Venture capitalist Peter Thiel has made an offer for Gawker, hoping to overcome legal hurdles and rival bidders for the site whose collapse the billionaire helped precipitate last year, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
Gawker's news site has been inactive for more than a year, after it was shut down following a massive lawsuit against it by wrestling star Hulk Hogan, which Thiel bankrolled. In 2007, Gawker revealed Thiel was gay.
Gawker is conducting an auction of its remaining assets, including its domain names and nearly 200,000 archived articles. Most of its assets, including its sister pages Deadspin and Jezebel were bought in 2016 for $135m by media company Univision Holdings.
Venture capitalist Peter Thiel has made an offer for Gawker, hoping to overcome legal hurdles and rival bidders for the online news site the billionaire helped shutter by funding litigation against it, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
Gawker, which has been inactive for more than a year, is conducting an auction of its remaining assets, including its domain names and nearly 200,000 archived articles. Most of its assets, including its sister pages Deadspin, a sports site, and Jezebel, a feminist blog, were bought in 2016 for $135 million by media company Univision Holdings Inc (UVN.N).
Thiel has not said why he wants Gawker, though the potential acquisition would let him take down stories regarding his personal life that are still available on the website, and remove the scope for further litigation between him and Gawker. Thiel, who is Facebook Inc's (FB.O) first major investor and a co-founder of payment service PayPal Inc (PYPL.O), did not respond to a request for comment.
2018-01-12, Molly Roberts, Opinion, Washington Post
Peter Thiel killed Gawker once. Now it looks like he may kill it again.
Reuters reports that the venture capitalist has put in a bid to buy the defunct news site, which became defunct after he bankrolled a lawsuit that drove it into bankruptcy in 2016. If Thiel succeeds, he will own Gawker's archives and all the nasty things its writers said about him. Then, he can delete them.
This is scary. And, of course, it has divided the Internet. Some think Gawker fed all of society's worst voyeuristic impulses while tearing away at journalistic values, or at least that the outlet's clickbaity catering to the prurient negated any more serious work it produced. Others maintain that Gawker could have saved media if media had listened — that the norms it challenged needed a good knocking around and that the website skewered people in positions of power who'd gone unskewered too long.
Over the last several months, we've been posting numerous FBI documents about Scientology that have been pried loose by journalist Emma Best as part of a lawsuit. She's been kind enough to give us a crack at many of the items as they've come available, and that's led to some really fun disclosures like a 1985 letter from Nibs that we got to see for the first time recently.
There are so many new documents, some of them we have barely had time to skim, and, as with many government releases, some of it is not super exciting or revelatory. One file the FBI released, for example, was mostly about email threats the Church of Scientology was receiving circa 2006 from a determined and very angry person. It really wasn't very interesting to us.
However, one page in that file we did find pretty remarkable.
2017-01-12, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Regardless of how Scientology started, what it has become at the present is a total con job which promises potential converts a toolkit to solve the problems of their life and eventually a path to spiritual enlightenment and understanding. I say "con job" because over the past few years, it's become more and more obvious to the world at large that Scientology is not everything it claims to be and it cannot fulfill any of the lofty promises it makes.
What's even worse is that once someone joins its ranks, it is very hard to get out. For some who have broken away, they've found only pain and tragedy because Scientology has enforced its policy of disconnection on their friends and family, taking away their most precious loved ones simply because they exercised their right to think and act for themselves. Let's not even talk about the really nasty stuff, when Scientology tries to publicly smear you and starts stalking and harassing you if you speak out against it.
With all the exposure in documentaries, the media and on channels such as this, we have certainly learned that Scientology is something to stay the hell away from. But have we learned anything else? Are there any other lessons we can take away from this which apply to the big wide world? You bet there are. Because the methods that Scientology uses to manipulate new recruits and existing members are not unique to Scientology. Not by a long way. And if we recognize that, we can learn to watch for some of them in other places and not get drawn into situations we don't want to be in. Here are five harsh lessons I think we could all learn from Scientology:
Scientology's 56-year-old leader, David Miscavige, and his 80-year-old father, Ron Miscavige, have been embroiled for months in an epic feud that has brought the family's dysfunction into public view. It also has exposed the church to questions about whether its core practices — costing thousands of dollars — live up to their claimed benefits when it comes to family.
