Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Follow up to yesterday's celeb post.

I got a little freaked out today upon receiving this email today from a faithful reader. I asked his permission to post it and he gave me the OK.


Poker and Scientology

Hola Iggy,

First off, I enjoyed playing in the Charlie tourney yesterday, even though Wil Wheaton finished one place ahead of me (my king was outkicked so I went out in 23rd). Blogger tourneys are the best, and since cancer has had a major impact on my family, I was thankful for the support everybody gave to Charlie's family.

Your roundup of Scientology related matters today was great. I know this sounds odd, but keep an eye out for any weirdness related to that group. You have a widely read blog and excessive negativity toward them might get you labeled as an S.P. (suppressive person).

You may or not realize that prominent celebrity poker players Chris Masterson, Danny Masterson, Mimi Rogers and Laura Prepon are also Scientologists (other than Prepon, they are all lifelong members of the CoS). Danny and Chris "donated" their winnings on Celebrity Poker Showdown to a Scientology front charity called the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights (dedicated to exposing abusive practices by the psychiatric community).

Anyway, I am definitely not a crackpot; I was first exposed to the CoS by my first employer, a framer who gave copies of Dianetics away to his customers. The guy was a creep, but he led me to research Scientology in depth. I live in LA, so I went to
the main CoS recruitment center on Hollywood Blvd. and talked to them. I also
noticed the streets of Hollywood swarming with Naval officers, who I later
discovered belonged to the CoS Seaorg.

I read a hard to find book by L. Ron Hubbard Jr. called "L.Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman?" which detailed in great depth what a whackjob he was. The worst experience with the "Church" I had was when I interviewed for a job at Atkinson-Baker Court
Reporting Service. As I walked around, I noticed that Scientology-related
paintings were everywhere. When I did the interview, they told me they were not
Scientology-owned but that they did "subscribe" to the business methods created by Hubbard (they had bookshelves full of his Business manuals). They gave me an "IQ" test (similar to the one I took at the Scientology Center) and grilled me about the Psychology courses I had taken in college.

It turns out that the owners belong to the "Church's" W.I.S.E program and are another shell company of the CoS. CoS files more lawsuits than any other organization in the world and guess who they use for their depositions and court proceedings. You guessed it. These guys cover all the bases.

Trust me, the things this group has done and are capable of doing to their enemies is beyond amazing.

Ultimately, I like you and would hate to see some overzealous CoS minion come after you because of what you've written on your blog. Believe me, if you make an enemy of them, you need to sleep with one eye open.

Sorry if this freaks you out, but if you spend any time on Operation Clambake, you'll
find a ton of info related to this issue. I have no idea what the Cincinnati organization is like, but here in LA, we can't get away from them. They filmed "War of the Worlds" in my town (Piru, CA) and Cruise had a Scientologist hospitality tent set up for everybody involved in the shoot.

The guy is virtually 2nd in command in that church, as he is best friends with church leader David Miscavige. Now that he has shed his non-CoS advisors, he is really going off the deep end. As you've seen with Michael Jackson, when you have more money and power than God, your followers don't tend to include anyone who is inclined to do any critical thinking about your behavior.

Anyway, I just wanted to give you a head's up, but thanks again for spreading the word.


Yikes and thanks!

Per Tom and Katie, you know things are fishy when AdAge decides to write about it.

In Wake of PR Switch, Star's Behavior Raises Questions
July 18, 2005

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Tom Cruise once had a PR strategy as carefully
arranged as the incisors in that famous grin. Now that he's given
himself a media-relations makeover, both Hollywood and one of its
biggest stars are going to find out whether there's still reason to

More than a year after parting with a longtime adviser who largely
kept him under wraps even as his box office soared, Mr. Cruise's
public persona has emerged -- and it's a doozy. The gossip
publications have feasted on a series of appearances where he's
emerged as a bizarre cross between a giddy schoolboy in love and a
mystic with a strong anti-psychiatric bent. But it's doubtful that
anyone concerned with the film industry's already precarious state is

He is, after all, about the closest thing that Hollywood has to a sure
bet these days. A Cruise film is just about guaranteed to gross at
least $100 million and Forbes has him as the 10th most powerful
celebrity in the world. He's arguably the most bankable star in the
movie business -- a position he achieved through a nearly flawless
choice of projects but also a careful publicity strategy where editors
and reporters' access to him was doled out in exchange for promises of
fawning cover stories and even input in choice of photographs.

