The downward spiral of tabloid blogger Tony Ortega: Sex trafficking, anti-religious lies, and plenty of burnt videotapes [Part Two]

Tony Ortega, anti-religious tabloid gossip blogger. Would you honestly buy a used car from this man?

Tony Ortega, anti-religious tabloid gossip blogger. Would you honestly buy a used car from this man?

For background information on Tony Ortega, please visit The Cooked Story (especially the article entitled “A Man of Secrets”), “Atheists or Religious Haters?“, and The Daily Cannibal. Please note that the information on these websites may be upsetting to some—the true facts that bigots like Tony Ortega, Mike Rinder, Marty Rathbun, et al work so desperately to hide about themselves are nothing short of sickening and repulsive. The content on this page may be offensive to some. As such, discretion is strongly advised.

This is Part Two of a series of articles covering the anti-religious extremism and hypocrisy of tabloid blogger Tony Ortega. If you haven’t already, please read Part One.


This article is a rather long and exhaustive examination, so for those whose attention span is ridiculously short, the tl;dr summary follows (which will still be too long for most of Tony Ortega’s hardcore fanatics, but this isn’t for them anyway):

Tony Ortega, former editor-in-chief of The Village Voice and Voice Media Group (formerly New Times Media and Village Voice Media) are complicit in the sex and human trafficking of children and women through Backpage.com, established in 2004 as an alternative to Craigslist.

Tony Ortega and former chief Voice Media Group executives (and current majority shareholders of Backpage, which now exists as a legally separate entity from VMG interests) Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin knew of the illegal activities and transactions — including, but not limited to sex and human trafficking — that have been conducted on Backpage since its founding in 2004 and which continue to the present day in violation of state, federal and international laws, as well as constituting a gross violation of basic human rights, decency and dignity.

Tony Ortega, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin have never admitted guilt or complicity and have continually denied that sex and human trafficking was ever being conducted on Backpage.

Tony Ortega, for his part, has persistently argued that allegations of sex and human trafficking on Backpage were and are baseless and simply the result of “mass panics” on the part of overzealous “political activists.” He denounces accusations of sex and human trafficking as a “national fantasy” and has attempted to link them to the moral panic among many Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians in the 1980s regarding allegations of Satanic ritual abuse, which were found by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to be imaginary.

It is unconscionable and unspeakably offensive for Tony Ortega to attempt to discredit actual cases of sex and human trafficking by claiming these are the products of delusional children, women and political activists with an overactive imagination and attempting to link trafficking to the “Satanic panic” of the 1980s.

That Tony Ortega is a sex and human trafficking denialist is an established fact and he has himself admitted in his own words that he denies the existence of such trafficking. The same holds true of Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, who have similarly denied the reality of sex and human trafficking.

As such, Tony Ortega, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin are nothing short of criminals and psychopaths. They have no credibility whatsoever, and even worse, they lack even the most fundamental and basic aspects of human decency: compassion, mercy and the ability to tell the simple truth under oath.


On his tabloid gossip blog, The Underground Bunker, Tony Ortega — who has a bizarrely surreal habit of referring to himself in the plural, even though he is the sole author of his blog posts (e.g. we rather than simply I like a normal, sane human writer) — often laments that actual media outlets and professional journalists ignore his blog posts or that their coverage of Scientology contradicts his own claims and allegations about Scientology. He has never once admitted that the reason for this is that he is simply not a credible nor legitimate “journalist” and actual professionals really don’t care what he has to write or say. But careful now, because if you call him out on his asinine ranting on his blog comments section, you might very well find yourself permanently banned from ever posting there again.

It gets even more absurd. Over the years since Tony Ortega began obsessively blogging about Scientology in 2008, there have been a few brave souls who actually dared to question the veracity of certain claims and allegations based entirely on hearsay or “anonymous insider sources” (like his drinking buddies over at the National Enquirer and Weekly World News, his paramount source of anti-Scientology gossip) that he would post to his blog and present as if it were all completely sourced and verifiably factual. Those who did dare venture to do so would soon find their comments mysteriously deleted, usually without even a hint of an explanation.