The father, who brought his wife and kids into Scientology in 1969, now calls his son a tyrant who has turned the church into a bullying, paranoid, money grubbing enterprise that has ruined families, including his own, with its practice of "disconnection."
The son, through his church, says Ron Miscavige is a wife-beating, philandering, child-abusing "monster" who is lying to make money off the family name. His two sisters, residents of Clearwater, have taken his side, saying they never want to see their father again. And Ron Miscavige's other son, known in the family as Ronnie, has been pulled into the fray, accused by the sisters of sexually abusing them when they were children while their father looked the other way.
Despite taking extra time to come up with a response, and then blowing the deadline they set for themselves, the Los AngelesPolice Department finally answered Leah Remini's request for specific information about Shelly Miscavige yesterday by telling her they weren't going to answer any of her questions.
The letter from the police department, which we have below, did offer to send Remini responses on two of her more general questions about LAPD policy on missing persons reports.
But specific information that Leah wanted in regards to her 2013 missing person report about Shelly Miscavige and how it was resolved? She's getting nothing.
2017-01-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
REISDORF FAMILY AFTERMATH – Disconnection
This is the story of the last 4-5 years of the subtle coercion and lengths the church will go to, to enforce disconnection of families and friends. I will say it felt like mental torture and being put in a situation of making a Sophie's Choice between your children. I will also liken it to the term "gaslighting" which perfectly explains how I felt during this time period. (Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which information is twisted or spun, selectively omitted to favor the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity).
It also shows that the church absolutely lies that disconnection is not enforced. This was reinforced by the lawyer Monique Yingling, a spokesperson for the church who was on the 20/20 episode which just aired on ABC last Friday night – she stated that a person is ONLY declared if they speak out against the church. This is an ABSOLUTE LIE. My story will show you that it is a lie.
2016-01-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Haven't had a chance to get this out yet.
It perhaps encapsulates the reality within the scientology bubble better than anything.
It is not only full of typos and spelling mistakes (Narcannon?), it is full of "scientology-think" - a strain of illogic that is sometimes hard to believe. And as an added bonus, it has a generous helping of shermanspeak ("the moment we synchronize with eternity" - perhaps it's some sort of get-together on infinity's porch?).
(Chief Chad Loewen)
We've been really busy with an investigative story that we hope to uncork tomorrow. But in the meantime, we want to thank reader QBird, who took it upon herself to follow up on one of our recent stories.
You might remember our piece on Scientology claiming that it got $5.7 million from Google in the form of advertising grants. We first reported the story in 2014, but just recently it blew up again when it got picked up by other media. So on Thursday, we posted for the first time the audio recording of Scientology official Brandy Harrison talking about Google's largesse at a Los Angeles "Ideal Org" fundraiser.
In this satirical video Scientology attorney E. Stuart Mills meets with a senior Church of Scientology official to discuss a very expensive problem. Scientology Dictator David Miscavige, it seems, is caught in a hellish dilemma.
David Miscavige absolutely wants to be in charge the entire Church of Scientology and its vast piles of money, lawyers, PI's building, and everything else.
Any yet, Miscavige told the IRS he is only in charge of the Religious Technology Center (RTC). Now that he is being named in lawsuits, Miscavige has to stick with the script he gave to the IRS. If it is proved that Miscavige runs the entire Church of Scientology then several corporate veils are pierced. This could cause big trouble. Therefore, Miscavige has to spend a fortune lawyers to keep all of his lies in place:
* Captain Misavige's rank means nothing -- and don't you dare call him "Captain" or else!
* Captain Misavige has nothing to do with managing the daily affairs of the Church of Scientology International.
* Captain Miscavige does not have a phone. But maybe he does.
As OTVIIIisGrrr8! wrote on December 10, 2014 on the Underground Bunker:
We in RTC feel the need to point out the obvious to the Chattering Wog Classes who understand neither the subtleties nor the niceties of the Scientology religion.
1. Mr. Miscavige has no connections to Oklahoma, Texas, or anywhere else in the physical universe.
2. As a Sea Org member, Mr. Miscavige is simply a part of an unincorporated membership association that has no address, no bank account, no stationery, and does not exist.
