There has been a massive amount of media following the ABC 20/20 interview with Leah on Friday evening.
One of the more complete stories covering the show was in USA Today (not normally their forte…) and within that story (and some others) they link to the Scientology response they regurgitated on Friday night (regurgitated because it is virtually the same statement they have made to every piece of media coverage since 2007).
That response speaks loudly to the mindset of scientology, the policies it follows in dealing with those it doesn’t like who happen to be covered by the media, and it’s inability to deal with the REAL issues that it confronts if it wants to have any hope of remaining even marginally relevant into the future.
First, of course, the response addresses NONE of the issues but is instead a personal attack on the character and motivations of Leah Remini. As it is with everyone who says ANYTHING the church doesn’t like. Each is labeled a bigot. Biased. Hater. Failed [fill in profession]. Publicity seeker. Defrocked apostate. Propaganda merchant. Anti-religionist. Wife-beater. Thief. Liar. Ad hominem should have its own page in the scientology dictionary.
There is little discrimination in their name-calling. Oscar-winner Alex Gibney in scientology PR-speak becomes a government agent intent on the destruction of scientology because his father worked for the CIA. Oscar winner Paul Haggis is a “failed Hollywood scriptwriter trying to get back at the church.” Pulitzer prize-wining author Lawrence Wright is a “hater.” Journalists of all stripes and colors, from Joe Childs and Tom Tobin at the Tampa Bay Times to John Sweeney at BBC Panorama and Maureen Orth at Vanity Fair — they are each and every one of them “bigots” and “merchants of chaos” doing one-sided “hit-jobs” that “neglect the real story of scientology.”
And anyone like me, or Marty Rathbun, Tom DeVocht, Amy Scobee, Jeff Hawkins, Marc and Claire Headley, Sinar Parman, Karen De La Carriere, Steve Hall, Haydn James, Ron Miscavige, Bruce Hines and many others (ALL of whom served time at the International Headquarters of scientology under the Miscavige regime), we are all liars and speaking out about our experiences because we are “paid anti-scientologists” (though the source of these payments remains a mystery, probably “Big Pharma” or “the psychs” — though in my case I HAVE been paid by some lawfirms to help them understand scientology policy and jargon, but it was hardly money to live on and cost me a lot more in lost income…)
This is all pursuant to the principles contained in scientology policy: NEVER DEFEND, ALWAYS ATTACK.
And the time worn “street-smarts” of every guilty person who has no chance of disproving the case against them – attack the credibility of the witness.
The next step, for any former scientologists, is for them to rewrite history to claim that the person was “expelled from the religion for ethical violations.”
Of course, the church fails to mention that the “ethical violations” to which they refer is speaking about their experiences in scientology. Yes, this is categorized as a “High Crime” in scientology, an act which leads to expulsion from the church and being declared a “Suppressive Person.” Speaking about scientology in an unauthorized manner. Talking to the media. Talking to anyone declared persona non grata by scientology. They have tried to claim that everyone who escaped from the international base (some with harrowing stories of being chased down across the country) were “thrown out.” I was the international spokesman for scientology when I escaped — appearing on TV. The church later claimed I had been “removed form all positions and thrown out.”
The church of course words their statements to make it seem that the “ethical lapses” are things normal people would consider to be unethical (like being a child molester or something). NOT speaking out about abuses rampant in scientology.
This is EXACTLY what they did in the case of Leah, claiming she was on the verge of being expelled for refusing to abide by the high level of ethics and decency Scientologists are expected to maintain. Yes, it is technically true – she was on the verge of speaking out about the things she saw wrong. But that isn’t the impression the church wants to portray with their disingenuous statement.
They accuse Leah of “rewriting history” — another classic scientology “always attack, never defend” means of trying to deflect criticism. They try to jump out in front of the problems they generate in their blatant distortion of historical events by claiming that anyone who is talking about them is the one “revising history.” It has a ring of possible truth to it — after all, who would put out a statement that says something is “revisionist history” if it was not the case?
Well, the answer to that is easy. The same people that claimed the reports that David Miscavige was having his father followed and told the Private Investigators who were following him to let him die when they reported they thought he was having a heart attack were “provable bullshit.” Those were the exact words Miscavige used. Even when the information about those events came from the public record of the prosecution of the two PI’s for carrying illegal weapons in their “stakeout” of Miscavige’s dad. It was THEIR statements to the police. The guys he had hired to do his dirty work.
So, beware bold and brash assertions from the church of scientology. They are pretty routinely, to use their vernacular, provable bullshit.
And in that vein, the provable bullshit in their “response” to Leah is not hard to find.
They claim her actions “led to an ecclesiastical review which resulted in her being expelled.”
Not before she walked away they didn’t. They may have held an “ecclesiastical review” after she was gone and had filed her famous missing person report on Shelly Miscavige. They did nothing BEFORE she left. No, right up until the end, it was David Miscavige himself that was “handling” Leah to try and keep her and her family in scientology.
Scientology’s statement is akin to saying “after the horse bolted, we closed the barn door — can you believe that stupid horse, we had been mistreating it for years, how dare it leave right before we were going to send it to glue factory.”
