A 2017 flight suggests that Scientology leader is still canoodling with his ‘communicator’
It’s one of the most important and telling details from Leah Remini’s bestselling memoir, Troublemaker, a moment that helped begin her journey out of Scientology.
At the November 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in a castle in Italy, Leah was surprised to see that Tom’s best man, Scientology leader David Miscavige, was there at the wedding without his wife, Shelly. And adding to the mystery, she said, was that Dave was playing grab-ass with his “personal communicator,” a woman named Laurisse ‘Lou’ Henley-Smith.
What Leah didn’t know at that moment was that more than a year earlier, Shelly Miscavige had vanished from Scientology’s international management base, also known as Int or Gold Base in San Jacinto, California, where she and Dave had lived. We believe that Scientology has confined Shelly to a small mountain compound near Lake Arrowhead in the 18 years since. And Leah continues to bring Shelly’s disappearance to the public, demanding that law enforcement look into her fate.
But what Leah saw that day in Italy not only began her quest to find Shelly, it also provided some of the best evidence that Dave had replaced Shelly with his communicator, that Henley-Smith was more than just a very close employee.
That impression was also bolstered a couple of years later, in 2008, when the four of them — Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, David Miscavige, and Laurisse — were photographed at the Laguna Seca racetrack in California taking in a motorcycle event.
We have been asked in the many years since Leah’s sighting in Italy and those photos at the racetrack, are Dave and Lou still, today, more than employer and employee?
Several months ago, we began talking to a very interesting new defector from Scientology, Mitch Brisker, the man who directed Scientology’s films for many years and who today is making a splash with his appearances on various YouTube channels.
Brisker is a wealth of information about the inner workings of Scientology, and he only departed in 2020, so his information is unusually fresh.
He was the source of the fascinating story that in 2008, he had run into Shelly Miscavige, who was down from her mountain prison at the Starbucks in Redlands with her “handlers.”
But more recently, he had also personally witnessed something else that is pertinent to Shelly Miscavige’s disappearance.
In 2017, he says, he was on an overnight flight in a private plane with David Miscavige and Laurisse, who stayed in a private cabin by themselves over the entire night.
So, some 12 years after Shelly’s disappearance, 11 years after the wedding in Italy, and 9 years after the Laguna Seca race, Dave and Lou were still on intimate terms, he says.
And part of the reason he’s willing now to discuss it, Mitch says, is that what he saw Dave do was a violation of “2D” rules that Miscavige uses ruthlessly to destroy the lives of his employees.
The hypocrisy bugs him, Mitch says.
In October 2017, Mitch was in Los Angeles working on a special project involving marketing for Narconon, and he was writing material eight hours a day at the ASI building on Hollywood Blvd.
He would meet with Miscavige daily about the project, but Miscavige was also preparing for that year’s International Association of Scientologists (IAS) gala in East Grinstead, England, which took place each October and celebrated Scientology’s biggest donors.
Mitch says that one day, while they were working, Miscavige simply asked him, “why don’t you fly over to the event with us?”
Mitch knew he didn’t really have a choice in the matter. He says there were a few of them on the flight, and they met in the ASI parking lot at the prescribed time and were shuttled over to the private plane terminal at LAX, then taken to the aircraft.
“You get on the plane, and they immediately serve you some five-star food. They pick it up from the most insanely expensive restaurant,” he says with a laugh. “You hang out on the plane. It’s like a party.”
One of the passengers along for the ride with them was Diana Hubbard, daughter of founder L. Ron Hubbard, and the only family member still remaining in the organization.
Mitch knew her well. When he had first been taken out to Int Base to begin working as Scientology’s director, she had temporarily been made his immediate boss. And he says she was a lot of fun to be around.
“She’s a really pleasant person. I don’t know what he fuck she’s still doing there,” he says.
We told Mitch that over the years, we’ve seen Miscavige take Diana out of Int Base to events like the one in England, and she seems to serve as an icon.
“She’s a little bit of a symbolic character,” he said, in agreement. “She’s a delightful person to be around.”
Mitch remembers that the other passengers, besides Miscavige and Laurisse, were Karin Alpers, a director of the IASA, the administrative organization that runs the IAS, and a steward, a young Latina who worked for Miscavige.
But he also distinctly remembers the private jet’s two flight attendants.
“They were like supermodels who had black belts. They could have been bodyguards. They were lethally beautiful,” he says.
Flying the plane was pilot and Scientologist Randy Hepner, who has flown for Tom Cruise. And that’s why Mitch thinks they might have been using Cruise’s plane.
“Or, Miscavige could have chartered another jet and hired Randy to fly it,” he admits.
Whether it was Tom’s Gulfstream or another plane, Mitch says there was no question that it consisted of a main cabin, where he and Diana Hubbard and Karin Alpers sat, and then, in the rear, a private, master suite.
The flight left LAX in the afternoon and, jetting east, soon went into darkness for the overnight haul to Gatwick airport in England. And throughout the flight, he says, Miscavige and Laurisse stayed in the private suite.
To Mitch, the impression was inescapable: Miscavige and Henley-Smith were a couple.
Even if they weren’t sleeping together on the flight, which they certainly appeared to be doing, Mitch says it was “a massive violation of the 2-D rules of the Sea Org. Dave has destroyed lives over lesser violations. Just going in there and locking the door is a violation of the rules.”
“2D” refers to the “second dynamic,” Scientology jargon for sexual relationships. Mitch is suggesting that Miscavige, spending the night in a locked cabin with a woman not his wife, was a more severe violation of the Sea Org’s rules than other violations he had ruined careers over.
Mitch says that whenever he had seen the two of them, he had been struck by two thoughts: “It would shock me how short he was,” was the first thought, he said. (Miscavige’s former tailor, Claudio Lugli, told us years ago that Miscavige is “max” five-feet-one.)
Mitch said the second thought was always, is she sleeping with him? Now, he seemed to have his answer.
“They never came out of that room the whole flight,” he says.
“There are no rules for Dave. This was one of the best examples of it. Spending the night with her? He would send someone else to the RPF for that,” he adds.
Mitch left Scientology a couple of years later, but we asked him, based on what he’d seen, if he thinks David Miscavige and Laurisse are a couple today, and he said he did.
Like we said, Mitch’s information is fresher than most, and we’re looking forward to reading the book he’s finishing up about his experiences, Scientology: The Big Lie, How I Made An Evil Cult Look Good, and he also has a YouTube channel.
Meanwhile, in the latest photos of David Miscavige published in Scientology’s magazines and websites, the church leader is still wearing his wedding ring.
His wife Shelly has not been seen in public in more than 16 years now.
Chris Shelton is going Straight Up and Vertical
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