In those early, heady days of his anti-Scientology blogging, Ortega relied on a low-paid IT staffer over at The Village Voice to commit these blatant acts of censorship, because he has no technical expertise whatsoever and even today, relies entirely on his virtually unpaid personal attorney, Scott Pilutik, who does his work for Ortega out of atheist, anti-religious solidarity and comradeship. They may not have much money, but all things considered, at least they do have each other, though apparently their New Atheist idols Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris have been laughing all the way to bank for years now, with Dawkins reportedly worth at least $135 million USD and Harris — who is often credited with having launched the movement — having certainly made more than a pretty penny with his semifictional doom and gloom narratives. Ortega simply doesn’t have the same kind of cult following to sustain a viable career in anti-Scientology preaching and what is frustrating him to the point of insanity is that he’ll never reach those same lofty heights of financial success. The same also holds true for others in his gang who have been trying in vain for years to turn out some kind of profit from their anti-Scientology “careers,” including his cult partners Mark “Marty” Rathbun, Mike Rinder, Marc Headley, Amy Scobee, Karen de la Carriere, Jeffrey Augustine, Garry Scarrf (whose bizarre association with the Jonestown tragedy still raises questions), Donald Myers (the infamous Angry Gay Pope, a borderline sex offender who gets his jollies harassing Scientologist children on their way to school) and once in a blue moon, Jason Beghe and Paul Haggis, who tend to throw this gang of jokers a few bucks here and there. [Some may note that a few key names are missing from this list, but I have my reasons for not lumping certain other figures in with these characters. Unlike the anti-Scientologist extremists, I don’t paint everyone with the same brush, no matter how opposed to Scientology they all are.]

According to sources I spoke to at Publishers Weekly, sales figures for anti-Scientology literature have been consistently disappointing from the start, with the only possible exceptions being Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman and Going Clear by Lawrence Wright, both of which miserably failed to sell out on their first printing. One need only pay a visit to large discount booksellers like Powells, Half-Price Books or The Strand to find dozens of brand new copies of these books just sitting there catch dust on shelves and in musty backrooms. My source at Publishers Weekly told me in the starkest possible terms, “Books critical of Scientology just don’t sell very well, and that’s been true for years. The popular interest just isn’t there.”

I sincerely cannot blame Tony Ortega for being frustrated with the predicament he found himself in at The Village Voice in 2008. Living in New York City — in the heart of Manhattan, no less — having to manage a once venerable and respected force in progressive politics and activism that could barely stay afloat while at the same time trying to balance his books and figure out how to pay his rent on time,  pay for groceries without having to apply for food stamps, and as if all that weren’t enough, figure out a way to divorce his Indonesian Muslim  wife, who he was cheating on with an atheist Israeli woman named Arielle Silverstein, whose anti-Muslim and anti-Arab prejudice and racism would not allow Ortega to maintain the facade of his marriage until at least he could find some breathing room to sort out the mess that his life had become.

The Village Voice itself had been rapidly declining under its new owners, the Phoenix-based New Times Media, who had purchased it in 2005, along with several other major alternative weeklies across the country, which sparked an outcry among many long-time readers, in particular due to New Times Media‘s ownership of Backpage, an ill-conceived alternative to Craigslist, but lacking any semblance of oversight, nor even the slightest shred of decency, compassion, and humanity. I could present you hundreds of links to nearly countless pages, petitions and articles with information about just how deep the rabbit hole goes when it comes to New Times Media tacit involvement in sex and human trafficking, such as the following listed below, but as if all this wasn’t enough to make you sick to your stomach, wait until the quote that comes after this long and exhaustive list:

I remember the last couple of mass panics. Do you? 

