With her ratings in a free-fall and hitting all-time lows as “Leah fatigue” grows, Leah Remini is even more desperate to prop up her cheap reality TV show.
In her last episode, Remini, unable to come up with a single person who “left” the Church because of her show, invented one who was out of the Church before she even began production. She also let pathological liars Marc and Claire Headley claim a fake victory in a lawsuit that failed so miserably that two courts rejected them as meritless, resulting in the couple being ordered to pay the Church $42,000.
Now, in the middle of Hollywood’s biggest sex harassment and assault scandal ever, Remini is dragging out her go-to shill and unemployed blogger “Backpage” Tony Ortega, who once mocked two brave teenagers after they went public with their story of being brutally raped by a career criminal.
In the middle of Hollywood’s biggest sex harassment and assault scandal ever, Remini is dragging out her go-to shill and unemployed blogger “Backpage” Tony Ortega, who once mocked two brave teenagers after they went public with their story of being brutally raped by a career criminal.
Using his alter ego “Antoine Oman,” Ortega in an August 2002 satire that blew up in his face made the two teenage girls who had been raped and terrorized sound like opportunists out for publicity. Titled “Survive This! The two girls kidnapped and raped in the Antelope Valley are set to go to Hollywood,” the piece for New Times LA falsely claimed a forthcoming NBC series pilot would star a pair of recently abducted and brutally raped teenagers as hosts of their own primetime reality show, which also would feature real-life paroled repeat sex offenders.
To this day, Ortega has never apologized to the victims or their families for making fun of the crime of rape. Even when he was forced to admit it was a hoax after he was outed by The Hollywood Reporter, Ortega invented another fabrication by claiming his alter ego Antoine Oman had been fired. In that smarmy piece, titled “Peacock Tease,” he even devoted space to letting a random reader speculate that the teenage rape victims may have made it up.
As the Daily Cannibal website put it, “Tony Ortega takes two teenagers, already brutally raped by thugs, and editorially sodomizes them by appropriating their identities, putting lies in their mouths, and pimping them as shameless opportunists who would do anything for a buck. Then he writes another fabrication claiming the fictional reporter was fired.”
(Three years later, Ortega would publish another fake story under the fake name “Cesar Oman” for a Kansas City publication. “Let us count the ways in which this is wrong,” wrote the Columbia Journalism Review.)
Then again, this is the same Ortega who shamelessly shilled for the notorious online human trafficking and child prostitution enabler Backpage, which every attorney general in the country has condemned as a cesspool of criminal activity.
This is the same Ortega who shamelessly shilled for the notorious online human trafficking and child prostitution enabler Backpage, which every attorney general in the country has condemned as a cesspool of criminal activity.
At the time, Ortega was kissing up to his corporate bosses while editor of the Village Voice because Backpage was their cash cow. The self-proclaimed “journalist” went so far as to attack a female reporter at CNN after her investigative report exposed the operation, accusing the network of “junk science” and “mass paranoia,” while criticizing the broadcast as a “sensationalistic piece” that was “manipulative” and part of “a semireligious crusade.”
In Ortega’s view, his bosses “were smart enough to start Backpage.com” and anti-human trafficking activists were trying to “put us out of business.”
But here is what Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote of this “smart” business decision in a piece titled, “Where Pimps Peddle their Goods”: “Behind the tens of thousands of Backpage ads investigated by law enforcement, there are victims with stories much like ‘Alissa,’ who over a two-year period ‘was sold to johns seven days a week, 365 days a year,’ was transferred like chattel from pimp to pimp for roughly $10,000 per transaction, and had her jaw and ribs broken when she tried to escape.”
Adding to the criticism was Marty Rathbun, former “guru” to Remini. Wrote Rathbun: “The Village Voice was converted into a human trafficking criminal enterprise. Tony Ortega lived off the money of sex trafficking, much of it from minors, for almost six years. This is not gossip, and I am not the first to mention it. It is in a Senate investigation report. It has been written about by media watchdog sites… and [he] finally turned on the victims trafficked there and worked to dehumanize them by calling them ‘underage prostitutes,’ not children, which they were. There is no such thing as an ‘underaged prostitute.’ Minors who are forced into sexual slavery are not ‘underage prostitutes.’ He tried to poison people against his victims! CHILDREN.”
To this day Ortega has never addressed why he aggressively shilled for a website that serves as a magnet for human trafficking and the exploiting of young girls. Nor has he ever condemned his former bosses, who currently face criminal charges in California.
