With its Super Bowl ad 'Curious?' nearing 1.2 million views, the Church of Scientology is no doubt pretty happy that the 30-second ad is now the most-watched video on its YouTube channel, just edging out an L. Ron Hubbard biographical spot that had a nine-year head start.
As it has since 2013, Scientology bought local ad spots during the Super Bowl broadcast for its slick ad, and the commercial has continued to run in prime time since then, in national spots during the Winter Olympics on NBC, for example.
But critics were quick to point out that Scientology was taking a huge risk with this year's ad, which encourages viewers to do an online search for information about the church. After all, there are mountains of information on the Internet about Scientology's controversies, the kind of stuff Scientologists are under strict instructions to avoid.
2018-02-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Scientology are exposing themselves again.
Years ago, the OcalaMission was opened with great fanfare as the first "Ideal" mission. It has been promoted this way since.
I visited this Mission some time after it was declared ideal and the Hungarian receptionist was unable to help me when I asked some questions about Dianetics and told me to come back on Tuesday evening (it was a Saturday afternoon as I recall) when the Mission ED would be there and that he could help. There wasn't anyone else in the place.
2017-02-12, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer questions from viewers left in the comments section of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) I appreciate all the time you spend disseminating information and correcting misapprehensions/untruths. I've been watching your videos for a few weeks now and still can't figure out how staff members support themselves. You've said they all have other paid jobs, but how do they work around the "emergency" demands at their Scientology posts that may require 12 hour days or more? Their paid jobs must be at nights and on the weekends — are they usually part time shift work? Those typically don't pay well or provide benefits. And what about when you personally were traveling on behalf of Scientology? That's days at a time when you aren't earning. I just cannot fathom how it works financially. I imagine roommates and shared housing are involved, but rents are very high in Santa Barbara, L.A., Pasadena, etc.!
(2) Can you talk about Rollback?
2017-02-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
L. Ron Hubbard and his wife Sara, the revised version published by CofS on the right.
This should be a treat!
They are making a movie about L. Ron Hubbard — no doubt to accompany a thorough drenching in Shermanspeak for the March 13 extravaganza.
Rod Keller fills us in on the latest tug of war between the residents of Clearwater and the Church of Scientology...
On February 6, commissioners for the City of Clearwater, Florida approved the "Imagine Clearwater" plan for the downtown waterfront district. The plan calls for the demolition of City Hall and the Harborview convention center, reworking the waterfront into a concert and event venue. The 50-year-old Harborview has been an eyesore for many years and has failed the original purpose as a convention center. Officials claim that City Hall is unsuitable for its purpose, being too small to house all city departments and too expensive to maintain. Rather than rebuild on the same site officials are leaving the downtown area and building a new City Hall elsewhere.
In 2013 a referendum passed to redevelop the entire site as the new home of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium which had experienced a boom in the aftermath of the movie Dolphin Tale, based on the story of Winter the dolphin who is on display at the aquarium. Scientology began working behind the scenes to oppose the plan and in 2015 the aquarium decided not to pursue that location. Scientology offered to purchase parts of the property in 2016 to develop additional hotel facilities, but that offer was not accepted.
In 2009, Scientology's fortunes took a major hit when several of its highest ranking former officials talked to the St. Petersburg (now Tampa Bay) Times for a blockbuster series titled "The Truth Rundown." Led by Mark "Marty" Rathbun, who at one time ranked second only to Scientology leader David Miscavige himself, these former executives gave the public its first glimpse into a bizarre world that included a private Scientology prison named "The Hole."
That was also the year that Marc Headley revealed what was happening at Scientology's secretive California "Int Base" in his book Blown for Good. Since then, these defectors — including Amy Scobee, Mike Rinder, Tom DeVocht, and Jefferson Hawkins — have provided a compelling picture of Scientology that eventually was portrayed last year in Alex Gibney's Emmy-winning film Going Clear.
But what of more recent defectors from Scientology's management ranks? In 2012, we profiled John Brousseau, the last person to leave Int Base and go public about it. He drove away from the base one day in 2010.
Danny Masterson, best known for his role as Steven Hyde on Fox's That '70s Show, addressed Scientology critics in a rare and candid interview with Paper magazine.
Alongside Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and Masterson's wife, Bijou Phillips, the second-generation Scientologist is just one of many Hollywood stars who are public followers of the religion (or "religious philosophy," as Masterson called it).