There was the daycare scare of the 1980s, when we were told that child molesters had infiltrated childcare centers across the country. From the beginning of the panic, with the infamous McMartin Preschool trial (which ended in zero convictions), it should have been obvious that there was something hard to believe about the media reports of this nationwide crime epidemic.

Toddlers who had been hypnotized reported that they were being flown to Mexico to be sexually abused, killed, eaten, and then magically restored before Mom and Dad could pick them up (that is actual testimony from one particularly incredible trial that did, in fact, send a Texas couple to prison).

Gripped by mass fear, it took the public some time to wake up from that fever dream. About the same time, America was hyperventilating over another nonexistent threat: satanic cults that, experts swore, were sacrificing thousands of victims across America.

Remember that one? I’m sure Geraldo Rivera does.

We’ve panicked in other ways since those days, but if we tended to see terrorists everywhere after 9/11, at least there was vivid evidence that we had become a target.

But even that threat is fading. Our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are receding fast from public consciousness. Our economy is gradually crawling back. Crime remains at record lows. A new presidential campaign is only in its earliest stages.

What’s there to panic about today?

A small group of political activists is quite ready to provide the answer. In the second decade of the 21st century, we are being told that there’s a widespread, growing, and out-of-control problem to fear in our country. And it has a catchy name: “trafficking.”

In cities across America, we are told over and over, like a mantra, that “100,000 to 300,000” underage sex slaves have been stashed away from public view, with more joining them every day. It’s a problem growing so quickly that the United States soon will be no better than Moldova or Nepal in regard to child sex trafficking. Why go to the Third World looking for this nightmare when our cities and suburbs are bursting with children in bondage?

Feel that panic in your chest? Must have been what Geraldo experienced. Now, step back and take a deep breath.

—Tony Ortega, Editor-in-Chief, The Village Voice July 6 2011 / CNN’s Amber Lyon Ambushed Craigslist — But She Won’t Talk To The Village Voice

Yes, dear readers, that was Tony Ortega’s response to all of the hundreds upon hundreds, if not thousands of cases worldwide of pimps, madams, brothels, drug cartels, gangs, and other assorted scum of the earth who have all been convicted in numerous courts of law for sex and human trafficking, including child prostitution. Is this the behavior and attitude of a person that you can sincerely trust? And this was the response he presented to the media even after he had been presented with overwhelming evidence in the form of court documents, witness testimony, photographs, videotapes, and digital media conclusively proving that Backpage was guilty as sin and that as New Times Media‘s pointman and corporate enforcer from the very outset in the early 2000s, he was — alongside chief executives Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin — complicit in the sex slavery and forced prostitution of countless children and women around the world.

Ironically, a little over a year later, in spite of his ironclad loyalty to his bosses in Phoenix, Tony Ortega was ordered to resign his position as editor-in-chief of The Village Voice effective September 2012, under terms that he has chosen, to this very day, not to disclose. Not even to those twenty or thirty devoted cult followers of his daily anti-Scientology blog.

The official story given to the media by The Voice and himself was that he was leaving of his own accord in order to spend all of his free time writing a book about how much he hates Scientology and wealthy, successful Scientologists.

The unofficial story that was whispered around the hallowed halls of The Voice was that Ortega was being unceremoniously canned for spending too much time blogging about Scientology and not enough time doing what his Phoenix bosses demanded him to do.

But, what of the real story, or more accurately, the raw story? Tony Ortega’s bosses in Phoenix were shredding and burning all the evidence implicating them in this global scandal that had spiraled so out of control that they were once again at risk to go to prison, perhaps this time for the rest of their pathetic and miserable lives. Tony Ortega was promised that as long as he kept his mouth shut, he’d be rewarded with an executive assignment as chief editor at a far “more lucrative and prestigious” rag than the “lowly” Voice. After a few months, to his mounting horror, he discovered that this so-called “lucrative and prestigious” rag wasn’t even a real rag, but an online news website called The Raw Story. Far from being anything remotely close to “lucrative” or “prestigious,” The Raw Story is essentially the liberal tabloid opinion counterpart to something like The Daily Caller or Breitbart, only worse.