To this day Ortega has never addressed why he aggressively shilled for a website that serves as a magnet for human trafficking and the exploiting of young girls.
Ortega became a chronically unemployed blogger after he was kicked out of The Village Voice after turning his position as editor into a full-time anti-Scientology hate campaign. During a roughly 16-month period, he boasted of writing 465 anti-Scientology stories for the Voice. When he was forced out, one publication quoted a colleague as saying that Ortega’s anti-Scientology obsession “was destroying the Voice brand.”
What all this really shows is the hypocrisy of both Remini and especially her chief enabler, A&E chief Nancy Dubuc. Dubuc was quick to distance herself from her longtime “Project Runway” business partner Harvey Weinstein when the Hollywood sexual assault scandal broke. But Dubuc is more than happy to feature on Remini’s show Ortega, who made fun of two brave teenage rape victims and shilled for a child sex trafficking site, while continuing to employ as a “producer” Mike Rinder, who savagely beat his former wife so severely that she will never regain full use of her arm.
Dubuc was quick to distance herself from her longtime “Project Runway” business partner Harvey Weinstein when the Hollywood sexual assault scandal broke. But Dubuc is more than happy to feature on Remini’s show Ortega, who made fun of two brave teenage rape victims and shilled for a child sex trafficking site, while continuing to employ as a “producer” Mike Rinder, who savagely beat his former wife.
Joining Ortega in Remini’s pathetic efforts to get ratings are two individuals, Quailynn McDaniel and Fred Oxaal. Like virtually every one of Remini’s subjects, they are still bitter at having been kicked out of the Church for their inability to uphold its ethical standards.
Quailynn McDaniel was expelled from the Church in September 2015. In years prior to the expulsion, she had engaged in sexual misconduct—including threesomes and strip clubs—as well as heavy drinking and drugs.
There was a time when McDaniel was on track to leading a happy, ethical life with her family. She opened a Church of Scientology Mission in Tampa.
But she became obsessed with status, looking to promote herself while shunning the required religious work. Her license to run the Tampa Mission was pulled. Soon after, it was discovered she violated numerous ethical and moral codes. That’s when she became a regular source of gossip for “Backpage” pimp Ortega, betraying her friends who had trusted her.
Fred Oxaal worked as a fundraiser for the Concerned Businessmen’s Association of America (CBAA) in the late 1980s and up until November 1995. That’s more than two decades ago. Then again, Remini has always had to go back decades to dig up unreliable sources that by her own admission she doesn’t vet because A&E’s attorneys are happy to let her get away with it.
Remini has always had to go back decades to dig up unreliable sources that by her own admission she doesn’t vet because A&E’s attorneys are happy to let her get away with it.
CBAA was founded in 1983 by Barbara Ayash, who wanted to provide a moral education program for school children to build leadership skills that they would carry into adulthood. It created a “Set A Good Example” campaign which used The Way to Happiness in school competitions that gave young people the opportunity to work together on constructive projects in their communities. Popular in schools across the country, the program received hundreds of awards and recognitions from mayors, governors, congressmen and senators. Surveys conducted in schools using The Way to Happiness found that 85 percent of the teachers noticed positive changes in their students.
Most of the people involved in the program were volunteers. Oxaal was fairly compensated for his fundraising work, but was always demanding more money. One day he decided he would try to get Ms. Ayash kicked out of the organization she founded so he could take over. He was thwarted because she was the inspiration for the campaign and did all the work. If anyone was going to leave, he was told, it would be him. He left after his ill-fated power play to take over the organization.
As it turns out, Oxaal, according to associates who worked with him, had a history of financial misconduct, notably with unauthorized expenditures. When others tried to get him to be honest, he denied there was any problem.
In 2012, Oxaal strayed from the Church, admitting to Church staff that he had been drinking heavily and smoking marijuana. His financial troubles mounted, leading to bankruptcy.
Now Oxaal’s using his sales skills to peddle lies on Remini’s reality TV show just like the rest of her “unvetted” sources.
In recent years, he became involved with anti-Scientologists and joined up with his old friends—two more of Remini’s unvetted sources—Mary and David Kahn. He has moved up from selling rugs to selling cars in New Hampshire. Now Oxaal’s using his sales skills to peddle lies on Remini’s reality TV show just like the rest of her “unvetted” sources.