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Scientology, Harvey Weinstein, and Crisis Management Entrepreneur Mike Sitrick

When the stories of Harvey Weinstein perpetrating sexual assaults and rapes began to surface in  2017, Weinstein retained the services of Sitrick & Company. We cover the story of Weinstein here as Mike Sitrick and his firm have represented the Church of Scientology. Sitrick’s business of “crisis management” apparently has an Ecclesiastical Division in the company as Sitrick did work for the Los Angeles Archdiocese as it fought law enforcement and victims for decades under the leadership of the now disgraced Cardinal Roger Mahony.

Scientology’s disastrous 2013 advertorial in The Atlantic created a big PR blowback for the Church of Scientology:

While we don’t know if Sitrick was behind the advertorial; what we do know is that he took calls in response to David Miscavige’s self-aggrandizing advertorial. In these calls Sitrick stated that he had been working for the Church of Scientology for three and a half years. That would take us back to 2009 time frame. This was a crucial period in Scientology’s history. Anonymous had taken on the Church in 2008. Other than Scientology creating a laughably fake anthrax threat and accusing Anons of being the terrorists behind it, Scientology showed a complete inability to handle Anonymous.

For new Scientology watchers, a bit of history is in order to show why Anonymous choose to take on the Church of Scientology in 2008. Part of the story goes back to 2005 when South Park famously lampooned Scientology, Tom Cruise, and John Travolta.

SCIENTOLOGY, TOM CRUISE, SOUTH PARK, CAA & ANONYMOUS

Ronan Farrow, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist at the center of the Harvey Weinstein story, is represented by Creative Artists Agency. CAA is worth noting here as Tom Cruise’s agent Kevin Huvane is a managing partner at the Hollywood powerhouse CAA. Cruise’s long-time production partner Paula Wagner, who had helped Cruise launch the lucrative Mission Impossible franchise in 1993 when Cruise/Wagner Productions began, was a former CAA agent. Wagner’s husband Rick Nicita was a partner at CAA through 2008.

When South Park episode 912 “Trapped in the Closet” — an episode that satirized Scientology, Cruise, and Travolta — was set to air in November 2005, Cruise and Scientology called upon their contacts at CAA for help. A meeting was set up to see what could be done to stop the South Park episode from airing . Mike Rinder, who was then in charge of Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs, was dispatched to CAA along with other Scientology execs to ask for CAA’s help in stopping the broadcast of the South Park episode.

Jacob Siegel’s 2015 story in the Daily Beast Why Scientology’s Cone of Silence Shattered offers a revealing insight into Scientology’s attempt to stop South Park episode 912 from airing:

“When South Park did their program, I went to CAA,” said Rinder, using the abbreviation for Creative Artists Agency, a top Hollywood talent agency that represented Cruise.

Rinder said this is what happened next:

“The Tom Cruise card was played with CAA to get them to put pressure on Comedy Central and Viacom. Ultimately, it really backfired.

CAA was opposed to Scientology’s attempt at censorship. Scientology failed in getting South Park episode 912 from airing in the United States. However, South Park did not rebroadcast the episode due to pressures exerted by Scientology. Moreover, Scientology and Cruise succeeded in getting the episode stopped in England due to that country’s medieval libel laws. This Scientology act of censorship was widely reported. The young people who were avid fans of South Park took notice. Many of these young people were members of 4chan, the online bulletin board whose members called themselves Anonymous.

Scientology’s next major act of censorship was in 2008 when the Church got a leaked Tom Cruise video taken down from YouTube. This video was an internal Church of Scientology video in which a very radicalized Tom Cruise exhorts his fellow Scientologists to “go to guns” against Scientology’s enemies. It was Scientology’s takedown of this video that triggered Anonymous to launch its Project Chanology campaign against the Church of Scientology. The campaign began with a stunning video that is a masterpiece of psychological warfare:

INDEPENDENT SCIENTOLOGY

In 2009 the Independent Scientology movement followed on the heels of Anonymous and Scientology proved equally inept at handling the startling revelations of former high level Scientology executives. The Tampa Bay Times series called The Truth Rundown was devastating in its exposure of Scientology leader David Miscavige and his physical violence. The Truth Rundown chronicled the stories of former high level Scientology Sea Org executives who had lived through the hell of David Miscavige’s dystopian nightmare at the International Base located in San Jacinto, California. The seminal Truth Rundown series is now available as an e-Book for Kindle.

Bringing in Mike Sitrick at this time of crisis for Scientology would be a move David Miscavige would make. But what else could Miscavige do given that he had decimated the executive strata of Scientology? In 2009, Scientology’s remaining execs were either locked up in the SP Hole while others were secretly planning their escapes.

David Miscavige responded to the Independent Scientology movement with the Squirrel Busters. This proved to be an epic PR and legal disaster for Scientology. Miscavige also deployed the angry Tommy Davis as Scientology’s spokesman. Davis’ public behavior was an embarrassment. Accordingly he became a PR liability and was either placed on, or took, a leave of absence from the Sea Org whereupon he disappeared off the radar for some time. Other PR disasters for Scientology ensured. Scientology very publicly attacked, in no particular order, Lawrence Wright, Paul Haggis, Alex Gibney, Leah Remini, my dear wife Karen de la Carriere, Mike Rinder, CNN, Anderson Cooper, Vanity Fair, The Tampa Bay Times, and dozens of other people and media outlets that exposed this greedy, lying, and vicious cult. The world watched and saw Scientology Fair Game at work.

Due to the Church of Scientology’s own malicious behavior it had become a walking PR disaster, a self-destructive and disgusting mess.

What does a Cult with a toxic reputation and an uncontrollable need for revenge do?

Scientology did what Harvey Weinstein, Michael Vick, Cardinal Mahony, and numerous other miscreants have done and that is to call Mike Sitrick for help with a self-inflicted disaster. Mike Sitrick shamelessly boasts about the horrendous clients he’s represented. This appears on his company’s own website:


Sitrick boasting about having worked for the Los Angeles Catholic Diocese when it was engulfed in covering up child molestation is extraordinarily disturbing; the boast seems to be a very naked solicitation to do business with the worst scum of society. For an alleged PR genius to brag about helping a Church engaged in protecting pedophile priests is bizarre. One would think Mr. Sitrick would be more discreet about such matters: Halle Barry, Ron Burkle, Roy Disney, and Rush Limbaugh would certainly not like knowing they had been lumped in with pedophile priests on Sitrick & Company’s website.

