PODCAST: How Tory Christman saved Rosie O'Donnell from joining Scientology
One of the people we were happy to see in Los Angeles when we were covering the Danny Masterson trial was our old friend Tory Christman.
We first wrote about Tory back in 2001, and she's still one of our favorite people in the world.
On this Christmas Eve, we asked if she would join us on the Underground Bunker Podcast. And wow, she let us get into some things we'd kept under our belt for a long time, as you will see.
Tory was a “public” Scientologist, someone who doesn’t work for the organization, but she explains how she was called on to help with operations to defend the church, such as at the Lawrence Wollersheim lawsuit in the 1980s, and at the Usenet group alt.religion.scientology as the new century dawned.
But it was there that she ran into a kind man named Andreas Heldal-Lund, and it led to her rather spectacular and public defection from Scientology, which was the subject of our story about her.
Since then she’s helped educate thousands of people through her YouTube channel about Scientology’s abuses and controversies. And along the way, she’s convinced some people not to get involved in the church at all. Including one prominent television personality, as you’ll hear.
Happy holidays, people!
Lawyers added to David Miscavige’s team
A couple of minor developments we wanted to tell you about as we prepare for a January 20 showdown between Scientology leader David Miscavige and a Tampa federal court.
We told you previously that Miscavige had finally responded to the court in a labor trafficking lawsuit by hiring a Florida Bar past president, William Schifino, who is preparing to argue that Miscavige should not be declared served by the court.
The plaintiffs, represented by attorney Neil Glazer, asked for the January 20 hearing to argue that they have done enough to prove that Miscavige has purposely been evading service in the suit and should be declared an official defendant.
Now, a couple of things to report: First, the January 20 hearing, which was originally scheduled to be a Zoom conference, has now been set by Magistrate Judge Julie S. Sneed for courtroom 11A at the federal courthouse.
Also, Schifino is bringing in some ringers from the powerhouse Washington DC firm Williams & Connolly: Attorney Krystal Durham and partner Joseph Terry (pictured).
With Miscavige, money is no object if it means keeping him out of a courtroom.
That January 20 hearing should be pretty interesting, and we plan to have someone there.
Continuing our year in review: The stories of April 2022
Emory University invited us to give a brief talk about Scientology’s legal battles over “religious arbitration,” but after our appearance in an online forum, Scientology frightened the folks at Emory into removing our presentation from the video record and didn’t publish our brief paper. So we did at the Underground Bunker. Nothing we said was libelous of course. But it was startling to see Emory lose its nerve.
Louise Shekter was back with another piece, this time about witnessing the birth of the RPF, the Sea Org’s notorious prison program.
The Scientology oversharer, an enthusiastic woman who loves to post things about her journey up the Bridge, topped herself by showing us her graduation speech as “Clear” at the new Kansas City Ideal Org.
We learned that OT 8 Scientologist and YouTube chiropractor Dr. Eric Berg was being sued for forcing Scientology on an employee. We told Berg’s son Ian Rafalko about it, and Ian offered to help the former employee with her litigation. The next day, Berg threw in the towel and cut a check to make the case go away.
We even beat TMZ with this one: Scientologist actor Eddie Deezen was, sadly, arrested again, and this time he was being held on a mental health watch. We just hope he can shake off Scientology’s indoctrination against psychiatric care.
We took another look at Scientology’s “at Home” program, which suggested that members tend to be concentrated in Mexico and Taiwan these days, as well as some of the traditional places.
California’s Supreme Court refused Scientology’s petition to review an appellate court’s stunning decision to restore the lawsuit filed by Danny Masterson’s accusers in January. It was another defeat for Scientology’s “religious arbitration” scheme.
Bruce Hines gave us another great narrative about his time in the Sea Org and remembering some of the crazy things he was expected to do to defend Scientology.
Another scoop: We’re leaked audio of David Miscavige announcing the new “Golden Age of Admin” release, the first audio we’ve had of him in several years.
And on April 28, the big news that Valeska Paris and two other former Sea Org workers living in Australia file a new labor trafficking lawsuit against Scientology in Tampa, Florida. It alleges that they were forced to become child workers in Scientology, including horrific treatment into adulthood aboard the cruise ship Freewinds.