To this day, Tony Ortega refuses to answer any questions about his sordid and disgusting history with New Times Media, later renamed Village Voice Media in a vain and unsuccessful attempt to wish away the seemingly neverending story of Backpage sex trafficking. When that didn’t work, they renamed it again, this time to Voice Media Group, which also — big surprise — didn’t have any effect in convincing anyone that it wasn’t the same company anymore or that they had repented and changed their ways. A journalist from one of the nation’s most respected papers once quietly related over a round of drinks at an ancient pub near Wall Street, that after one of the senior executives of Voice Media Group became fed up and incensed at her persistent questioning regarding his company’s complicity in the global trade of sex and child trafficking, he bursted out at her in a violent and racist rage, using extreme and derogatory epithets highly offensive to those of Mexican and Latino background and screaming a name that has since been etched into her mind permanently: Tony Ortega.

Will Tony Ortega ever step forward and come clean with the raw story? Not likely. On his blog, or the couple of web-based message boards that his cult followers generally control, forget it. If there’s one thing Tony Ortega has no tolerance for whatsoever, it’s dissent in the ranks. If you want to be part of the Ortega/Rathbun/Rinder cult and allowed to post comments on their blogs and forums, you absolutely cannot, under any circumstances, question them, their motives, their actions, or anything at all that could potentially put them on the stop and actually tell the truth. It simply is not done. It cannot be done. Thus far, all who have tried have gotten themselves permanently banned from their blogs and forums. Several veteran anti-Scientology critics, who’ve been doing what they’ve been doing for many, many years longer than Ortega, ended up getting themselves in such hot water with these three, that those who actually observed the proceedings were blown out of their minds that Ortega, Rathbun, and Rinder could behave so outrageously, especially to fellow anti-Scientologists!

Tony Ortega’s cultish fans can deny it all they want, but the man is no different than Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder, both of whom have deliberately cultivated a cult following in an attempt to present an “alternative” to the Church of Scientology. It sounds completely and totally absurd and ridiculous, but anyone with an ounce of honesty would come to same exact conclusion if they did their research and observed the various insanities of the Ortega/Rathbun/Rinder cult.

As an example of how ridiculously absurd things have become and to what excesses his fanatics are capable of, just this past January, a few days after New Years Day, one of his most devoted cult followers had a mental collapse that the dozen or so hardcore Ortega fanatics were witness to and involved her making criminal threats against his personal attorney and blog webmaster, Scott Pilutik. It all began with this seemingly innocuous comment by Ortega:

Tony Ortega cult meltdown #1

This was followed by a lot of mutual backslapping and heaping gratuitous piles of worship and praise all over Tony Ortega. Obviously, they were all very much in high spirits in anticipation and excitement at the announcement of his new book, which turned out not to actually be about Scientology, as he had been claiming all along, but a biography about Paulette Cooper, the first tabloid writer to attempt to smear the Church of Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard with baseless and unsubstantiated lies and vitriol, all in a little pocket paperback — the kind usually sold in corner stores and next to the Weekly World News in supermarket checkout lines — entitled The Scandal of Scientology. So, everyone was happy and all was fine in the land of Scientology-haters. Until … oh, dear, what have we here?

Tony Ortega cult meltdown #2

Oh, okay. A minor glitch in WordPress or the theme that Scott happened to be using (or a combination of both, as often happens) messed things up and he ended up doing something that “ruined the Monday surprise.” He doesn’t actually give any details as to the nature of this alleged “ruin”, whether that meant he posted the announcement of the release date prematurely or something else. Whatever it happened to be, whatever the reason may have been, it obviously wasn’t all that big of a deal. After all, we’re not talking about life and death here. Or are we?

Tony Ortega cult meltdown #3

Uh … wait a minute! What the hell?! Are you @$#& serious?