3. Above all, as a thetan, Mr. Miscavige is a static. What is a static? As defined by Axiom 34, the ultimate truth is a static:
"Axiom 35: The ultimate truth is a static. A static has no mass, meaning, mobility, no wavelength, no time no location in space, no space. This has the technical name of 'basic truth.'"
Essentially, then, Mr. Miscavige simultaneously does not exist, and, Mr. Miscavige is the ultimate truth. This explains why the mere mention of his name as-ises lawsuits and they vanish.
All lawsuits against Mr. Miscavige contain lies that cannot persist in the presence of ultimate truth.
Therefore, any attempt by wogs to sue the ultimate truth who is being the nonexistent Mr. Miscavige only as an administrative convenience to facilitate the straight up and vertical expansion of Scientology organizations is doomed to failure. The ultimate truth cannot be sued anymore than any other nonexistent entity can be sued. Sue David Miscavige? One might as well sue Mickey Mouse for all the good it does.
It is futility itself to sue a static who does not actually exist in time and space. Mr. Miscavige's supernal physical body is actually a manifestation, or incarnation, of ultimate truth. The only thing that can be said about this supernal manifestation is that it likes to drink fine scotch and will never make itself available for either the service of summons or for deposition; this is the Tao of David Miscavige you see.
INTERVIEW with writer, Allen Barton, about his new play, DISCONNECTION opening January 24, 2015.
Based on true events and current headlines, DISCONNECTION is a powerful indictment of contemporary religious intrusions into personal relationships. A successful lawyer, his classical piano mentor, and his estranged daughter all confront the dark side of dedication to a Church whose aged founder faces the end of his life in isolation and regret.
Produced by Skylight Theatre Company. DISCONNECTION plays at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, in Los Angeles.
Scientologists Zabrina Collins and Michael O'Donnell have won High Court orders restraining former Scientologists Peter Griffiths and John McGhee from harassing, assaulting or intimidating them in anti-drugs and other work they do for their Church.
Griffiths, of Teeling Street, Ballina, Co Mayo, in turn has sued Collins, the daughter of wrongly convicted Co Donegal publican Frank Shortt for alleged defamation of character. Ms Collins' address was given as Parnell Square West, Dublin.
Judge Jacqueline Linnane today addressed all of the parties in the Circuit Civil Court, which is now handling the case, and told them the clock had already started ticking on a mounting legal bill both on High Court and Circuit Court costs.
A judge has warned current and former members of the Church of Scientology to "sit down and be reasonable" with each other if they want to avoid a massive legal costs bill.
Scientologists Zabrina Collins and Michael O'Donnell have won High Court orders restraining former members Peter Griffiths and John McGhee from harassing, assaulting or intimidating them over work they do for their church.
Mr Griffiths, of Teeling Street, Ballina, Co Mayo, in turn has sued Ms Collins, the daughter of wrongly convicted Co Donegal publican Frank Shortt, for alleged defamation of character.
Surprise! If you're looking for our Monday reveal, we sprang it early, on Saturday afternoon. Our big secret was the title and subject of our forthcoming book, 'The Unbreakable Miss Lovely,' about the life of Paulette Cooper, which London-based Silvertail Books is publishing in May.
We decided to keep that announcement up the rest of the weekend, so today we're going to post our delayed Sunday Funnies - they're our Monday Funnies!
And we're going to start off with more evidence which convinces us that Scientology is taking very seriously the threats it is facing in 2015. We know that the organization has been dealing with dwindling membership for years, key defections by important officials, a tenacious "indie" movement that tries to entice other members to leave, and the growing legal problems of Narconon.
Das in London ansässige Verlagshaus ´Silvertail Books´ bringt ab Mai unter dem Titel ´The Unbreakable Miss Lovely´ die Geschichte über Pauletta Cooper heraus. Cooper war das bekannteste Opfer des berüchtigten und ruchlosen Vergeltungssystem der Scientology-Sekte.
Gary Weber was one of several GO members who paraded in Nazi uniforms outside the Clearwater Sun offices in 1979 to protest how the newspaper was treating Scientology Gary Weber first went public about his past as a member of Scientology's Guardian's Office seven or eight years ago at Arnie Lerma's site. It's an excellent read, and we recommend that you go over there for the full account from Gary about his tenure as a Scientologist, a member of the Sea Org, and an operative in Scientology's original spy corps, the GO.