A publicity glasnost
That's exactly why this publicity glasnost, which has opened the door
to a gag-inducing minute-by-minute chronicle of his courtship of
actress Katie Holmes and verbal sparring with the likes of Matt Lauer
and Brooke Shields, seems like such risky business.

So why is he pulling such a maverick move now?

For one thing, the world of celebrity news has morphed into a 24-7
frenzy so cluttered that even the nightclub antics and dietary
adventures of B- and C-list celebs will get some ink. Before TomKat
was born, for instance, Mr. Cruise had never graced the cover of Us
Weekly, a publication that recently pictured Sarah Jessica Parker
buying paper towels and Matthew McConaughey playing Frisbee. Since then, he's been
there twice.

'Interesting, for better or worse'
"It takes a lot to trump the celebrity news out there," said Janice
Min, the magazine's editor. "More and more of these old-school stars,
who did not grow up in the Us Weekly world, are realizing that they
can use the US Weekly world to their advantage. ... He's made himself
incredibly interesting again for better or worse."

Then there's the fact that his publicity is now managed by his older
sister, Lee Anne DeVette, who, like Mr. Cruise, is a Scientologist.

Pat Kingsley, who managed Mr. Cruise's publicity for 14 years until he
dismissed her last year, declined to speculate about his current PR
strategy but she suggested that the belief that she withheld him from
the press is wrongheaded.

"When we worked together, it was in a very organized way that it was
my responsibility to organize the interviews he did -- and he did do
quite a few interviews, by the way. People think my job was to say
'No.' My job was to organize and he always trusted us in organizing
the campaigns around his films. We were at one with that."

She said the strategy of negotiating covers and selection of photos
was in keeping with the nature of negotiations. "It's a two-way
street. They always had their conditions, too: being first or the only
one that month. You have to meet their conditions as well as meeting
your conditions. I took it as far as I could go [to get] what I
wanted. Both sides pushed the envelope."

A 'strong interview'
Asked what she thought of Mr. Cruise's recent Today Show interview
with Matt Lauer, where he accused the anchor of being "glib,"
she said: "I thought it was a very strong interview. I don't want to
go any further than that."

A spokesman at his talent agency, Creative Artists Agency, declined to
comment. Mr. Cruise himself couldn't be reached.

More skeptical observers caution that while there is the risk of
long-term damage to the Cruise brand, it will take an awful lot of
spotty behavior to undo the massive amount of goodwill he's built up
over the years.

"There's a school of thought that it's always good to be discussed,
but the recent coverage was so negative," said Mark Lisanti, editor of
Defamer.com. "Someone who's as big and famous as he is, it's hard to
tell whether people will forget."

"It does get a little risky when the coverage diverts from his craft
and into personal stuff," said Sean Cassidy, president of Dan Klores
Communications. "You begin to obscure who he is and what he does."

And what he does is surround himself with enough talent that the
reason to go see a Tom Cruise movie is rarely only Tom Cruise, said
Brandon Gray, president and publisher of Box Office Mojo, a Web site
for box-office data. "Because he picks such strong projects, there is
insulation against any tabloid antics that might happen," Mr. Gray

Movie box-office magic
It appears that Mr. Cruise's coming out hasn't hurt him in the short
run. His new film, the Steven Spielberg-directed War of the Worlds,
has been successful and principal photography for his next, the third
Mission: Impossible is proceeding, despite some concern that the
negative publicity and a renegotiation of Mr. Cruise's deal would
derail it. With a July 4 weekend performance of $77 million, War of
the Worlds was the biggest opening of his career.

But it remains to be seen how that brand holds up in the long run,
especially if there are many more awkward moments like the attack on

"That kind of thing can't be good for somebody's brand," said Mr.
Lisanti. "He's certainly not going to get an endorsement deal with

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Information on this site is intended for news and entertainment purposes only.

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