Tony Ortega cult meltdown #4

That’s all you’re going to write in response, Tony?! For #@$% sake, she just told the poor guy — your dear friend and humble manservant of many, many years — to go “cut his fingers off” because it would be “harder to type with stumps”! Alas, the Dictator of The Underground Bunker remains absolutely silent. But, she’s not done yet. Oh, dear Lord, no.

Tony Ortega cult meltdown #5

Are we having fun yet? I sure as hell am not. Honestly, and in all sincerity, I find this “Barbara Angel” character to be hopelessly disgusting and in all likelihood, completely out of her mind, or what remnants of a “mind” she may have left after all the years of smoking heaven knows what and hell no, I wouldn’t “want some” even if someone put a gun to my head.

I captured the whole ridiculous exchange for posterity, in case Ortega or Pilutik decide to purge the whole thread of comments, as they are so apt to do in spite of being “anti-censorship.” I guess the rules only apply to everyone except Tony Ortega. I won’t provide any links to Ortega’s site, but anyone competent with a search engine can easily find it in a few minutes, but I wouldn’t recommend it. For those who don’t want to go through the trouble, yet remain morbidly curious as to how the rest of this pathetic melodrama plays out, if I get enough requests I’ll put all this on a separate page. But, as I’ve written, it’s beyond stupid. As the saying goes, stupid is as stupid does and as certain as there is a heaven above, you are the company you keep.

The most curious — and telling — aspect of this unfortunate incident is that Ortega did not only not give “Barbara Angel” a firm rebuke, he didn’t even ban her. Not even temporarily. Any civilized blog, forum or message board would have permanently banned her for such a violent outburst of that sort. People have filed lawsuits against each other over less, and as the law has demonstrated time and time again, all over the world, that what you put out on the Internet, even private data “hidden” from public view, can and often will have serious repercussions in the “offline” world — in other words, there is no legal distinction between the abstract immaterial universe of cyberspace and that of the objective material universe of sense perception. I use the somewhat outdated and anachronistic term cyberspace because it not only is inclusive of the Internet as a whole, but also all other abstract immaterial forms of communication and transmission, such as telephony, radio, light, and all other forms of optics and waves.

Conversely, when someone posts something that sends Ortega into a blazing rage of madness, such as a question about his private life, or how his Israeli girlfriend is doing, or what happened to his Indonesian wife, that unfortunate soul is permanently banned and excommunicated for life, immediately and without question nor qualification. It has gotten so bad that the core fanatics — whether of Ortega, Rathbun or Rinder — actually censor themselves. It’s like in the days when there was only “the love that dare not speak its name” — except in this instance, we have “the [insert whatever question or comment that angers Ortega/Rathbun/Rinder enough to get you banned for life] that dare not speak its name.” You certainly won’t see anyone discussing this website, and I can promise you that even if Ortega/Rathbun/Rinder allow open and honest discussion and debate, absolutely no comment would be tolerated that could be interpreted as being “positive” or constructive in any fashion — in other words, if they do happen to allow comments about Answering Scientology Critics, you would only be allowed to do so as long as you royally dump on its author and call for the infidel to be beheaded.

And once you’re out of Ortega’s good graces, you’re out for life. The man holds a grudge like someone holed up in an underground bunker during the last days of a dying regime. Even the mere hint of such a question in his presence is enough to get you on his permanent blacklist, making you persona non grata in his tiny inner circle of dunces that gathers two or three nights a week at the back of a dingy dive bar in Midtown Manhattan, in the deepest, dankest bowels of Hell’s Kitchen no less — one of the rare few that can still legitimately claim the lofty title of being a true, honest-to-goodness dive, a label so coveted by the hipster doofuses of Williamsburg — where they drink themselves into a stupor, complaining endlessly why Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are so filthy rich and why they are condemned to an eternity of poverty.