He's now agreed to a video interview with Karen de la Carriere, and we're happy to premiere the first episode today.
We also talked to him last night by telephone, and he told us about what he did as a Guardian's Office member, circa 1979: "I would go into the Org and get these folders of the parishioners, and brought them to the GO, where they were putting together dead-agent packs for anyone who might turn on them."
2014-01-12, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
The following is an excerpt from chapter one of A Course in Graduating From Scientology.
At its core scientology revolves around the auditing process. The word auditing comes from the Latin root audire which means to listen, or to listen and compute. The entire purpose of a scientology auditor is to provide an environment in which an individual may look at his or her life in such an honest fashion that that which is viewed no longer has a hold on that person. Scientology postulates that 'charge' (mental energy) 'erases' through that process. One could just as easily consider that one's witnessed experience objectifies. That is, one's experience moves from the subjective (part of, and affecting oneself) to the objective. In that construct, matters of the mind that tend to drive one on an automatic basis are no longer hidden and automatic. Objectivized energy of the mind is no more capable of driving you than any other person or idea that you can clearly see as apart from yourself. Given a workable methodology for pursuing such objectifying, your own choice in the matter of what to do, what to choose, what to pursue and what to react to can be restored to you. Each time one honestly witnesses in this wise one recognizes a little more about the true nature of self and its relationship with matter, energy, space, time and life. Witnessing is what led the Buddha – and many other sages - toward recognizing the impermanent nature of matter, energy, space, time, and life forms.
It is my view that any time devoted to honestly viewing the content of your mind, your experience, what arises in consciousness, is progress in moving the external world back out of one's head where it no longer drives you. That is so provided one is permitted to do so on a self-determined basis and to cease once one's attic is cleared to one's own satisfaction. Hubbard once described the mechanics of auditing in this very wise in the book Evolution of a Science.
The name L. Ron Hubbard is hardly one to inspire confidence, its elongated version – Lafayette Ronald Hubbard – even less so. It's hard to imagine Christianity would ever have got off the ground with a founder called L. Ron Christ.
Against these odds, L. Ron Hubbard's Church of Scientology, founded by the former pulp science-fiction writer in 1954, has been surprisingly successful. It now claims to have ten million followers worldwide, most famously Tom Cruise and John Travolta.
It has been even more successful in accruing property, owning 11?million square feet of property around the world, including a very grand building in the City of London, and a seedy-looking 'Life Improvement Centre' just along from The Church of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Tottenham Court Road.
The Church of Scientology imposes a raft of restrictions and mental controls on its religious workers, who grind on, abiding 100-hour workweeks.
In mid 2009, two FBI agents based in Los Angeles quietly started investigating the church's treatment of its workers. Investigators continued through 2010 and into 2011. It was the FBI's first known criminal investigation of Scientology in 30 years.
2013-01-12, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Some have questioned lately where I stand on the subject of Scientology and its author L. Ron Hubbard. I have found that perplexing since I believe I have pretty thoroughly shared that through my writings over the past four years. It occurred to me that maybe I lost some folks in never opening up for discussion topics that I covered in the greatest detail in the book What Is Wrong With Scientology? Healing Through Understanding.
In chapter 15 Hereafter of that book I laid out three lessons I had learned since leaving the church of Scientology that I believed if not learned by Scientologists would spell Scientology's demise as a viable subject in the future. The first lesson was that Scientologists need to develop the tolerance and compassion necessary to integrate. That particular segment of the book is republished below. Feel free to sound off on what is wrong with this, what is unworkable about this, where I was inaccurate or unfair, why it ought not be heeded, or whatever else you want to say about it (within the bounds, or course, of this blog's moderation policy).
2012-01-12, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
While we were on the subject of outing corporate Scientology spooks, Tony Ortega at the Village Voice happened to bring up another Miscavige deep cover agent. Tony reported on Miscavige's long-term mole into the family and life of Tom Cruise.
Please read the story at this link, Michael "The Dovenator" Doven.
Why would Doven be given "celebrity" status at Celebrity Center Int, be dished a bunch of Scientology Celebrity business, and be put on full-time study by Miscavige - all starting in the summer of 2010?