SITRICK & COMPANY: THE INITIAL HARVEY WEINSTEIN DENIAL

When the call for help came in from Harvey Weinstein, Mike Sitrick’s mother had just passed away and Sitrick was in Chicago making final arrangements. Accordingly, Sitrick assigned the Weinstein case to his employee Sallie Hofmeister. She issued a completely tone deaf denial on Weinstein’s behalf:

Any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.

This press release shows Sitrick & Company at its worst: The firm appears to have such contempt for Hollywood and the general public that it actually believed it could portray Weinstein as a contrite figure who “has listened to the community” and deserved a second chance. Sorry, Sitrick & Company, Harvey Weinstein is not Mel Gibson. Gibson made stupid drunken anti-Semitic comments; he did not rape women.

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Read Geoffrey Pullum’s brilliant linguistic takedown of Harvey Weinstein’s denial as written by Sallie Hofmeister: The Strange Language of Harvey Weinstein’s Denial

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PROVEABLE BULLSHIT

Two years before Harvey Weinstein was engulfed in a firestorm of his own making, Scientology leader David Miscavige was likewise caught in a maelstrom of horrendous PR of his own making. In 2015, the Los Angeles Times broke the story that Miscavige had hired a father-son team of armed private investigators to secretly follow his own father for two years, this after Ron Miscavige Sr. and his wife had escaped Scientology’s Sea Org. When Ron Miscavige Sr. appeared to be having a heart attack in the parking lot of a Wisconsin supermarket, the PI’s called and asked David Miscavige if they should intervene and call for help. David Miscavige cold-bloodedly replied, “If he dies, let him die.” Outraged by the story going viral, the Church of Scientology issued an angry denial to The Hollywood Reporter that was unique in the annals of ecclesiastical denials:

As for the purported emergency incident involving an investigator and the second-hand account of an alleged conversation containing a despicably false quote, Mr. Miscavige’s attorney, Michael Lee Hertzberg, is on record stating that Mr. Miscavige does not know the investigator, has never heard of the investigator, has never met the investigator, has never spoken to the investigator, never hired the investigator and never directed any investigations by him.

So let me be clear: No such conversation with Mr. Miscavige ever took place and any claim that one did is provable bullshit.

David Miscavige’s belligerent denial mirrors that of Harvey Weinstein. As reported by AV Club, Weinstein disrupted group sessions when he was going through the charade of sex therapy in 2017:

According to sources at the outpatient clinic—where Weinstein, committed to changing his behavior patterns, drops in after spending his nights in a luxury hotel—Weinstein has been derailing group therapy sessions with his belligerent rants about “how this is all a conspiracy against him,” insisting “he never raped or assaulted anyone, and that all the encounters were consensual.” That Weinstein continues to downplay or outright dismiss the more than 40 women who have now accused him of sexual harassment or assault isn’t a surprise to anyone who’s followed this story, or are generally familiar with sexual abusers.

What Harvey Weinstein and David Miscavige have in common is that both are sleazebags who, when cornered, angrily protest that there is a conspiracy against them and that the bad acts of which they stand accused are baseless, i.e. “proveable bullshit” in the shrill argot of Scientology.

WEINSTEIN’S BOGUS CONTRITION

One of Sitrick’s textbook plays is to paint a miscreant client as a sincerely contrite person who seeks repentance by performing good acts. Thus, in a desperate and phony gambit that reeked of trying to buy his way out of what was shaping up to be a future prison sentence, Weinstein announced that he wanted to donate $5 million dollars to USC to fund to female filmmakers. USC wanted nothing to with Weinstein’s inept pandering and sleazy attempts at damage control into which he had dragged his own mother:

As allegations of sexual harassment against embattled film mogul Harvey Weinstein continue to unfold, the USC School of Cinematic Arts said Tuesday that it is rejecting a $5-million pledge Weinstein had made to fund a program for female filmmakers.

Weinstein referenced the pledge last week in a statement to the New York Times in response to the paper’s exhaustive story detailing accusations of sexual misconduct against him going back decades. “It will be named after my mom, and I won’t disappoint her,” he wrote.

TIME TO DITCH THE CLIENT 

Abby Aguirre’s recent New York Times story about Mike Sitrick is aptly entitled He Fixes the Worst P.R. Crises Imaginable. Then Comes Harvey Weinstein. In her insightful article Aguirre shows that Mike Sitrick’s vaunted grasp of a situation seems to have failed him in the case of Harvey Weinstein:

As the #MeToo dam broke, the allegations against Mr. Weinstein multiplied. So did Sitrick and Company’s rebuttals… Sitrick and Company issued what would turn out to be one of its final statements to USA Today, for an article on March 22: “Mr. Weinstein categorically denies ever engaging in any non-consensual sexual conduct with anyone.”

Two months later Mr. Weinstein was arrested. His lawyer is Benjamin Brafman, whose clients have included Martin Shkreli, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Vincent Gigante, known as “The Chin.”

Only when it became inevitable that Weinstein was headed for felony charges did Sitrick & Company drop Weinstein. The Hollywood Reporter carried the headline:

THE COLLAPSE OF THE GOOD OLD BOY’S NETWORK

Harvey Weinstein’s arrest draws attention to the ability of wealthy and powerful evildoers such as Harvey Weinstein, the Church of Scientology, Enron and other Sitrick clients to spend lavish sums of money to spin the story in an attempt to redefine, deny, and portray themselves as something other than deviant individuals and organizations.

We view Sitrick & Company as a part of the larger ecosystem of corruption where monied elites are able to use their power and wealth to distort the news by using carefully crafted spin, cover ups, fake news, lies, threats, and denials. As we see it, Mike Sitrick and his firm are quickly becoming dinosaurs in the rapidly collapsing American “Good Old Boy’s Network.”