If this sick and surreal saga is sounding more and more like something out of a badly pretentious and hardboiled detective novel from a long lost and forgotten era, then I have successfully conveyed to you, dear reader, the bleak misery and despair that wreaks havoc upon Tony Ortega’s mind and conscience, keeping him awake at night with his cats in a tiny apartment that smells like a zoo, with a girlfriend that snores at a volume that even the neighbors next door can hear and screams indecipherable vitriol in her sleep — in Hebrew.

We are all the products of the realities we make for ourselves. There is no escaping the inevitability of justice, not for any criminal on the face of this earth, and most especially not for those like Tony Ortega and his accomplices who deny their crimes against humanity.

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Tony Ortega, anti-religious tabloid writer, covers up his own ineptitude by prying into the private lives of innocents [Part One]

Tony Ortega and his live-in girlfriend, Arielle Silverstein, an anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian racist UN staffer

Tony Ortega and his live-in girlfriend, Arielle Silverstein, a racist anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian Israeli UN staffer.

For background information on Tony Ortega, please visit The Cooked Story (especially this article, entitled “A Man of Secrets”), “Atheists or Religious Haters?”, and The Daily Cannibal. Please note that the information on these websites may be upsetting to some—the true facts that bigots like Tony Ortega, Mike Rinder, Marty Rathbun, et al work so desperately to hide about themselves are nothing short of sickening and repulsive. The content on this page may be offensive to some. As such, discretion is strongly advised.

This is Part One of a series of articles covering the anti-religious extremism and hypocrisy of tabloid blogger Tony Ortega. This series continues with Part Two.

Tony Ortega is a freelance tabloid writer who has obsessively blogged about the Church of Scientology and its parishioners on a daily basis since 2008 when he still had a semi-legitimate job as the editor of The Village Voice. For those unfamiliar with Ortega and the comedy of errors that is his life, here is some basic info from a website that Ortega took legal action to get shut down.

Therein lies the irony. You see, Tony Ortega promotes himself as a man of the people, as someone who has sacrificed his money, health and well-being in fighting to destroy the Church of Scientology, and who has no secrets to hide. He has continually harassed, vilified and threatened Scientologists of all ages and from all walks of life, including children, going so far as to post personal and private details that he and his comrades dug up through dumpster diving and social engineering. He and his unemployed lawyer buddy Scott Pilutik have clearly watched Hackers one too many times. Fortunately for their victims, Ortega and his stooges aren’t very good at trying to emulate Eric Corley and the analog misfits of 2600 magazine.

Lately, Tony Ortega has become obsessed with Robert “Bob” Duggan, a veteran Scientologist who also happens to be a billionaire and one of the most successful investors and venture capitalists on Wall Street of the 2000s and 2010s. He’s the kind of amiable and high tone person who just about everyone likes, and not simply because of his vast wealth, but also his generous support for social betterment programs. But of course, with such enormous success there are going to be those vocal few who, out of jealousy and spite, will go to great lengths to attempt to tear down those hardworking souls who actually got somewhere in life, unlike themselves. They’re pathetic, and everybody knows it.

Tony Ortega, Scott Pilutik and their friends are exactly such pathetic individuals. Before Duggan, Pilutik and his radical atheist friend David Touretzky, were particularly obsessed with trying, for many years, to tear down Bryan Zwan and Sky Dayton. Obviously, they didn’t get very far at all with that, so in recent years they’ve focused their crosshairs on other wealthy and successful Scientologists.

[As an aside, it seems as though every anti-Scientologist bigot I encounter happens to be a pro-Zionist, anti-Arab, anti-Muslim agitator. I’ve long known about the close ties between anti-Muslim bigots with their anti-Scientology counterparts, but while most of the anti-Muslim crowd are ultraconservative Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christians and Religious Zionists, with a smattering of “New Atheists” like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Geert Wilders and Bill Maher, the anti-Scientology scene is overwhelmingly atheist. Misery loves company, right?]

