or helping with the secrecy between [Pat] Broeker and Miscavige in the 1980s. Last week, I had called him up to have a general chat and it just started coming out of him.”
Brousseau’s association with the church started after he attended a 1977 New Year’s Eve party at Scientology headquarters in Berkeley. Much later on, in 2004, he was the person who installed metal bars on the doors and windows of a pair of buildings in Hemet infamously known – now more than ever – as “The Hole” (pictured). While Cruise comes across fairly well in some of Brousseau’s anecdotes, church leader David Miscavige takes another huge, megalomaniac hit.
As usual with Ortega’s articles, the comments are full of interesting additional details, everything from former member Karen de la Carriere’s recollections of being interviewed by authorities when Brousseau escaped in 2010 to another reader pointing out that Cruise was filmed by X17 yesterday visiting the Celebrity Center in Hollywood.
Kudos to Ortega for this thoroughly mesmerizing overview of how Miscagive infiltrated and eventually hijacked the movement.
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