If Harvey Weinstein had owned a crystal ball in 2016, he could have skipped paying Sitrick & Company and conserved his funds for the large and expensive criminal defense team he will need. Inasmuch as Sitrick, like Scientology, cannot guarantee any particular result, wealthy people facing serious accusations in the post Harvey Weinstein era need to ask themselves if premium-priced “crisis management” is a form of wishful thinking or denial. Indeed, can any crisis management firm head off the inevitable where criminality can be proven to exist?  The lesson to be learned here is ancient: Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

SITRICK AS THE FIXER

The title of Sitrick’s new book The Fixer: Secrets for Your Reputation in the Age of Viral Media is a self-admission of how Sitrick views himself: He is a fixer. The notorious private investigator Anthony Pellicano was formerly a part of this system of high-priced “fixers” until he was taken out by the Feds and sent to prison along with attorney Terry Christensen, another pricey Hollywood fixer.

A fixer is someone who makes very ugly problems go away. Typically, a fixer works in such a way that his client has complete deniability and knows nothing about how the very ugly problem was made to go away. Fixers like Mike Sitrick work to simply spin, distort, and try to create a different perception of their clients. Fixers and the particular sort of work they do are central to the Good Old Boy’s Network. However, Fixers are no match for great journalists who see right through their machinations.

RONAN FARROW

As Weinstein’s denials were issuing forth from Sitrick & Company, NBC Today Show contributor Ronan Farrow took notice of Harvey Weinstein and put together a blockbuster story. NBC execs, however, infamously passed on the story and urged Farrow to take it elsewhere. Farrow did just that; his subsequent articles in The New Yorker earned both himself and the magazine the 2018 Pulitzer Prize gold medal for public service. Farrow is an attorney and a member of the New York bar. His skills as an attorney were evident in the way he investigated Weinstein.

Kara Swisher’s interview of Ronan Farrow on Recode Decode is outstanding. Parts of it sound like Farrow is talking about Scientology Fair Game when he describes the depredations of the wealthy and powerful:

Recode Decode says of Swisher’s interview with Ronan Farrow:

On the new podcast, Farrow explained how he convinced Weinstein’s victims to talk to him for the story; he credited his sister Dylan Farrow, ex-Fox News host Gretchen Carlson and Bill Cosby’s myriad accusers with proving that women could relive the trauma, come forward with their stories and be okay in the end.

“I think the world changed,” Farrow said. “There was a progression of brave women and also, of course, eventually men — I don’t want to discount the importance of male survivors of sexual violence and how much we need to hear their voices. But at the time, it was mostly women coming forward and chipping away at the culture of silence.”

He reiterated that the focus should be on these survivors and on the ways in which the justice system and the media failed them — not on predators like Weinstein. Many of the systems that preserved the status quo of silence are “still thriving,” he said.

While Ronan Farrow astutely saw the world changing as women came forward and chipped away at the Hollywood Culture of Silence that protected Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and other sexual predators, Mike Sitrick saw a chance to make a big payday spinning for Harvey Weinstein. However, nothing Sitrick did, or could have done, would have helped Harvey Weinstein.

TheWrap noted that Sitrick & Company stayed on helping Weinstein while others were dropping Weinstein in order to prevent further damage to their reputations for having represented him the first place:

Crisis public relations firm Sitrick and Company is no longer representing disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein, the company told TheWrap on Tuesday.

Weinstein has been accused of rape, sexual assault and harassment by nearly 90 women in in various cities around the world. The producer has consistently denied any nonconsensual sex through his former Sitrick spokesperson, retained shortly after articles containing early accusations were published in the New Yorker and the New York Times last October.

Sitrick has been a surprising holdover for the past five months as Weinstein watched several key crisis players bail as the accusations piled up and the national conversation became consumed by the #MeToo movement sparked by Weinstein’s alleged misconduct.

Sitrick held on for too long in defending Harvey Weinstein. So did Los Angeles attorney Lisa Bloom who was widely criticized for both taking on Weinstein as a client and attempting to minimize his conduct by saying that he was “an old dinosaur learning new ways.” Bloom admitted to BuzzFeed News that her representation of Harvey Weinstein was “a colossal mistake.”

Another loser who got a big black eye from the Harvey Weinstein story is NBC. Many predict that there is fallout still to come for the peacock network having killed Farrow’s story. Farrow will tell his side of the story when Little, Brown and Co., releases his upcoming book Catch and Kill. A press released said of Farrow’s book, “the project will address the “conspiracy of silence around Weinstein and other men in power.”

SITRICK IN 2018

Mike Sitrick is no match for Wikileaks, the Panama Papers, and crusading journalists like Ronan Farrow, and the courage of women speaking out against their abusers. In this day and age when the US Congress and federal agencies are setting up to take on Google and Facebook’s massive invasions of privacy and selling private data, Sitrick’s skills no longer seem formidable against the vast oceans of social media, high level leakers, and even network and cable news. Indeed, the high-speed downfall of Harvey Weinstein showed the powerlessness of Sitrick & Company to fend off the inevitable by the use of old school tricks.

Weinstein’s arrest makes the case that “crisis management” is quite different than “trying to counter horrendously bad PR for high profile sleazebags who have crossed the line into criminality.” It is one thing to for Johnson & Johnson to handle the nightmarish PR issues related to Tylenol tampering in 1982; it’s quite another for Sitrick & Company to issue blanket denials on behalf of Harvey Weinstein or work in the background for the Church of Scientology even as Scientology works to destroy former members, journalists, and critics who expose its depravity.

This leads us to ask: When does “crisis management” cross the line into complicity?

SCIENTOLOGY & FAIR GAME; MIKE SITRICK & THE WHEEL OF PAIN

Abby Aguirre’s recent New York Times story on Mike Sitrick and Harvey Weinstein offers an illuminating look at what Sitrick & Company did for the disgraced Hollywood mogul. Aguirre notes that in 1998 Sitrick coauthored a book with Allan Mayer. Entitled Spin: How to Turn the Power of the Press to Your Advantage, Aguirre comments on the book:

In Chapter 4, “News Media Abhor a Vacuum,” Mr. Sitrick lays out one of his key tenets: that strategic press representatives must engage the media; “no comment” should never be a first resort. “If you won’t talk to them, they’ll simply find someone else who will,” he and Mr. Mayer write, “which is to say, if you don’t tell your story, someone else will tell it for you.”