Enter Bob Duggan. In 2012, Tony Ortega was fired from The Village Voice for his obsessive daily blogging about Scientology and Scientologists.Publicly, he claimed this was false and that he “resigned” in order to devote all his time to writing an anti-Scientology book—as if their weren’t enough out there already, all of them regurgitating the same old tired allegations that have been spread over the past thirty years and which have all been continually proven to be false. The book, as it turned out, was not actually about Scientology, but rather about the bizarre case of Paulette Cooper, a mentally unstable tabloid writer from the 1970s who claimed to have been harassed by rogue Scientologists. That Ortega idolizes Cooper is no secret, considering they’re both cut from the same cloth and have never been able to establish legitimate careers in journalism, having both been relegated to the tabloid ghetto. One need look no further than to Paulette Cooper’s output over the years to see exactly what kind of writer she is, what with such brilliant masterpieces as The 100 Top Psychics in America, 277 Secrets Your Cat Wants You to Know, 277 Secrets Your Dog Wants You to Know, and my all-time personal favorite, 277 Secrets Your Snake and Lizard Wants. Wow. “Brilliant journalist,” indeed, eh? I’m truly surprised The New York Times or New Yorker never banged down her door at the prospect of hiring such a paragon of journalistic virtue and integrity.

All jokes and snark aside, at the end of the day Paulette Cooper is simply a mentally unstable woman who was the victim of psychiatric malpractice. Instead of suing the psychiatrists who were responsible for her mental breakdown, she has spent the last forty years of her life blaming Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard for all her mental and emotional issues she claims she has been suffering from daily. To their credit, the Church of Scientology chooses to ignore her, acknowledging that she is one of the countless  unfortunates who was abused and tortured by psychiatric malpractice.

For Ortega, however, the book has turned out to be a catastrophic nightmare, and an utter disappointment to his two or three dozen fans who constitute his cult following—yes, you read that right. The man who continually accuses Scientology of being a cult is himself the leader of his own cult of personality, just like his best friends, Mike Rinder and Marty Rathbun, both of whom have bilked their few dozen supporters out of tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, to cultivate their very own narcissistic cults.

To compensate for these monumental failures, and to save face, Tony Ortega took the advice of Scott Pilutik and decided to begin trashing Bob Duggan on his anti-Scientology blog. Apparently, his new job as executive editor of The Raw Story is purely symbolic and doesn’t actually pay much at all, certainly nowhere near enough to pay the rent on his horribly shoddy rent controlled apartment in New York City that his racist Israeli girlfriend, Arielle Silverstein, pays for with the income she derives working as a low-level staffer at the United Nations, though as of this writing I’m not sure if the UN has bothered to keep her as an employee in light of her militant anti-Arab and anti-Muslim canvassing online.

Last year, after realizing that his attempts at trying to ruin Bob Duggan’s career wasn’t getting anywhere and his abject failure in attempting to derail the rapid and unprecedented growth of Pharmacyclics, Tony Ortega decided to target Duggan’s family and children, a miserably low blow, too low in fact for most of the old school anti-Scientologist agitators like Mark Bunker and the late Bob Minton, the latter of whom recanted his anti-Scientology antagonism before his untimely passing in 2010. Again, to their credit, the Church accepted Minton’s apology unconditionally and even removed all their rebuttal articles that were written over the years in response to Minton’s false accusations. Mark Bunker, a cameraman that had been working for Minton since the late 1990s, while never having recanted his anti-Scientology positions, has significantly toned down his rhetoric and to his credit, has not been shy in criticizing the tactics of the more extreme variety of anti-Scientology bigots and avoiding their excesses. See his on-camera encounter with Scientologist Billy Sheehan, for example. [Please note, as a word of caution, that due to content that is highly offensive and upsetting to Scientologists, I do not recommend viewing this video if you are a Church parishioner. I strongly advise Scientologists to consult with their local Church concerning these matters rather than viewing offensive material on the Internet.]