Masterson was interviewed in January during the Sundance Film Festival, where director Alex Gibney's controversial Scientology documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, was just days away from its world premiere. The Church of Scientology had previously made efforts to discredit the film through public statements posted on its Twitter account and in the pages of The New York Times. Claiming that the documentary was based on ungrounded facts, the Church tweeted: "Free speech is not a free pass to broadcast or publish false information."
By now you've probably seen Danny Masterson's interview with Paper magazine, which was posted online Wednesday evening. The piece is getting a lot of attention because Scientology's celebrities are usually very reluctant to talk publicly about the secretive organization.
The last time an actor said so much about his involvement in Scientology, and as aggressively, it was Tom Cruise in 2005, and it backfired on him rather spectacularly. But now, with Alex Gibney's Scientology documentary, based on Lawrence Wright's book Going Clear, airing on HBO on March 16 after its successful premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Masterson has been set loose, and with pretty remarkable results.
He trashed both Wright's book and Gibney's film version of it, and we're not going to say much about that. The people who have read the book and the many people who will see the movie starting next month will be able to judge Masterson's criticisms for themselves.
2015-02-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Someone recently sent me this letter.
It is straight from the horse's "mouth."
It should have been clear to everyone when the first "condition" on the release of "OT IX and X" was "enough OT VIII's" plus "all orgs SH Size" that this was never going to happen.
In the coming weeks, a private investigator in New York is expected to plead guilty to charges of paying a so-called hacker-for-hire firm to steal email passwords and credentials, said three people briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because no charges had been filed yet. The guilty plea would wrap up a nearly yearlong investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and federal prosecutors in New York.
Separately, federal prosecutors in San Francisco on Wednesday announced the indictment of two private investigators and two computer hackers on charges that they illegally entered email and Skype accounts to gather information for matters they were working on for clients. Some of the illegally gathered information was intended to support a lawsuit, authorities said.
The identity of the private investigator in New York, who works for a small firm, could not be determined.
Scientology celebrity records and information on their Narconon project, plus their war on mental health and campaign of harassment is detailed. We also discuss Danny Masterson's misguided defense of the Church position on homosexuality and compare it to the true position of Dianetics. We also talk about Bill Cosby at the Playboy mansion, the possible criminal conspiracy to enable him to rape women, and if charges will be brought against Cosby. Finally, learn about the shooting of Kameron Segal in Hollywood while he was seated in his Rolls Royce, and the possible ponzi scheme that turned deadly is discussed in detail with journalist Mark Ebner on this uncensored Crime Time, hosted by Allison Hope Weiner.
Mark Ebner is an investigative journalist who has covered celebrity and crime culture for such publications as Rolling Stone, Maxim, Details and Spy. Mark has investigated such controversial subjects as Scientology, dog fighting and the Ku Klux Klan. A published author, Mark co-wrote the New York Times bestseller "Hollywood, Interrupted" with Andrew Breitbart and Six Degrees of Paris Hilton. Most recently he co-authored "We Have Your Husband," a story about a kidnapping in Mexico. In addition to writing, he has served as a commentator on NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, NPR, Court TV and E! Entertainment Television to name a few. Mark was a consultant on the Emmy nominated episode of South Park's "Trapped in the Closet" and also consulted for NBC/Dateline on the Paris Hilton Tapes report. Ebner runs a blog at hollywoodinterrupted.com where he reports on breaking news from Hollywood.
American actor and practicing Scientologist Danny Masterson has told haters of his religion exactly what he thinks of them in an expletive-filled interview.
Danny Masterson gave an interview to Paper magazine at the Sundance Film Festival ahead of the premiere of controversial documentary 'Going Clear :Scientology and the Prison of Belief'.
"I heard about that documentary," Masterson told the magazine. "The documentary where they interviewed eight people who hate Scientology. Should be pretty interesting. I wonder if Sundance would allow a documentary of, like, eight people who hate Judaism. But you know, my religion's fair game, I guess, 'cause it's new."
This is the culture. One leaves the years of slave labor within the "Sea Organization" penniless and without any resources.m More lately a farewell check of $500 is give the departing Sea Org member only if they sign their life away on a bunch of bogus documents which state they will *NEVER* ever reveal anything that went on in the Sea Org. This is because they have a lot to hide. Stay tuned to get the revelations.