In a press release concerning Scientology TV, David Miscavige quoted Mike Sitrick verbatim when he said:

If you don’t write your own story, someone else will. So, yes, we’re now going to be writing our story, like no other religion in history. And it’s all going to happen right here from Scientology Media Productions.”

Miscavige’s verbatim quote of Sitrick suggests that Sitrick still has Scientology as a client. If so, Scientology and Sitrick appear to think alike in terms of Fair Game; Sitrick just phrases it differently. Example: In Sitrick’s new book The Fixer: Secrets for Saving Your Reputation in the Age of Viral Media he advises his clients to “Put Your Opponent in the Wheel of Pain.”

For Mike Sitrick to advise someone like Harvey Weinstein to put his opponents “in the wheel of pain” is beyond comprehension. Are we to take Sitrick’s admonition to mean that Weinstein’s victims were to be put in the wheel of pain by Sitrick & Company? Were Weinstein’s victims to be caused pain? While a clarification from Sitrick & Company on this point seems in order, Sitrick’s advice to cause your opponent pain shows the utter cynicism at Sitrick’s core: He is not afraid to hurt people in the defense of a client.

Attorney Lisa Bloom was also apparently not afraid to attack Weinstein’s accusers as Lloyd Grove’s story in The Daily Beast made clear:

Ronan Farrow was stunned and disgusted early this year when famed feminist lawyer Lisa Bloom phoned him, in the midst of his investigation for NBC News of widespread allegations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein, and offered to share opposition research on one of Weinstein’s accusers.

“I don’t know if you’ve talked to Rose McGowan, but we have files on her and her… history,” Bloom told Farrow, according to knowledgeable sources inside and outside NBC.

To what extent, if any, Bloom was coordinating with Sitrick remains a mystery. Nevertheless, the question remains: When does crisis management become complicity?

The efforts of Sitrick & Company and Lisa Bloom on behalf of their client Harvey Weinstein resemble Scientology’s practice of Fair Game in certain aspects. Grove’s story in the Daily Beast details just how ugly the Hollywood Good Old Boy’s network became when Harvey Weinstein learned that Ronan Farrow was writing a story about him. Weinstein called in all his markers in Hollywood and his very powerful allies tried to kill Farrow’s story. The Good Old Boys Network in Hollywood had much to lose if Weinstein went down. Worse, some of the Good Old Boys knew they too could be dragged down with Weinstein. It was time to circle the wagons.

FOCUS ON THE FIX

Mike Sitrick advises his clients to “focus on the fix.” Scientology TV is obviously Miscavige’s attempt to focus on the fix. We know that Scientology TV is Miscavige’s attempt to “normalize Scientology.” How Miscavige thinks this is possible is quizzical: One cannot normalize that which is inherently deviant. For instance, how does one “normalize” child labor in the Sea Org or exploiting Sea Org members by paying them .10 cents per hour while inflicting sleep deprivation on them? Sleep deprivation is classed as a form of torture by the United Stations. Defined as “the intentional infliction of physical and psychological pain” sleep deprivation as torture cannot be normalized.

Mike Sitrick calls for an organization in crisis to exercise a strategy in which “strategic press representatives must engage the media.” How has David Miscavige translated this advice into action?

David Miscavige has his OSA “press representatives” engage the media in two ways. First, in terms of responding to Leah’s Remini’s A&E show Scientology and the Aftermath, Miscavige has his people in OSA Legal engage the media and the public by issuing a series of angry and unconvincing written denials. From a legal perspective, A&E prudently airs these denials so as to foreclose any Scientology protest that it was not given a chance to respond.

Miscavige apparently feels that he is telling his story by compelling A&E to broadcast Scientology’s written denials. However, Scientology’s denials carry the same moral authority as Harvey Weinstein’s denials:

David Miscavige’s second response to his critics is to have OSA create hate websites on people Scientology deems Suppressive Persons. However, Scientology’s hate websites only serve as self-indicting evidence that Scientology is as malicious as former members, critics, journalists, and documentarians have stated after having been on the receiving end of Scientology’s Fair Game campaigns.

SCIENTOLOGY TV AS THE PROPAGANDA OF A COLLAPSING REGIME

David Miscavige is so delusional that he spent $100 million on Scientology TV in order to tell Scientology’s story so that other’s won’t. However, this is pure fantasy. The media, critics, and former members have been telling Scientology’s story for decades and will continue to do so. David Miscavige and his “crisis management experts” are powerless to stop any coverage of Scientology.

I once shooped Miscavige as Ceausescu in his final hours to depict Miscavige’s utter incomprehension of what is actually happening around him:


The incomprehension of the wealthy and powerful occurs because they have gotten their own way for so long and live in a bubble of sycophants, lawyers, fixers, private investigators, paid hoodlums, crisis management firms, and other enablers. When something truly disastrous besets them, the wealthy think they can buy their way out of it, silence it with various dire threats, or stop it by enforcing nondisclosure agreements that were signed in the past. Stormy Daniels and her attorney have made a mockery of the system of payoffs and nondisclosure agreements. Ronan Farrow has made a mockery of NBC’s alleged “concerns” of not having enough evidence to run a story. The Panama Papers, Paradise Papers, and the soon to be released Appleby Papers have ripped the veil off the offshore financial chicanery of monied elites. The 1% are powerful, but not that powerful. The 1% should take notice when even the governments of China and Russia fear the internet and the free flow of information.

SCIENTOLOGY SPIN

Scientology has often tried to spin the narrative in self-serving attempts to attack its most effective critics. Taryn Teutsch’s recent attempts to hijack the #MeToo movement for use in attacking her father Mike Rinder were exposed as fraudulent and reprehensible.

Likewise, Joy Villa’s attempts to portray herself as a Christian and Scientologist were unconvincing.

