• When it Comes to Domestic Abuse, A&E’s Buccieri Shuns “Zero Tolerance”

    In a year when men in Hollywood were held accountable for harming women, A&E CEO Paul Buccieri is showing just how tone deaf he is by nixing “zero tolerance” from the Disney-owned network’s vocabulary.

    In 2010, Mike Rinder, co-host of Leah Remini’s Aftermath assaulted his former wife, Cathy. Even after surgery and extensive physical therapy, she still lives in pain from the permanent damage her ex-husband did to her arm. Photographs, medical records and an EMT report all confirm that she was injured in the incident. Yet Rinder dismisses it all by attacking his victim, claiming she wasn’t hurt badly as if there is any acceptable level of violence and pain a woman should endure at the hands of a man.

    “It is disgraceful to see A&E supporting my former husband when he has inflicted enough abuse on his family to last a lifetime.”
    Mike Rinder’s abuse:
    See Medical Reports

    A&E along with its corporate parents, Disney and Hearst, have shown they have no “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to domestic abuse. No corporate investigation has taken place about Mike Rinder, something a respectable organization would do. If they had investigated the incident, they would have spoken to the victim. For his part, Buccieri sweeps it under the rug, ignoring witnesses, photos, medical reports and, especially, an impassioned plea from Rinder’s daughter, Taryn. She witnessed the abuse and has posted extensive information on her blog at justice4mom.org in her efforts to ensure her father is held accountable for his domestic violence.

    Here follows a letter from Mike Rinder’s ex-wife, Cathy, to Paul Buccieri, letting him know the truth and asking for that investigation. As she says, “it is disgraceful to see A&E supporting my former husband when he has inflicted enough abuse on his family to last a lifetime.”

    Cathy Bernardini letterhead

    December 17, 2018

    Paul Buccieri

    Dear Mr. Buccieri:

    I write as a private individual about A&E’s television program, “Aftermath.” I am Mike Rinder’s former wife of 32 years and the mother of two of his children. We lived and usually worked together during the entire time he was a member of the Church of Scientology until he abandoned us with no warning.

    I am astounded that A&E provides a forum for my former husband to lie to a national TV audience about his former Church.

    Further, it is disgraceful to see A&E supporting my former husband when he has inflicted enough abuse on his family to last a lifetime. For the past eight years I have been crippled because of Mike’s physical attack on me. My daughter, who witnessed the attack, has written you letters, which you ignore. My injuries are documented. I have witnesses, photographs, medical records. But A&E ignores this and PAYS for my assailant to lie about me and my Church. I cannot fathom how you personally would do such a thing.

    Mike Rinder has never apologized nor attempted to atone for his actions. He simply denies it occurred and, like so many men who engage in domestic violence, he continues to blame me, his victim. Furthermore, he assigns his trolls on the internet to attack me and my daughter personally.

    Mike Rinder and Leah Remini use your network to despicably lie about me, my children and our family, not to mention my religion. He repeatedly pretends for the cameras that my children and I separated from him, even breaking down in fake tears, when the real story is that he walked out on us while he was away in England. He gave us no warning or explanation.

    This has just become a child’s game and you are the one in the middle of it all, fanning the flames of hate for ratings. I am being blamed, yet I am the victim! Are you kidding? Why are you promoting some trumped-up accusations and serving as an outlet for Mike Rinder’s deep hatred of me, our children, his family and our religion?

    Let’s also get something clear from the beginning: I have never met, spoken to, seen, written, emailed, or otherwise had any contact whatsoever in my entire life with Leah Remini. She has no idea who I am and wouldn’t recognize me if I was standing next to her. How is she qualified to give her opinion about me, my life and my children? Why do you allow her to spread calculated lies to disparage me and my children as some “expert?” Answer: Leah Remini is Mike Rinder’s puppet.

    Mike Rinder’s accusations are so far from the truth it is laughable. No one ever laid a hand on Mike Rinder. I slept with Mike Rinder, did his laundry, raised his children and ironed his shirts. If anything happened to him, I would have known about it and seen the evidence.

    I can say with 100% certainty that no one ever laid a hand on Mike Rinder or caused him harm. What he is claiming is pure lies out of sheer vengeance and to make money as an anti-Scientologist. Mike Rinder at no time in 30+ years ever mentioned one word of any such instance that he now claims happened. Nor did he so much as hint that anything did. That’s because it didn’t ever happen and I, more than anyone else, would know.

    Mike Rinder is categorically lying. He is no victim and never was. I knew whenever something physical was going on with him, anything from a headache, aches and pains, even when his contact lenses were bothering him. I knew everything about Mike and his physical state, down to the smallest detail. In all our decades together, Mike never once stated anything even close to what he is now alleging and never alluded to anything happening.

    That’s because it isn’t true.

    I don’t know what Mike is trying to prove. My family and I resigned ourselves years ago to the fact that he left us and wasn’t coming back. He wanted his own life, and so be it. That’s what happened. We chose to get on with our own lives while he chose to remarry and start a new family. As far as we were concerned, he was out of our lives by his own choice and, as a result, we wanted nothing more to do with him.