Responding to questions from Radio Dialogue, Bulawayo City Council (BCC) Senior Public Relations Officer, Nesisa Mpofu said it was the responsibility of the owner of the building to ensure that the building remains unoccupied until it has been refurbished.
The building belongs to the Church of Scientology.
"The conditions at Marvel Court are not suitable for human habitation. A statutory notice was served upon Church of Scientology to ensure the premises were vacated hence the eviction which was served out last year with the assistance of the Zimbabwe Republic Police. The Church of Scientology is supposed to ensure that the premises are not occupied until repairs are done," said Mpofu.
An official from the Church of Scientology in Zimbabwe, who identified himself as Mr Chipere said the issue was benign handled by their Johannesburg office.
2014-02-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Reaching out to the Chinese community of Pasadena when they are not even scraping the surface on the english speaking population...
How come they don't have a Spanish speaking mission?
Or how about any english speaking ones?
Yesterday, former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder posted a stunning new flier at his blog.
The flier was part of a series describing the fundraising for a project to replace the Mountain View, California church with a new facility that will be known as the "Silicon Valley Ideal Org."
More than 10 years after it started, Scientology leader David Miscavige's "Ideal Org" push has put church members under intense pressure to donate huge sums so expensive buildings can be purchased and renovated, in many cases so they can replace normal "orgs" which may not really be deficient or need replacing.
Oops! We plum forgot that we'd scheduled this video for this morning. Things have been a bit crazy around the Bunker lately, and we did imbibe a bit last night, joining in to "wet the head" of our newest reader, Grayson Headley. (And so did Jonny Jacobsen — check out the photos we added this morning!)
Anyway, we have to say the Birmingham Org really seems to have stepped up its game judging by this Star Wars cavalcade it put on recently in order to separate local Scientologists from their money.
After the jump, we'll remind you of what a Birmingham fundraiser looked like back in 2011!
2012-02-12, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
On day one of Scientology Inc v Debbie Cook, after witnessing the opening statements of Ray Jeffrey and George Spencer, after Debbie Cook was called as first witness of the plaintiff, and after being dismissed from the courtroom as announced witnesses, Mike Rinder and I took a leisurely stroll at the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio. We could relax for a moment since by then we were assured that we owned David Miscavige.
We talked about the state of David Miscavige's mind as reflected in his handling of the Battle of San Antonio. Our walk was relaxed because we knew that Miscavige's arrogant, ill-advised first move would be his last – calling Debbie Cook to the stand. I said to Mike, "these days, watching Scientology Inc Legal is like watching a Tommy Davis PR performance." Mike mused about how predictable it was that Miscavige would react as we figured he would to our message from the Alamo.
We reflected on how after our announcing to the world that Miscavige was following right in the footsteps of infamous general and despot Santa Anna, he had ignored the well-known aphorism of philosopher George Santayana:
2012-02-12, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Scientologists don't really have a Sunday service. They like to say that they do, because they crave mainstream acceptance. But unless Xenu rested after six days and L. Ron Hubbard just forgot to mention it, there's no reason for Scientologists to treat Sunday any differently than every other day of coursework, detoxes, fundraising, and generally clearing the planet.
So here at the Voice, we've come up with a Scientology Sunday tradition of our own, and we call it Sunday Funnies! Our sources regularly send us Scientology's wacky and tacky fundraising mailers, and each week we choose three of them to gaze upon, hoping that it inspires you to wax eloquent in our comments section. So here we go...
Ah, ripe young targets in the Windy City!
2011-02-12, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
There was an interesting comment on Marty's blog that didn't get the attention it should have. Someone noticed the same phrase popping up again and again in the comments sections of the current spate of online Scientology news stories.
The phrase was "This article is another thinly veiled tabloid piece repeating old and new rumors from people with an axe to grind with the Church of Scientology."
It was found copied and pasted word for word into comments placed on dozens, even hundreds of news sites.
2011-02-12, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
In the midst of unprecedented numbers visting my blog during the airing of the fourth post related to the New Yorker Story on Scientology, I was notified by WordPress yesterday that I was locked out of publishing new posts temporarily. After many hours of investigation, the reason for the CENSORSHIP was finally disclosed:
We have received complaints that you are promoting your site in unsolicited emails. If you are doing so, please cease this activity. If we continue to receive these types of complaints regarding your site, your site can be suspended permanently.
The Church of Scientology is coming under fire from six former members. They claim they were mentally and physically abused and forced to work around the clock.
