Scientology Attorney Demands Jezebel Remove Our Story on Shelly Miscavige's Alleged Disappearance - 2018-12-20
A lawyer representing Shelly Miscavige, the wife of David Miscavige, Scientology's leader, has demanded that Jezebel remove a story we ran yesterday on Shelly's alleged disappearance. The attorney, Jeffrey K. Riffer, writes "Mrs. Miscavige is not missing" and that she is "appalled" by claims that she has disappeared. He adds that in running our piece, Jezebel furthered the harassment of one woman by another.
The allegations that Shelly Miscavige has disappeared come from Leah Remini, an ex-Scientologist turned one of the church's most prominent critics, via her show Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. Our blog yesterday featured a recap of the most recent show, which dealt entirely with the fact that Miscavige hasn't been seen in public since 2007, as well as how Scientology responded to the airing of the program. Remini filed a missing persons report in 2013, asking that Shelly's whereabouts be investigated, which Riffer correctly says was closed and labeled "unfounded" by the Los Angeles Police Department.
Jezebel contacted an attorney connected with Scientology and their media relations department yesterday and didn't receive a reply. After several hours, we ran our post, with a note that they had been contacted for comment and we would update if we heard back. About 30 minutes after the post went live, we received a response from the media relations department, asking only when our deadline was. When I replied that the story had gone live and I would update it with comment from them as soon as they provided it, I did not receive a response. The legal letter was sent at 9 p.m. California time, via email, about six hours after the post went live.