    Yet through it all his only income came from spreading evil, hate, slander and slimy lies about his own flesh and blood. You are obviously sharing in that money and complicit in his actions by allowing him to smear us while you pretend to be an innocent bystander.

    This is America. I have the right to live my life as I choose. I have a RIGHT to be happy, and practice my religion. So do my children, my family and my friends. Mike Rinder and Leah Remini do not respect an individual’s right to practice their religion. They want to pick and choose what people do. Apparently, you feel the same way since you let them say whatever they want no matter how slanderous or offensive.

    Do you have any sense of morality? I sincerely ask this as it is unreal to me that you are pushing despicable lies invented by a bunch of losers who can’t get a job. They make all their income by being paid by A&E to slander people, slander other religions, slander anything and everything they want. And the individuals who corroborate their lies are part of the same crowd of despicable deadbeats, all obsessed with the Church. Have you no decency?

    Mike attacked me viciously in April 2010. Mike is nearly twice my size. He grabbed my forearms, crossing them over into a vice-like grip. He started pulling my arms so hard I could hear my bones cracking. He had his face right up to me and was screaming unrepeatable obscenities. He had something in his hands and pulled my forearm so hard it ripped a hole in my arm, causing me to bleed. I was screaming for him to stop. My daughter, Taryn, as she has noted to you in her letters, witnessed it all. So did Mike’s brother, Andrew.

    I required surgery to repair my shoulder and sustained permanent damage. My rotator cuff was damaged, my collar bone dislocated. I suffered nerve damage in my arm and not a day goes by that I do not suffer pain as a result. I have medical records and photographs. The EMT report, which Mike helped sanitize and soften, makes clear I suffered injuries because of the encounter.

    All Mike and his minions say is “the police report says nothing” and “she wasn’t hurt that badly,” as if there is a tolerable level of violence a man should be allowed to inflict on a woman. Well I didn’t go to the police—he did, to make a false report to cover his tracks. By allowing Mike Rinder to stay on the air and refusing to investigate this incident brought to A&E’s attention multiple times, I can only conclude that A&E and Disney are among the only companies that do not believe in “zero tolerance” when it comes to domestic abuse.

    Why was I seeing Mike when he attacked me? Because I wanted him to know that in early 2008 our son was diagnosed with a rare form of malignant melanoma and at that time was not expected to live much longer. The next 2 years, my life revolved around handling my son’s cancer while my former husband couldn’t be bothered. My entire attention, all my work and efforts were focused on one thing—saving my son. I did not give a thought to any other aspect of my life at this time, including Mike Rinder, who had by this time made it clear he wasn’t coming back and preferred to be with his new family. I now had to be both mother and father. My son had cancer in his face at only 24 years old.

    After a year of multiple surgeries and weeks of intensive radiation treatment, the cancer was removed. This was a huge relief for my son, my daughter and me. Once recovered from the worst, my son had plastic surgery and follow-up treatments, along with nutritional, spiritual and physical therapy. He is now cancer free, happily married and successful.

    During the time when I knew our son had gone through the worst of it, I felt it was important that my former husband know of our son’s condition. Even if he wasn’t going to come back or help in any way, he should at least know. I still had hope that maybe deep down there was some compassion for another human being, and given that this was Mike’s own son I thought, “of course he is going to care.” I could not bring myself to believe that any father could be so cold.

    The string of subsequent attempts by my ex-husband to discredit me, our children and his family has been relentless. Mike Rinder has just become angrier and more obsessively hateful, including publishing bald-faced lies and false news about us! Yet, when questioned about the matter on live TV in October 2011, Mike openly stated that he deserted us, and I quote: “The last thing that I did…I walked away from my family, knowing I was walking away from my family.”

    In 2011, two years before she passed, Mike’s mother wrote him a letter begging him to reform and change his ways—for her sake. She was devastated concerning her son’s actions and had become completely introverted after recognizing that she had raised—in her words—“an actual monster.” She told me this herself. The emotional upset Mike caused her cannot be expressed in words except for one: cruel. When I spoke to Mike’s mother the day before she passed, she told me she didn’t want to die until she knew her son heard her pleas. It was the only thing she was waiting for, and that wish was never granted. She died with a heavy heart.

    You and your other executives at A&E need to think about the difference between profit and harm. Enough is enough. You are paying and supporting someone who abused his former wife and refuses to even admit it, much less make amends. He physically injured me for life when I was trying to tell him one of the most personal and painful stories a parent could share. He broke his mother’s heart. And yet A&E pays him to lie about my Church while supporting his efforts to attack his own family.

    I hope you read this letter rather than ignore it. I encourage you to have compassion and care and weigh the facts with some degree of ethics involved in the decisions you make. I have not seen any decency from A&E yet, but perhaps you could change that.

    Cathy Bernardini