Susan Hirasuna was live at the Scientology headquarters in Hollywood and has the latest in this video report.
The passive response by the Church of Scientology to the so-called global protest launched against it over the weekend -- with 200 (mostly) masked pickets gathering Sunday outside the religious movement's Toronto headquarters on Yonge St. -- suggests one of two possibilities.
Either the church has become tame with its celebrity-drenched fame, or it is gone into strategic withdrawal in hopes that its latest critics, the Internet collective called Anonymous, will soon enough fade away.
For it is not the game it used to play when L. Ron Hubbard called the shots, and figuratively sent out the attack dogs on anyone with a disparaging word.
A spokesperson for the Church of Scientology labelled Sunday's protest outside its office at Yonge & St Mary -- part of a worldwide series of protests -- a "religious hate crime" and said that the "hate crimes of Anonymous should be condemned," as reported in Torontoist, CTV and the Toronto Sun, among others.
That got us thinking. Accusing someone of a "hate crime" is pretty damning. Are the protestors guilty of it? Our preliminary answer, based on the facts known to us: probably -- and almost certainly -- not.
Astra Woodcraft, apostate and defector, is the latest enemy of the Church of Scientology.
Woodcraft, 22, never really joined this controversial psycho-spiritual movement, at least not as a free-thinking adult. Astra was born into it.
Founded in the 1950s by L. Ron Hubbard, a prolific science fiction writer and freelance philosopher, Scientology describes itself as "the only major new religion established in the 20th century," as a bridge to increased awareness and spiritual freedom.
Woodcraft, a third-generation Scientologist, paints a different picture.
Recruited at age 14 into the movement's elite "Sea Organization," Woodcraft describes a brave new world of authoritarianism, greed and spiritual manipulation.
In divorce papers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in 1951, Sara Hubbard said the founder of Scientology did not mention that he was already married - and had two children - when they exchanged their vows on Aug. 10, 1946.
Hubbard did not secure a divorce from his first wife until Dec. 24, 1947.
In her divorce papers, Sara Hubbard accused the self-help guru of "systematic torture, beatings, strangulations and scientific torture experiments." She also accused Hubbard of kidnapping Alexis, a story that made headlines in Los Angeles in 1951.
Speaking on Jan. 29 to a group of about 25 at Garden Grove Medical Center, CCHR organizer Jacki Panzik said, "Something devastating has happened to American education." Her evidence: "a sharp decline in literacy and morality in our schools."
"This has not happened by chance, but rather it is the result of a carefully orchestrated sequence of events," Panzik said.
For the next 90 harrowing minutes, a slide show and video presentation provided terrifying proof of a several-hundred-year-old plot by psychologists to undermine public education. Attendees listened slack-jawed as CCHR volunteers described the creation of such "fictitious" afflictions as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), psychology-based classroom programs such as "Death Education" and "Indoctrination into the Gay Lifestyle," and forcible drugging of students by school officials.
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Actor John Travolta, who stars in an upcoming movie about a candidate bearing a strong resemblance to President Clinton, says the president took an interest last year in a favorite cause of his: the treatment by Germany of members of the Church of Scientology.
Travolta, a Scientologist, is quoted in the March issue of the magazine George from an interview while promoting the movie "Primary Colors." He says Clinton told him, "I'd really love to help you with your issue in Germany with Scientology."
Travolta said the White House later arranged for him to discuss the issue with National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, whom the magazine described as the administration's "Scientology point person." The article does not contend Clinton took any more specific action than that.
Assistant Attorney General Guy Hurst said no hearing date has been set on his application for a contempt citation filed on behalf of the state Department of Mental Health.
Oklahoma County District Judge John Amick had ordered Narconon to remove all of its patients Monday from the unlicensed, uncertified facility, Hurst said.
The penalty for contempt of court is "$200 a day until they purge themselves of contempt and up to six months in jail," Hurst said.
"Normally people follow court orders. I've worked in the Attorney General's office seven years. I can't remember when we've had this problem," Hurst said.
A developer has been sentenced to six years in prison for extorting money from the Church of Scientology in exchange for bogus information about a $1.5 million check forgery.
U.S. District Judge John J. McNaught also imposed the maximum $10,000 fine on George T. Kattar and ordered him to pay back $33,333 to the church.
"I don't know why I ever got involved," the 68-year-old real estate developer told the court Wednesday as family members wept. "I can never repay my family for the embarrassment I caused them, and I am truly sorry."