Rather than acknowledging the extremely serious and enormous problems with Scientology, David Miscavige has tried to spin the overwhelming public outrage against Scientology by tossing out the bogus and unconvincing tagline, “Curious? We thought so.”

Mr. Miscavige, the only thing people are curious about concerning Scientology is why the IRS has not revoked its tax exemption.

Taryn Teutsch Uses a Photo of Gretchen Carlson in Her Fair Game Campaign Against Leah Remini’s Show

        Scientology Fair Game Practitioner Taryn Teutsch

In our series on Taryn Teutsch and her mother Cathy Bernardini, we noted that both are Scientology Sea Org members. Their current assignment from Captain David Miscavige is to conduct a sleazy Fair Game campaign to get Mike Rinder fired from his job with Leah Remini’s Emmy-winning show Scientology and the Aftermath.

While this is being done to punish Mike for his many long and courageous years of speaking out against Scientology’s many abuses, Taryn’s Fair Game campaign is also being waged to harm Leah Remini’s show because it has been so successful in exposing the depravity and sadism perpetrated upon individuals, families, and society by the Church of Scientology.

Scientology’s logic is transparent in this current Fair Game smear campaign: If Taryn can get Mike fired, then the Church of Scientology will jump in and announce that Leah Remini hired an abuser and is therefore a horrible person and her show is false. This is how idiotically simple David Miscavige thinks. However, as we have seen in Taryn’s bogus smear campaign against Mike Rinder, OSA’s execution is incredibly poor. Culture is not stupid and sees right through this dirty Scientology behavior. Scientology is deemed a cult due to the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence.

Scientology Social Media Fraud

In our previous article we exposed the social media fraud in which “Clickfarm Taryn” is engaged as part of her social media fraud. Taryn’s thousands of Twitter and Facebook followers are created in Third World sweatshops.

We also discussed the way in which Taryn Teutsch is cynically attempting to exploit the #MeToo movement by co-opting it for her fake narrative that her father Mike Rinder abused her mother Cathy Bernardini.

As the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office official report established, however, there was no crime, no assault, and no victim. What the report established is that a large group of Scientologists accosted Mike Rinder in a Florida parking lot. See our first article for details of what actually happened and what Taryn Teutsch is not telling the public.

Taryn Teutsch is not satisfied to with merely buying followers to engage in Scientology social media fraud. Indeed, “Clickfarm Taryn” went so far as to get her photo taken with Gretchen Carlson at the prestigious YWCA GLA “Phenomenal Woman Awards Luncheon” event in order to the photo use on her Facebook page. This photo could deceive the unwary into believing that both the YWCA GLA and Phenomenal Woman award winner Gretchen Carlson support Taryn:


Taryn’s photo obviously does not imply Gretchen Carlson’s endorsement of Scientology, Taryn Teutsch, or Cathy Bernardini. And yet Taryn seems to imply that she and Gretchen Carlson are in solidarity.

Scientology engaged in this same sort of misleading PR tactic to raise money in the days following 9/11. In a now infamous image, Scientology colorized its Volunteer Minister and made all of the true first repsonders at Ground Zero fade into shades of gray. In doing so the Church of Scientology was seeking to co-opt 9/11 for its own venal fundraising purposes even as Taryn Teutsch is now seeking to co-opt #MeToo for her Fair Game campaign against her father Mike Rinder. Scientology has always worked to steal potent cultural content and pervert such content to its own uses.

Scientologist Tom Cruise also appropriated 9/11 imagery in an effort to abet Scientology’s efforts to make itself look like it was there at Ground Zero:

Tom Cruise in an NYFD uniform surrounded by stage fog. Tom Cruise was seeking to imply that NYFD endorsed Scientology. The actual Scientology efforts following 9/11 were limited to running a Purification Rundown and a gigantic fundraising effort within the Cult. David Miscavige called this fundraising effort a “Wake Up Call” and thus cynically used 9/11 to further enrich himself and Scientology.

Tom Cruise further injected himself into 9/11 by opening a Purification Rundown center for first responders. Cruise did the PR photo and opened a Purif center in order to associate himself with the heroic NYFD. By attending the YWCA GLA event and getting her photo taken with Jackie Lacey and Gretchen Carlson, Taryn Teutsch is engaging in the same sort of implied endorsement where no endorsement actually exists.

Cathy Bernardini

Taryn’s mother Cathy Bernardini is no stranger to controversy. Bernardini can be seen in this 2010 interview with Anderson Cooper beginning at 3:33. Anderson Cooper is masterful in his questioning and takedown of these duplicitous Sea Org members:

CNN’s exposure of Scientology bears out the old French proverb, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” Scientology lied then and it is lying now. Moreover, Scientology’s 2010 prediction that Anderson Cooper and CNN were both doomed to fail miserably for having “attacked” Scientology has not come to pass. Both CNN and Mr. Cooper continue to enjoy good ratings.

Why Aren’t Taryn & Cathy Demanding that David Miscavige be Fired?

Cathy Bernardini is known for having appeared on CNN’s show “A History of Violence” in which she told Anderson Cooper that Scientology leader David Miscavige never physically assaulted her ex-husband Mike Rinder. This too is a lie. Mike Rinder has stated many times he was physically assaulted by David Miscavige — and Miscavige has never dared to respond by suing Mike for libel and slander. Miscavige knows he would lose in court in the same way he lost when Debbie Cook spent one day on the stand describing the abuses she suffered in the Sea Org at the hands of David Miscavige. Following Debbie Cook’s testimony, Miscavige folded up like a cheap lawn chair in a hurricane and settled with Debbie.

There are multiple eyewitnesses who saw David Miscavige physically assault Mike Rinder. There are also numerous former Sea Org members on record who themselves were physically attacked, beaten, hit, or punched by David Miscavige.

By Cathy Bernardini and Taryn Teutsch’s own standard, David Miscavige should be fired from Scientology as he is an abuser. Taryn and Cathy insist that abusers never be rewarded. Therefore, both should logically demand that David Miscavige be fired.

The Supreme Abuser in Scientology — David Miscavige — is behind this entire Fair Game attack If anyone needs to be fired it is David Miscavige.