2012-01-12, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
On Thursdays, Scientology's staff members race to get their statistics turned in by 2 pm, the end of their week. Here at the Voice, we do the same thing, rounding up the world's media on Scientology each Thursday and deciding whether the church has had an "upstat" or "downstat" week. (Go here for our primer, "What is Scientology?")
We're going to do something different this time, however. The first two weeks of 2012 have been disastrous for Scientology, what with former high-ranking official Debbie Cook e-mailing thousands of her fellow church members in what amounts to a call of rebellion that will further rip apart an organization splitting at the seams, and this week, a leak of major proportions: images of the outlandish and weird things planned for the "Super Power Building" that is slated to become Scientology's "Mecca" this year.
There's been so much "entheta" that is sure to "enturbulate" Scientologists (translation: negative press that is going to mess with their minds), we figured it was time to reverse the tide. And so, today, we're going to give Scientology a pure win, an upstat it is dearly in need of. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Michael Doven, perhaps the church's greatest living student of L. Ron Hubbard's technology!
Councillor Martin Mullaney (Lib Dem Moseley, Kings Heath) requested that this allowance is reviewed at a full cabinet meeting.
He said: "We are reviewing which organisations we give the 80 per cent discretionary rate relief to.
"Normally it's charities or religious groups and as it's been pointed out by various local residents in Moseley, that Birmingham is one of the few local authorities that give 80 per cent reductions to the Church of Scientology. They are not recognised by the Inland Revenue as a church or religious group."
In Italy, the pre-Christmas release of the book "The Courage to Speak Out - Stories of ex-Scientologists" was met with a promise from the National Church of Scientology of Italy to bring legal action against the author and "whomever has assisted her." A spokeswoman for the book's publisher told CNA that, as of yet, no such action has been taken against them.
"The Courage to Speak Out" includes stories from 14 ex-members of the Church of Scientology. It is the second volume from Maria Pia Gardini that relates first-hand perspectives from inside this church. The first edition, titled "My Years in Scientology," was based on her own time as a member.
They allowed the charity, the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE), to take a stall at the party's annual conference in Manchester.
Exhibitors at the conference have to pay up to £13,500. The stand was part of an extensive lobbying operation by Scientology members to promote its drug treatment programme, Narconon, and the criminal rehabilitation scheme Criminon.
2006-01-12, Andrew Gumbel, Los Angeles CityBeat, Southland Publishing
A few days ago, I visited their new anti-psychiatry museum in Hollywood, thinking, correctly, that it would offer an intriguing window into the thinking of a notoriously secretive organization. With a name like "Psychiatry: Industry of Death," the exhibit was not exactly going to be coy about its point of view.
About halfway through the lengthy parade of videos and visual displays - after I had been informed of psychiatry's long-standing "master plan" for world domination, after the lecture about Adolf Hitler's central role in making this plan a reality, but just before the display holding psychiatry to blame for the deaths of Ernest Hemingway, Del Shannon, Billie Holiday, Kurt Cobain, Spalding Gray, and just about every other entertainment celebrity who did not happen to die of strictly natural causes - a man in a gray shirt and matching tie approached me in the semi-darkness and asked me to step aside.
Imagine President Clinton posing with Newt Gingrich for a Republican Party newsletter.
That's roughly what it was like for Mayor Rita Garvey to be pictured in a Church of Scientology publication last week, smiling and appearing to support the organization's anti-drug efforts.
Garvey, in fact, is one of the few outspoken critics of Scientology remaining in Clearwater. She wants nothing to do with the organization and does not believe Scientology is a "credible organization."
An Arizona "deprogrammer" who consulted with federal authorities last year on Waco's Branch Davidians, went on trial today in Grays Harbor Superior Court on charges of the unlawful imprisonment of an 18-year-old man whose mother wanted him out of a Bellevue fundamentalist church.
The cruise ship Boheme has received an engine overhaul since being purchased by a group of Scientologists, and the vessel soon will get a stem-to-stern refurbishing at a cost of more than $1-million.
But it still has no home port.
The 500-passenger ship sailed out of the Port of St. Petersburg for 19 months while it was owned by Commodore Cruise Lines. But the vessel was purchased this past September by the International Association of Scientologists for use as a sailing religious retreat.