Jamie DeWolf, L. Ron Hubbard Great-Grandson, Gaining More Notoriety for His Views on Scientology
Kudos to CBS Channel 5 in the San Francisco Bay Area for putting the full 12-minute, raw interview they did with Jamie DeWolf up on their website.
We can't help point out what we said about Jamie last year: "Jamie DeWolf has the opportunity, with his talent for writing and even more talent for delivery, to become a major embarrassment to Scientology, and it sounds like he's just beginning to tap that potential."
We wrote that last summer when we named Jamie #22 on our list, Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, and we heard some grumbling from readers who said he wasn't well known enough to be included with the rest of the people on that accounting.
But we noted that he's actually been around for quite a while, talking about Scientology on occasion. It was in 2000 that he was invited to Clearwater by the folks at the Lisa McPherson Trust, who asked him to make his first public performance. He called it an incoherent mess, and was surprised when it got a reaction from the church -- in the form of a couple of goons visiting his mother.
He then kept pretty quiet about Scientology until last year, when he was asked by a friend to put together a performance piece about his famous great-grandfather. When video of that performance began to spread, we took notice of it. Here's that spell-binding stage monologue...
Our piece about that brought Jamie to the notice of the Washington Post, but since then he's again been more concerned with the performances of his troupe, Tourettes Without Regrets, as it competes in shows around the country.
Then, the TomKat split happened. In the last few weeks, Jamie's been much in demand, and it's been a real pleasure to see him get the attention he deserves.
Inside Edition, which has been doing some really great stuff on Scientology lately, featured Jamie on a recent program.
Jamie contacted me when that show was being prepared. He said that Tom Cruise was turning out to be "the gateway drug" for news organizations now in a feeding frenzy for Scientology news.
He's got a point there!
Scientology's Narconon Problem is Growing
We've been following some of the problems plaguing Scientology's quack drug treatment program, Narconon, and in particular the crisis facing its flagship operation in Oklahoma, Narconon Arrowhead. After a third death at the facility just since October, the local Sheriff's office and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation are both looking into what happened to cause Stacy Murphy, 20, to perish there.
Now, the Tulsa World is reporting that Pittsburg County officials are expanding their investigation of the center.
We're not exactly sure what that means, but we can only hope that Oklahoma officials start paying attention to Narconon's well-documented insanity -- that it charges exorbitant rates (about $25,000 to $30,000 a month) to treat patients with an unscientific and dangerous combination of sauna treatments and massive vitamin doses, that it uses low-paid former patients as staff, that it typically has no actual medical personnel, and that it's really a recruitment tool for Scientology itself.
Please do widen that investigation, Oklahoma.
UPDATE: OK, just for fun...
Scientology's president and the death of his son: our complete coverage
What Katie is saving Suri from: Scientology interrogation of kids
Scientology's new defections: Hubbard's granddaughter and Miscavige's dad
Scientology's disgrace: our open letter to Tom Cruise
Scientology crumbling: An entire mission defects as a group
Scientology leader David Miscavige's vanished wife: Where's Shelly?
Neil Gaiman, 7, Interviewed About Scientology by the BBC in 1968
The Master Screenplay: Scientology History from Several Different Eras
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Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you ask nicely he'll put you on his mailing list for notifications of new stories. You can also catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, on Pinterest, a Tumblr, and even this new Google Plus doohickey.
New readers might want to check out our primer, "What is Scientology?" Another good overview is our series from last summer, "Top 25 People Crippling Scientology." At the top of every story, you'll see the "Scientology" category which, if you click on it, will bring up all of our most recent stories.
As for hot subjects we've covered here, you may have heard about Debbie Cook, the former church official who rebelled and was sued by Scientology. You might have also heard about the Super Power Building, Scientology's "Mecca," whose secrets were revealed here. We also reported how Scientology spied on its own most precious object, Tom Cruise. (We wrote Tom an open letter that he has yet to respond to.) Have you seen a Scientology ad on TV lately? We debunked some of the claims in that 2-minute commercial you might have seen while watching Glee or American Idol.
Other stories have looked at Scientology's policy of "disconnection" that is tearing families apart. You may also have heard something about the Sea Org experiences of the Paris sisters, Valeska and Melissa, and their friend Ramana Dienes-Browning. We've also featured Paulette Cooper, who wrote about Scientology back in the day, and Janet Reitman, Hugh Urban, and the team at the Tampa Bay Times, who write about it today. And there's plenty more coming.