This is really the story of David Miscavige using a mother and a daughter to enact L. Ron Hubbard’s toxic policy of Fair Game. Another story that needs to be told is the horrible ways in which David Miscavige treats women. Indeed, he has locked away his own wife Shelly Miscavige for over a decade. Why isn’t Taryn Teutsch asking the real question, “Where’s Shelly?”

Taryn Teutsch and Scientology have now been caught out in the open trying to use Gretchen Carlson and the #MeToo movement for purposes of Scientology Fair Game.

Karen Pressley

In the Facebook group SWOT: Scientology Whistleblowers, Observers & Troublemakers, former Sea Org member Karen Pressley on the matter of Cathy Bernardini:

Cathy Bernardini (Rinder) is a well-groomed liar who, as so well expressed by Jeffrey Augustine in his recent reports, has raised her daughter Taryn to follow in her tracks. Her capacity to lie straight to Anderson Cooper in a CNN interview in 2010 impacted me so much that I had to write about her and Jenny Linson (DeVocht) in my book, Escaping Scientology: An Insider’s True Story. In brief, for those who have not seen that interview: Cathy, Jenny, Katherine Hawkins and Anne Rathbun represented themselves as former wives of SP execs who had left the Sea Org from the Int base. They defended David Miscavige regarding Cooper’s statements that Miscavige was known to beat and victimize his staff. Cathy Rinder lied through her teeth that MIscavige had never laid a finger on Mike, never hit or beat him etc. She said she would have seen bruises or injuries on his body if that had been true. She failed to mention that Mike lived in LA while working for OSA and she lived at the Int base. So it’s not like she saw him very often and wouldn’t have been able to see any physical damage Miscavige would have inflicted on him. I’m sure she was incapable of detecting the psychological and emotional damage, because she suffered it herself so she would not have been able to see it. So in this abusive, compromised environment, Taryn finds it natural to follow in her mother’s footsteps, which is extremely sad to see. She is highly unlikely to ever break out of the trap as long as her mother remains in. Meanwhile, we can fully expect Taryn to keep doing OSA dirty work.

As Karen and I so strongly object to the Fair Game campaign in which  Scientology and Taryn Teutsch are engaged, I have spent the week doing an almost real time narrative of this smear campaign at The Scientology Money Project. What I have discovered is that this sleazy attack on Mike Rinder is awash in a fake narrative and social media fraud in which Taryn Teutsch is using fake Facebook and Twitter followers. Here are the four articles I wrote should you wish to read the details on how vicious and inept this attack on Mike Rinder has become:

Scientology Sea Org Member Taryn Teutsch Engaging in Fake News to Attack Leah Remini’s Show & Her Father Mike Rinder

Fake Stock Photo Scientologists Support Taryn Teutsch’s Fake News Attack on Mike Rinder

Scientology’s Fair Game Campaign Against Mike Rinder Collapsing Under the Weight of Scrutiny

Taryn Teutsch Uses a Photo of Gretchen Carlson in Her Fair Game Campaign Against Leah Remini’s Show

Scientology’s Fair Game Campaign Against Mike Rinder Collapsing Under the Weight of Scrutiny

The Church of Scientology’s mother-daughter duo of Cathy Bernardini and Taryn Teutsch have been engaged in a classic Scientology Fair Game campaign of lies. The purpose of their duplicitous campaign is to demand that Disney fire Mike Rinder from Leah Remini’s Emmy-winning A&E show Scientology and the Aftermath.

Taryn and Cathy claim that Mike assaulted Cathy in 2010. This is an utter and complete lie. As documented in our previous article, Cathy and Taryn were part of a Scientology mob that ambushed Mike Rinder in a Florida parking lot in 2010. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office report noted that there was only “incidental contact” as Mike was trying to move away from the angry group of Scientologists. There was no assault. Cathy Bernardini received an abrasion on her arm due to incidental contact. The Sheriff’s Office report closed the case as a simple non-criminal incident.

Cathy and Taryn are Sea Org members. Along with Scientology’s dirty operators in OSA, they have knowingly created and perpetuated a false narrative about an event that happened eight years ago. In doing so they are cynically hoping to take advantage of the #MeToo movement by arguing that all abusers should be fired, and, as Mike is an abuser he too should be fired. However, inasmuch as Cathy, Taryn, and OSA are lying, the Church of Scientology has now been caught in a cynical, self-serving, and transparent attempt to exploit the victims of rape, sexual harassment, and abuse for its own malevolent purposes of Fair Game. This disgraceful conduct is yet another reason why Scientology has only itself to blame for being called a sinister cult.

Clickfarm Taryn’s Fake Friends: More Scientology Social Media Fraud

In addition to lying about what happened in 2010, Taryn Teutsch also used two fake “stock photo Scientologists” on her Facebook page to support her efforts to get Mike Rinder fired. (See our previous article on fake Scientologists). These fake Scientologist go to the pattern of Taryn’s deceit — as do her fake Twitter followers. Aaron Smith-Levin noted the following on Facebook a few hours ago:

Taryn’s Twitter page bears out what Aaron posted. Here we see that Taryn has gained 600 Twitter followers in the few hours since Aaron posted the 14,000 number. Scientology’s hired clickfarms are indeed busy:


Taryn claims to have 5,577 followers on her Facebook Page:

Triumph, a poster on ESMB, posted the names of just a few of Clickfarm Taryn’s 5,738 Facebook followers:

Clickfarm Taryn has Facebook followers from the Philippines, Indonesia, Tijuana, and India. Taryn and OSA are not even trying to make this part of their social media fraud appear credible. Below we see one of Taryn’s fake Facebook followers named Suresh Sureshdhillion. To see what “she” shares with friends send Suresh a friend request:

Clickfarm Taryn’s social media fraud reveals just how shamelessly she and Scientology will lie.
Scientology has been caught before in social media fraud.

Taryn lies about matters of substance and then lazily uses click farm friends to pretend she has support for her lies. No one is fooled by the scammy Scientology smear campaign being perpetrated by Clickfarm Taryn, her mother Cathy, and Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs.

Bottom line on Taryn Teutsch: She has a fake story that features fake stock photo Scientologists, fake Facebook followers, and fake Twitter followers. In other words, it is classic Scientology.

