The Church of Scientology International informed A+E that by hiring Mike Rinder for their reality show, they were providing a platform to a vicious wife beater who makes a living peddling hate. Read the full letter here.
September 9, 2016
c/o UPS Store
10736 Jefferson Blvd
Culver City, CA 90230
Re: Mike Rinder
Dear Mr. Weresow:
Further to our ongoing correspondence, this letter concerns one of your acknowledged sources and Leah Remini producers, Mike Rinder. In your letter of August 3, 2016, you named Rinder as the source of claims concerning stale allegations of violence in the Church of Scientology.
Mike Rinder has been peddling this lie to the media since 2009 after vehemently denying it repeatedly in the press for more than two decades. Indeed, in 1994 testimony Rinder accurately described the shakedown strategy used by anti-Scientologists:
“The tactic is as transparent as it is unconscionable – spread venom in the hope that the victims of the hate campaign will eventually be forced to buy their silence so the Church can get on with its real purpose of expanding the Scientology religion and helping more people.”
Now Mike Rinder has adopted the same playbook he once decried, selling false stories himself about Scientology. In fact, it has become his principal source of income as he consults for $175 an hour as a professional anti-Scientologist with ambulance-chasing attorneys trying to make a buck suing the Church.
Inexplicably, AETV is buying into this tired myth even though at no time in the last seven years has Rinder or anyone else making these claims produced a shred of independent evidence of corroboration. Not a single document, photograph, medical report, cell phone recording, Instagram post or tweet documenting anything they claim happened. No evidence of cuts, scrapes, bruises or even minor scratches. Indeed, nearly a decade ago we called on Mike Rinder and his tiny clique of anti-Scientologists to put up or shut up about these claims. Since then, they have yet to produce a single piece of independent evidence supporting these myths.
The real story is that evidence has never been produced because it doesn’t exist. What does exist are the sworn statements of people with first-hand knowledge of the alleged encounters, all of whom unambiguously refute the manufactured tales of Mike Rinder and the people he has coached to lie.
Mike Rinder has admitted under oath to being paid by the hour by plaintiffs’ attorneys filing frivolous lawsuits against the Church. In one legal case, attorneys adverse to the Church paid Rinder more than $22,000. In a deposition taken on January 6, 2015, Rinder admitted to a moneymaking scheme in which he was recruiting potential plaintiffs for a civil lawsuit against the Church, one of whom was Leah Remini, his co-producer on this series. The potential claim went nowhere because there was no merit to it, as with other cases Rinder has been involved with.
The dismissal of the most recent of these cases, Woodward v. Church of Scientology was recently affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Indeed, Rinder’s track record when his claims are tested in court is one of abysmal failure.
However, Slauson and AETN should disclose to its viewers the financial interests Rinder and Remini have in attacking their former religion, so the viewing audience can judge their objectivity for themselves.
Who is the real Mike Rinder? He’s a former external affairs staffer with the Church gone for nearly a decade. He abandoned his family, shredded his ex-wife’s arm requiring surgery, and engaged in severe malfeasance in the important Church legal case. He was removed from any position of responsibility and ultimately expelled from the Church.
Rinder’s dishonesty and malfeasance caused the Church numerous problems that took years and millions of dollars to correct. Ultimately, the intervention of the ecclesiastical leader was needed to clean up Rinder’s final and greatest mess, resulting in his removal in disgrace in 2002. Years later, he remains bitter and angry for the humiliation he endured as a result and refuses to accept personal responsibility for any of his actions.
In a single moment of candor, after his removal and before his ultimate dismissal from the Church, Rinder wrote about his performance and lack of truthfulness:
Bottom line is that I have had a totally criminal moral code and operated with a totally criminal mind attitude that I have not fully confronted (even down to lying about lying and doing illegal things).
With the justifications I have had in place, telling the truth under certain circumstances was in my universe no different than telling a lie or withholding.
When Rinder’s repeated lying to Church leadership was discovered, it led to his removal from any position of authority more than 12 years ago. Rinder’s was anything but a sudden departure; it was a very long fall from grace arising out of his chronic dishonesty and malfeasance, along with his violent behavior.
Irrefutable proof of Rinder’s lies about the Church were exposed in his January 6, 2015, deposition when Rinder confirmed under oath the truthfulness of his handwritten apology titled “My Honesty,” dated August 21, 2003, in which he stated he was sorry for having repeatedly lied to the leader of the Church:
It is a reflection on my cowardice and lack of integrity that I would do this [lie] and it’s just black and white wrong and a low-tone suppressive trait. I’ve done it many times with you and have always had some justification for it that I then didn’t really confront it for what it is. I finally confronted this for real.
In acknowledging the truth of this apology in his January 6, 2015 deposition, Rinder further stated he “only” lied to the leader of the Church:
Rinder lied to the leader of the religion so often he could not even estimate whether it had been dozens or hundreds of times. It was countless times “even down to ‘lying about lying’ and doing illegal things” as Rinder himself states. Rinder admits he was removed for being dishonest and a blatant liar.