A LOOK BACK AT APRIL 2021: Ben Schneiders uncorked a beauty about Scientology’s finances in Australia. OT 8 art dealer Izzy Chait went on to his reward. SNL’s breakout new star, Chloe Fineman, is a Scientologist and the child of Scientologists. New York chiropractor and Scientology donor Jay Spina was sentenced to nine years in prison for Medicare fraud. Tommy Davis and his new wife welcomed a son into the world.
A LOOK BACK AT APRIL 2020: Whoopi Goldberg recommended Narconon. Wealthy Scientologist Jim Mathers said of Covid, “healthy people don’t get sick.” Scientology started putting out some very weird videos as a result of members being locked down at home. LRH 2.0 faced a revolt. Another confirmation from Scientology itself that its numbers are in the thousands, not millions. David Miscavige turned 60.
A LOOK BACK AT APRIL 2019: Shooting victim Brian Statler was identified. Chris Owen filled us in on Scientology’s odd efforts in Papua New Guinea. Graham Berry shared another stunning demand letter with us. Sunny Perreira told us her story about Brad Pitt bringing his pet igauna to the Celebrity Centre for some auditing. Danny Masterson’s accusers and Mike Rinder’s daughter had a confrontation caught on video.
A LOOK BACK AT APRIL 2018: Chris Owen found that L. Ron Hubbard tried to buy Malawi. Leah Remini was subjected to a Scientology “noisy investigation.” We chatted with the convicted felon who says he’s the returned L. Ron Hubbard. Tommy Davis showed up with a new look. Kim Poff was finally able to give us an interview about getting fired by Oklahoma for blowing the whistle on Narconon. Rocker Cedric Bixler-Zavala told us about the harassment his wife Chrissie Carnell Bixler was going through after coming forward as a victim of Scientologist actor Danny Masterson.
A LOOK BACK AT APRIL 2017: Scientologist actor Erika Christensen raised eyebrows for playing a Christian convert on film. We dug up a reference to ‘Mount Xenu’ in a Hubbard lecture. Dee Findlay schooled the Clearwater city council. A 1973 documentary featuring Nan McLean resurfaced.
A LOOK BACK AT APRIL 2016: David Miscavige was filmed opening an Ideal Org in Atlanta. Phil and Willie Jones put up a billboard in Los Angeles about Scientology disconnection. We revealed that Giovanni Ribisi’s daughter Lucia Ribisi had ditched Scientology. The Gregg Hagglund story — seeing a Fair Game operation from both ends. How David Miscavige ripped apart his own family, and how Lisa Marie Presley became (at least for a short time) his biggest nightmare. David Miscavige threatened to sue his own Dad, and we were live on the scene as Laura DeCrescenzo’s lawsuit survived a second motion for summary judgment. Was this the greatest single month for news in the history of the Bunker? It was certainly up there.
A LOOK BACK AT APRIL 2015: We broke down the elements that made SNL’s parody, ‘Neurotology,’ so great. We brought you full audio tapes of police interviews with the Scientology private eyes who stalked Ron Miscavige. And we dug up the true history of Tom Cruise and Mimi Rogers.
A LOOK BACK AT APRIL 2014: We checked with his tailor to find out David Miscavige’s actual height. Tax documents spelled out Scientology’s amazing cash value. And an insider provided us documents showing that Narconon Arrowhead is running on fumes.
A LOOK BACK AT APRIL 2013: Live-blogging Rock Center‘s Narconon expose, behind the scenes at Int Base with “Love in the Time of Miscavige,” and Narconon in Georgia raided.
Thank you for reading today’s story here at Substack. For the full picture of what’s happening today in the world of Scientology, please join the conversation at tonyortega.org, where we’ve been reporting daily on David Miscavige’s cabal since 2012. There you’ll find additional stories, and our popular regular daily features:
Source Code: Actual things founder L. Ron Hubbard said on this date in history
Avast, Ye Mateys: Snapshots from Scientology’s years at sea
Overheard in the Freezone: Indie Hubbardism, one thought at a time
Past is Prologue: From this week in history at alt.religion.scientology
Random Howdy: Your daily dose of the Captain
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