The 2010 Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office report is offered below for the reader’s examination; please hover your mouse over the document to invoke the page up/page down controls at the bottom of the document:

SHERIFF REPORT DR inciden.Mike.Rinder

The Failed Logic Behind Scientology’s Curious Super Bowl Campaign


The Church of Scientology’s 2018 multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad strategy can now be seen as the grandiose and abject failure it is. Essentially, Scientology wanted to accomplish two conflicting goals that cancelled each other out:

1. Scientology wanted to use the marketing angle of “Curious?” to drive traffic to Scientology’s websites and thereby raise awareness of what Scientology is according to Scientology itself.

2. At the same time it broadcast its Super Bowl ad, the next batch of attack videos by professional Scientology troll Marty Rathbun were released. A mere coincidence? Of course not. In these pompous and unconvincing propaganda videos, Rathbun attempts to discredit Leah Remini, Mike Rinder, Tony Ortega and Leah’s Emmy-winning show Scientology and the Aftermath. If anything, these videos show how far Marty has fallen from his once high estate:

In what was supposed to be, apparently, a masterstroke of Scientology PR genius, the Super Bowl ad campaign was intended to promote Scientology. Simultaneously, Marty Rathbun’s videos were to be used as a flanking maneuver to discredit Leah, Mike, and Tony. However, this strategy failed as Scientology still has its hate websites up on Marty Rathbun. Thus, on the one hand Scientology wants to use Rathbun as a credible source to discredit Leah, Mike, and Tony while simultaneously portraying Marty Rathbun as a violent psychopath, a perjurer, and a liar on its own websites.

THE SCHEMATIC OF SCIENTOLOGY FAILURE

Scientology is using Twitter where one can see this all being played out. Schematically, Scientology illogic looks like this:
Anyone who becomes curious about Scientology and uses Google to do research will quickly discover that Scientology leader David Miscavige is a violent psychopath who has physically assaulted numerous members of his staff. Likewise, anyone who does research will discover that Scientology has hate websites on Marty Rathbun describing him in the same terms as David Miscavige. Why Scientology spent millions of dollars on its Super Bowl ad campaign and failed to address this inherent and crippling contradiction speaks to David Miscavige’s typical overreaching behavior. No one out here in the real world was fooled.

IS THE PUBLIC REALLY THAT CURIOUS ABOUT SCIENTOLOGY?

Scientology is using Twitter to argue that people are “curious” about Scientology and are flocking to Scientology’s website as a result. However, as Scientology’s own graphic below shows, Scientology is paying .64-.78 USD per click to drive traffic to its website. The graphic also shows a Scientology spend of $383,000 for organic search and $14,700 for paid search thus far. Again, no one is fooled: Scientology has just publicly admitted that it has to pay millions of dollars for a Super Bowl ad and hundreds of thousands of dollars for clicks to get anyone to look at its websites.

Scientology’s Super Bowl ad and Marty’s attack videos are a pair of bookends that are supposed to boom Scientology while destroying its critics. Are you serious Scientology? That’s all you have? A paid Super Bowl ad, paid clicks, and Marty Rathbun? Good luck betting on this Trifecta of Fail.

As stated, the big problem is that Marty Rathbun has zero credibility according to Scientology itself. The Church of Scientology still has its hate websites up on Marty. As we have asked before: Which story are you sticking with Scientology? Is Marty a credible source or he is a violent psychopath, a liar, and a perjurer as you depict him on your own website? If Marty is a liar and a perjurer, then why should the public believe anything he says?

Scientology’s Freedom Magazine currently carries this article about Marty in which he is called a lunatic with a history of psychological problems:

However, on a different Freedom Magazine webpage, Freedom links to the lunatic Rathbun’s attack videos on Leah Remini, Mike Rinder, and Tony Ortega and declares:

He’s [Marty Rathbun] recorded his knowledge of their plans, their unsavory traits, and their rank manipulation of show participants, in a 27-part video series on YouTube, “Leah Remini and Her Troublemakers.”

Having been an onscreen participant in both seasons of Leah’s show, I can tell you that the show is unrehearsed and unscripted. There is no manipulation of participants by Leah or anyone else on the set. What Marty Rathbun has said in this regard is a lie. I resent Marty lying about it, but given his disreputable behavior and the other lies he has told over the past several years I am not surprised.

Freedom Magazine repeats Rathbun’s lies about Leah’s show even as Freedom calls him a
violent psychopath, a liar, and a perjurer. Freedom even takes it one step further by linking to Rathbun’s YouTube video channel. Why would Freedom link to the videos of a man it has called a lunatic with a history of psychological problems? This question is rhetorical of course. The fact is that Freedom Magazine’s self-serving and transparent double standard is not acceptable in legitimate journalism. Freedom Magazine is nothing more than fake news, a mouthpiece for a Cult long known for its history of lying. Likewise, Rathbun’s videos are fake news. For example, Rathbun used a recent video to outrageously claim that Scientology was free from child abuse and sexual abuse. Valeska Paris tweeted about this:

From all appearances, Marty Rathbun is back to being David Miscavige’s “fixer” who is now the onscreen talent charged with attacking Scientology’s critics and former members.

DAVID MISCAVIGE’S SCHIZOPHRENIA

David Miscavige’s multi-million dollar 2018 Super Bowl ad campaign fails because it talks out of both sides of its mouth and is underpinned by Marty Rathbun. Marty is the weak link in the chain and yet Scientology needs him to help spin its web of lies, treachery and deceit.

That David Miscavige is capable of living a life of such hypocrisy, delusion, and unreality is nothing new. Indeed, “Captain” Miscavige — a man in a fake Navy uniform festooned with fake military medals — has claimed that infinity has a front porch and that Scientologists can travel faster than light.