In contrast, in the same deposition, Rinder acknowledged under oath that statements he had made in declarations while in the Church were true:
The statements Rinder acknowledged under oath on January 6 were truthful were made in court filings under penalty of perjury two dozen times over two decades beginning in April 1982 and continuing for twenty years. The statements cover a variety of subjects that directly contradict numerous allegations he now makes:
The Scientology Scripture includes a comprehensive system of ethics that includes moral and ethical codes. The sole purpose of the Scientology system of ethics is to make it possible for auditing and training to occur and to enable Scientologists to apply Scientology technology and doctrine in their daily lives in order to achieve a Clear civilization. The system includes ethical guidelines for both the individual and group. Violation of ethical guidelines may result in loss of church membership and ineligibility to participate in religious services at a Church.”
On January 6, 2015, Rinder confirmed under oath that this was a truthful statement. He also acknowledged newly the following statements to be correct:
While they now rail against Mr. Miscavige and unleash the foulest lies about him their imaginations can concoct, any Scientologist would have thought it totally proper under the circumstances for those people to have been expelled from the Church without a chance for mercy. However, he gave them another chance…
The sheer volume of despicable allegations made about him are intended to create the false impression that where there is smoke there is fire. These ‘witnesses’ know only too well from their experience in the Church that the tactic of telling bigger and bolder lies has been a strategy employed against the Church in litigation for years. Tell enough lies, and make enough allegations, and an impression will be created which accomplishes the end of destroying a reputation no matter how untrue the allegations are. Public figures are especially susceptible to this fraud as any study of history shows. Jesus Christ was crucified based on the false accusations of Judas Iscariot and the prejudice of the Romans.
I know David Miscavige personally. As such I know him to be completely honest, and sincerely dedicated to helping people. For what he has done to expand our religion, he has the respect and admiration of millions of Scientologists. And for this same reason, he has earned the enmity and particular scorn of those with a vendetta against Scientology.
In the last decade, he has personally done more to ensure Scientology is standardly applied and made more widely known and available than any other single individual. After L. Ron Hubbard, the Founder of Scientology, passed away in 1986, the religion entered a new phase. While there will never be another L. Ron Hubbard, his death marked a time of potential disruption and upheaval, and Mr. Miscavige shouldered the responsibility for not only keeping the Scriptures pure, but for guiding our religion into a time of great stability and rapid growth. He never sought personal power or aggrandizement; he was thrust into the position he currently holds precisely because he is so dedicated to helping others through our religion. It is because he has demonstrated time and time again his integrity and selfless willingness to serve for the good of others that he enjoys the support of the staff and parishioners of the Scientology religion [Declaration of Michael Rinder of April 11, 1994.].
Mike Rinder has a sordid and shameful history of domestic abuse and violence. It is a matter of public record that Rinder violently attacked his former wife, Catherine Bernardini, on a public sidewalk in Clearwater, Fla., when she tried to inform him about their son’s life-threatening cancer. Ms. Bernardini, who is less than half Rinder’s size, not only was attacked, Rinder screamed at her and called her a “bitch.” All of this took place in front of their daughter, Taryn, who recently recalled the horrifying scene she witnessed in chilling detail:
“He then grabbed my mom’s arms and I guess there was like a key or something he had in his hand, his car key and he’s grabbing his arm so bad, she’s going, “Auh, auh, auh, stop, Mike stop!” And he gouged her arm but not only that but he actually -- I don’t know exactly technically what he did-- but he pulled her arm out. So now years later every day she’s in pain, every single day. She had surgery and she’ll never have proper function of it…She’s a small woman, she’s pretty frail, like meaning she has small bones and stuff and he was squeezing her and, and she’s going “stop, stop! It’s hurting!”
What Taryn described was Rinder grabbing his ex-wife’s arms while holding his car keys, twisting her arms so forcefully she thought they would break. She compared the popping sound coming from her arm and shoulder as similar to that of toothpicks breaking in half. Photographic evidence and the report of the paramedics called to the scene documented the injuries. In the ensuing years, her shoulder did not heal, requiring surgery. Physical therapy for the injury continues today. According to her doctor, she will be in pain for the rest of her life.
Note that Rinder has never apologized for attacking Ms. Bernardini, nor has he paid a dime to cover her medical costs. As for Leah Remini, she continues to look the other way at an egregious act of domestic violence by a bully against his defenseless former wife.
Documentary evidence supports how Rinder not only abused and harassed his family but also his co-workers. They include:
Rinder knows well the modus operandi of professional anti-Scientologists and seeks to profit from these despicable tactics. Leah Remini’s anti-Scientology rant via AETV is just the latest incarnation.
It starts with an orchestrated media attack involving heinous and outrageous tales, “corroborated” by others who are part of the same group and willing to lie on command. Indeed, back in 1998 while serving as Church spokesman, Rinder explained these tactics to ABC’s 20/20: “They [anti-Scientologists] sat in a room, they figured out what they were going to say, they wrote their bits, they passed them around, they made sure they were consistent. And yes, they were paid for that.”
That’s exactly what Mike Rinder and Leah Remini are doing with AETV.
The Church of Scientology has published extensive material responding to Mike Rinder’s lies told over the seven years he has been selling stories to the media. There is much more to his story that undermines his credibility and exposes his lack of character. You can view it yourself at www.scientologynews.org/MikeRinder.
cc: Ms. Nancy Dubuc, CEO A+E Networks
Mr. Paul Buccieri, President, A&E and History