There was never any “ecclesiatical review” and what is so strange is the bubble mentality of scientology that they think this would even sound be appropriate to include in a statement to the media? In fact, this statement is targeted to the ONLY public Miscavige really worries about. The dwindling number of people who still call themselves scientologists. This press release is intended to appeal to current scientologists who may happen to see Leah talking about Miscavige and the church. To them, “ecclesiastical review” is a code word for “Committee of Evidence” — a procedure within the church that is intended to make “impartial” determinations of whether someone is a Suppressive Person or not. If Leah was afforded a “Committee of Evidence” (which she was not) it would make her “guilty” in the glazed-over eyes of scientology believers.
Then they pile on a few more of the ad hominem sentences like this one:
She now regurgitates the tired myths the Church has repeatedly debunked, circulated by the same tiny clique of expelled former staffers bitter at having lost the positions they enjoyed before their malfeasance and unethical conduct were uncovered. Ms. Remini is now joined at the hip with this collection of deadbeats, admitted liars, self-admitted perjurers, wife beaters and worse.
Let’s analyze this.
Firstly, she is not “regurgitating” anything other than HER OWN experiences. Not the “tired myths” of anyone else.
Secondly, though the church repeatedly states they have “repeatedly debunked” these so-called myths (about the abusive behavior of Miscavige) they have never done any such thing. As each person has come forward and recounted their experiences, in each case scientology has used this same line “oh, that tired old claim, we already dealt with that.” When and where? The last time you called them previously debunked? Or the first time you called them previously debunked? Trace it back. They have never debunked any of them. Not once. Let alone David Miscavige ever fronting up to the media or a court case to answer to the allegations. Despite the fact that he has been asked hundreds of times — and after refusing to participate he thereafter claims the media “refused to hear the church’s side of it.”
Third, Ms. Remini is not “joined at the hip” with “this collection of deadbeats, admitted liars etc etc” — she is not “joined” with anyone. But even if she were, this yellow-journalism tactic of attempting to impugn someone’s credibility by characterizing their friends as reprobates, is pretty weak sauce. No thinking person in the world falls for this. It went out of fashion with J. Edgar Hoover. Were this to be a fair way of judging someone then scientology would no doubt accuse the Pope of being a pedophile and unreliable because of the people he is “joined at the hip” with in the Catholic hierarchy.
The only substantive thing this statement addresses is Leah’s “dishonest, fraudulent report filed in 2013 with the Los Angeles Police Department that was declared “unfounded”” which according to scientology makes her “irresponsible and untrustworthy.” A couple of points to note here.
First, Shelly Miscavige has STILL not been seen publicly for many years. This is akin to Michelle Obama suddenly vanishing from sight. With no statement. No information. Just GONE.
Shelly was VERY prominent. ALWAYS by her husband’s side. And it is not without precedent for people to have “disappeared” in the upper echelons of scientology. Some have died, and the ONLY way this was discovered was for those OUTSIDE the church to find out about it and make it known to their families. Scientology is incredibly secretive about such things. When the church refused to respond to any of Leah’s efforts to determine whether Shelly was OK, she filed a Missing Persons report.
This is what a responsible citizen and friend would do.
It does not make her irresponsible or untrustworthy. Quite the contrary. I hope if I ever disappear without a trace, and nobody will talk about what has happened to me, that friends like Leah would make a stink and do whatever they felt they could do to ensure I was alright.
But in the end, this is what incurred the ultimate wrath of scientology. Wanting to know the whereabouts of the leader of scientology’s wife, who was a personal friend, was considered a horrendous “act of war” by David Miscavige. Why is it “none of her business” when the prominent wife of the leader of scientology vanishes? Miscavige chose to make his wife a prominent part of his scientology persona. She was present at all his official functions. She was his “Assistant.” It was not like she was a “private person” who was never in the public spotlight.
Miscavige and the church’s reaction to being asked about it should tell you everything you need to know about the mindset inside scientology. It is much closer to North Korea than anyone who seeks to defend it cares to admit.
If there was NOT something worth worrying about, why didn’t Shelly simply appear in public, explain what she was doing and make Leah Remini look like a fool? OR even call Leah on the phone?
And finally, they tack on what really is tired old news — the same “evidence” scientology tries to foist off as “proving” everything said about them is not true.
The Church has grown more in the past decade than in its first 50 years combined under the ecclesiastical leadership of Mr. Miscavige, a visionary parishioners and Church staff hold in the highest regard for carrying out the legacy of the Scientology Founder through the renaissance the religion is now experiencing. Mr. Miscavige works tirelessly for the parishioners and their benefit and to aid millions through sponsorship and participation in global humanitarian initiatives and social betterment programs.
This is more provable bullshit. Scientology is and has been shrinking faster in the last decade than in any time in its 60 year history. Miscavige is trying to paper over this fact by buying buildings with the billions of tax free dollars the church has accumulated. With each one, he makes a personal appearance to conduct an elaborate “grand opening.” Those buildings, like Potemkin’s infamous villages are empty showpieces. Those events are staged “photo ops.” Once again, the parallel to North Korea is unmistakable. So too the fawning reverence for “Mr. Miscavige” that now appears in virtually every statement the church makes. Outside of repressive dictatorships, it is very difficult to find this sort of obsequious idol-worship put forth in media statements anywhere by anyone.
And a final note, just to repeat the obvious.
Scientology responds to NONE of the substance of the statements made by Leah or others who appeared on the 20/20 show.
What else is new?
The response of scientology is proof of everything that Leah Remini and others are saying.