Op Ed: Scientology, Cannibalism, Sexuality, and Reza Aslan

Reza.1

Religious scholar and Scientology supporter Reza Aslan, for reasons of trite sensationalism on television, ate a piece of human brain on his CNN show Believer with Reza Aslan. This act of cannibalism on the banks of the Ganges with India’s Aghori monks was followed by an Aghori cleric eating his own feces and hurling them at the fleeing Reza Aslan. This was both cowardice and contradiction on Aslan’s part; for if Aslan can eat human brain then why can’t he consume feces as well? After all, he seems intent on proving that he can transcend the boundaries of convention in order to find the truth. Like Jesus, Reza Aslan wants to associate with the outcasts. And yet he has limits and places he will stop. For this reason he could not eat feces or spend the night in a sacred cave in Hawaii due to something as inconsequential as his fear of drowning.

Aslan, a wannabe Anthony Bourdain, is no Bourdain. Not even close. Aslan lacks Bourdain’s subtlety, intellect, sophistication, and screen presence. What Reza Aslan is doing on his CNN show is not sophisticated. Rather, what Aslan is doing is engaging in a weekly freak show during which, at the end of each episode, he affirms the intrinsic holiness of every religious path no matter how strange it is.

Thus, one can see the lazy formulaic mediocrity of Aslan’s television show without much work: Reza Aslan espouses Universalism, the view that all paths lead to God — even if these paths involve cannibalism, hurling feces, or believing that a self-admitted narcissist in  Hawaii named Jezus, a man who appears to be mentally ill, is the Messiah and prophet of the coming apocalypse. By embracing Universalism, Aslan can stage his televised freak show and reconcile demented cultic behavior to God at the conclusion of each episode. In doing so, Reza Aslan ultimately affirms nothing but his own inability to deal with serious criticisms of cults. Reza Aslan is a dilettante doing eminently forgettable throwaway television.

That Reza Aslan engaged in cannibalism with the Aghori comports perfectly with Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard’s teaching on cannibalism:

CLEARED CANNIBAL, the individual without engrams seeks survival along all of the dynamics in accordance with his breadth of understanding. This does not mean that a Zulu who has been cleared of all his engrams would not continue to eat missionaries if he were a cannibal by education; but it does mean that he would be as rational as possible about eating missionaries; further, it would be easier to re-educate him about eating missionaries if he were a Clear. – L. Ron Hubbard, Science of Survival, as cited in the 1975 edition of Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary.

It is both bizarre and psychologically revealing to consider that Hubbard would allow cannibalism to be practiced within Scientology while condemning all LGBTQ persons in the pages of Dianetics:

The sexual pervert (and by this term Dianetics, to be brief, includes any and all forms of deviation in dynamic two such as homosexuality, lesbianism, sexual sadism, etc., and all down the catalog of Ellis and Krafft-Ebing) is actually quite ill physically.

Hubbard condemnation of LGBTQ persons, and therefore Scientology’s condemnation, gets even stranger when we consider that Hubbard cited the German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft Ebing as his authority. As LGBT Nation wrote of Krafft Ebing:

Richard von Krafft Ebing was a German Professor of psychiatry born in 1840 who spent much of his professional career studying, publishing, and lecturing on what he considered to be sexual aberrations. While many remember him for coining terms which first appeared in his book Psycopathia Sexualis with Especial Reference to Antipathic Sexual Instinct like fetishism, sexual psychopath, masochism, sadism, necrophilia, and heterosexuality, what he has ultimately been most remembered for was his role in the criminalization of homosexuality…

LGBT Nation goes on state that Krafft Ebing had two concerns which were later embraced by Hubbard and Scientology:

Krafft Ebing had two main concerns in the world of human sexuality; masturbation and homosexuality, both of which he saw as deviant.

Given Hubbard’s hatred of psychiatry and Scientology’s stated goal to obliterate psychiatry, it is breathtaking to consider that Scientology’s highly negative and condemnatory views of LGBTQ persons and of masturbation are informed by a 19th century German psychiatrist. This shows the blatant contradiction and intellectual bankruptcy at the core of Hubbard’s denunciation of LGBTQ persons as “1.1’s” and degraded beings.”

However, Hubbard was fine with cannibalism. Conversely, Reza Aslan’s show on Hinduism sparked massive outrage in the global Hindu community, with numerous articles criticizing Aslan. The Washington Post wrote:

Religion scholar Reza Aslan ate cooked human brain tissue with a group of cannibals in India during Sunday’s premiere of the new CNN show “Believer,” a documentary series about spirituality around the globe.

The outcry was immediate. Aslan, a Muslim who teaches creative writing at the University of California at Riverside, was accused of “Hinduphobia” and of mischaracterizing Hindus.

“With multiple reports of hate-fueled attacks against people of Indian origin from across the U.S., the show characterizes Hinduism as cannibalistic, which is a bizarre way of looking at the third largest religion in the world,” lobbyist group U.S. India Political Action Committees said in a statement, according to the Times of India.

Reza Aslan is clearly committed to sensationalism and not scholarship. For this reason, his CNN television show must be seen for what it is: A cynical attention-seeking professor of creative writing, for that is what Aslan actually is, seeking to make a second career for himself in television. Reza Aslan does not have a Ph.D. in religious studies and is not a religious scholar by either training or academic position. For CNN to promote Aslan as a “religious scholar” is misleading inasmuch as actual religious scholars have Ph.D.’s in religious studies.

Reza Aslan is an attention whore. In this vein, his foray into cannibalism with the Aghori monks can be compared to professional Scientology attention whore Joy Villa and the Trump dress she wore to this year’s Grammy show:

trump-dress-joy-villa-full-grammy-2017-600

Following her PR coup at on the Grammy red carpet, Joy Villa appeared at a Gays For Trump rally in Washington DC where she called for love and tolerance. I don’t see how Joy Villa, as a Scientologist, reconciles Scientology’s hatred and condemnation of LGBTQ persons with what she is doing by supporting Gays for Trump. Likewise, Reza Aslan’s CNN show lacks substance and instead is merely, like Joy Villa’s Trump dress, blatant attention-seeking by resorting to sensationalism.

Reza Aslan’s show on Scientology is next week. Aslan has already betrayed himself here by stating that he will cast the demented and vicious Scientology Cult in a favorable light. Hence, Reza Aslan will be donning his own version of the Trump dress in order to create some sensationalism in which he is the center of attention. Like I said, Aslan’s television show is lazy formulaic mediocrity.