Scientology Spinout: Commenters of the Week!
On Tuesday, we took another look at intriguing young DC-area Scientologist Tad Reeves. We're still hoping to talk to the young father who has given us so many arresting images of the Hubbard lifestyle. Call us, Tad!
Later that night, we jumped on breaking news: iconic old school Scientology critic Mark Bunker explained why he supports former high-ranking church executive Marty Rathbun, and revealed that he helped Rathbun start his blog two years ago. It was a shocker!
On Wednesday, we got excited about what turned out to be a two-year-old video showing Tom Cruise sign an Anonymous member's Guy Fawkes mask at a red-carpet event. Still, it was new to us.
On Thursday, another stunner: we posted video of Paulien Lombard admitting to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors that just two years ago she had been a Scientology spy. We interviewed Lombard, as well as the man she was sent to spy on, AnonOrange!
And on Friday, we posted a Q&A we did with Hollywood Reporter scribe Daniel Miller. In particular, we found out that he'd talked to Tommy Davis (never in person) in April and May, and had received a final e-mail from Davis in June. Where's Tommy today? Running around a pole at Gold? We hope not.
Now, let's get to the awards...
Our story about Mark Bunker and Marty Rathbun seemed to excite commenters the most, with a lot of back and forth about Rathbun's adherence to Hubbard technology, and whether critics like Bunker can separate their disdain for Scientology's practices from individual Scientologists. We enjoyed this response from "wannabeclear":
His Words are Wise. His face is Beard! I always figured that these two had a mutual respect for each other, despite the enormous chasm of belief/disbelief between them. I'm particularly impressed with the fact that Mark created Marty's Wordpress blog, unsolicited. I've always been a big fan of WBM, but this reinforces it even more. And I too have learned quite a lot from reading Marty's blog, despite my personal philosophical differences of opinion. If I am to be a true defender of the First Amendment, I must be willing to defend the rights of those whose views I may find anathema, abhorrent, bizarre or ridiculous, as long as their belief does not incite hate and violence or impinge on the rights of others. Although I may not personally believe in Scientology, I do believe that there are lots of people who feel they have gotten benefit from it and I will not deny their experiences (which I have not myself experienced).
A well-stated counterpoint came from "Sid":
There is a misunderstanding here. Rathbun and Rinder are not mistrusted because of what they did in Scientology. I believe that everyone in Scientology is a victim of Hubbard, and that includes Rathbun and Rinder - actually it even includes Miscavige. Therefore, anyone who leaves the cult, who comes to that awful realization that they have been completely conned of years of their life and 000s of dollars, is deserving of forgiveness and help. However, that is not the case with Rathbun and Rinder. Their beef is they were beat up a few too many times by their boss. They are mistrusted because they continue to promote the subject, they don't seem to realize it was a cult long before Miscavige came on the scene, and by standing by Hubbard and the tech they are therefore effectively still promoting a cult. Their only problem with Scientology is that it is run by Miscavige.
We were surprised that more people didn't comment on Paulien Lombard's stunning public appearance. But we did enjoy this response by Heather Grace:
I really respect how Paulien has done what she can to make things right. She seems like a terrific person. It's a reminder (should anyone need one) that many or most scientologists are actually terrific people. But they've been lied to and indoctrinated. Given the chance, and if they're willing to consider all the facts, they may choose not to perpetuate the abuses of the Church of Scientology and David Miscavige. We do not protest the individual scientologists, nor their right to be scientologists. Just the fraud and abuses. Thanks, Paulien.
More good stories are on the way, and please keep those tips coming to our underground bunker. We look into every single one, whether or not we can turn them into stories here. Also, for updates on our coverage, including behind-the-scenes peeks at upcoming stories in progress, check out our new Facebook page.
See all of our recent Scientology coverage at the Voice
Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared
Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications. Among his other stories about L. Ron Hubbard's organization:
The Larry Wollersheim Saga -- Scientology Finally Pays For Its Fraud
The Tory Bezazian (Christman) Story -- How the Internet Saved A Scientologist From Herself
The Jason Beghe Defection -- A Scientology Celebrity Goes Rogue
The Robert Cipriano Case -- A Hellacious Example of Fair Game
The Paul Haggis Ultimatum -- The 'Crash' Director Tells Scientology to Shove It
The Marc Headley Escape -- 'Tom Cruise Told Me to Talk to a Bottle'
The Aaron Saxton Accusation -- Australia turns up the heat on Scientology
The Jefferson Hawkins Stipulation -- Scientology's former PR genius comes clean
The Daniel Montalvo Double-Cross -- Scientology lures a young defector into a trap
A Church Myth Debunked -- Scientology and Proposition 8
Daniel Montalvo Strikes Back -- Scientology Hit with Stunning Child-Labor Lawsuits
When Scientologists Attack -- The Marty Rathbun Intimidation
A Scientologist Excommunicated -- The Michael Fairman SP Declaration
The Richard Leiby Operation -- Investigating a reporter's divorce to shut him up
The Hugh Urban Investigation -- An academic takes a harsh look at Scientology's past
Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh -- A precedent for a Scientology-Branch Davidian link
Janet Reitman's Inside Scientology -- A masterful telling of Scientology's history
The Western Spy Network Revealed? -- Marty Rathbun ups the ante on David Miscavige
Scientology's Enemies List -- Are You On It?
Inside Inside Scientology -- An interview with author Janet Reitman
Scientology and the Nation of Islam -- Holy Doctrinal Mashup, Batman!
Scientologists -- How Many of Them Are There, Anyway?
Roger Weller's Wild Ride -- Scientology When it was Hip
The Marc Headley Infiltration -- A Scientology Spying Operation Revealed
Placido Domingo Jr: Scientology's Retaliation is "Scary and Pathetic"
An Interview with Nancy Many, Former Scientology Spy
The Paulien Lombard Confession -- A Scientology Spy Comes Clean