To summarize that encounter for those reading, Mark Bunker, for the most part, attempts to be at least somewhat respectful toward Billy Sheehan and does not attempt to antagonize him, unlike his incessantly annoying tag along friend, Tory Christman (née Bezazian), an ex-Scientologist who almost overnight went from being a generally nice and diplomatic Scientologist to one of the most extreme anti-Scientology agitators in the scene. I personally have met and know her husband, Harold Bezazian, a wonderful human being and one of the most congenial and entertaining personalities I have had the pleasure of knowing, and out of respect for him I will say nothing more on that issue. For those who aren’t Church parishioners, I recommend taking a look at the following video from Mark Bunker, as well as this one, both from the late 1990s, just before Tory Christman decided to ditch her husband for the anti-Scientology wasteland. Even anti-Scientology haters have noted the extreme change in personality in Tory since leaving the Church, and they have admitted it has not been for the better. If Tory is reading this, I’d like to remind her that the path to reconciliation with the Church of Scientology and those Scientologists she has personally harmed, such as her husband, is never closed, and even if you do not wish to return to practicing Scientology, which no one would expect, you can, like your friend Bob Minton, seek to put the past behind you and make your peace with Scientology. As L. Ron Hubbard himself said and wrote many times, the door to Scientology is never closed to anyone, not even its worst enemies. For some inexplicable reason, I’m reminded of this classic song by Depeche Mode.

It is important to note that while Tony Ortega goes to great lengths to deliberately expose private information of lay Scientology parishioners such as Bob Duggan, Ortega goes to even greater lengths in protecting his own privacy. There are virtually no sources available on Ortega’s personal life, except the few small fragments of information he has revealed in a very few interviews. Virtually nothing is known of private life, and for the most part he has been very successful in keeping these details out of any public records, which is why in interviews, he zealously guards his privacy and refuses to answer most questions about his personal life. The few times some of his cultic followers have asked him about such questions, he has permanently banned them from both his Village Voice blog and his personal blog, called The Underground Bunker. It is well known among his inner circle that any questions about his Israeli girlfriend, Arielle Silverstein, will get you automatically kicked out his social circle, which explains why he has no social life whatsoever outside the anti-Scientology cottage industry, and he apparently, when not blogging about anti-Scientology tabloid fodder or going on a futile book signing “tour” to plug his Paulette Cooper book, spends all of his free time with his girlfriend and their cats. I’m not trying to be overtly critical or anything, as we’re all entitled the right to live however which way we want. It’s a free world, after all. But it smacks of great hypocrisy when one goes to such extreme lengths in protecting their own privacy, but has no qualms about invading the private lives of others like the East German Stasi and revealing this information for public consumption. Like I’ve written earlier, not even most of the veteran anti-Scientologists like Bunker have ever (as far as I know) stooped so low.

Case in point, back around 2013 and 2014, an anonymous anti-Scientology WordPress.com blog claiming to be written by renegade Sea Org members employed at the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International popped up with highly offensive and sensationalistic tabloid gossip. So offensive was this blog that many in the anti-Scientology scene, particularly among disaffected and former Scientologists, expressed great hostility and aversion to its content. It was, however, unabashedly supportive of Tony Ortega and his extremist tactics, and employed a similar tabloid gossip and innuendo content style. But when the anonymous bloggers mentioned certain details about Ortega’s personal life and some of his legal troubles, he threw a massive temper tantrum and banned anyone on his blog from ever mentioning the existence of the blog. In fact, he went so far as to variously accuse veteran anti-Scientologists like Frederic Rice, Garry Scarff, Donald Myers (more commonly known as the infamous Angry Gay Pope), and God knows who else. Based on my own extensive research and contacts, none of these parties was guilty of being responsible for that blog, covertly or otherwise. Yet, without any shred of evidence, and in spite of the fact that none of these characters had ever said or done anything against him, Tony Ortega went on such a rampage that shocked and appalled enough people in his inner circle to tell him to keep calm and back off.

Keep Calm and Back Off

A few words of advice for temper tantrum throwing Tony Ortega from his fellow anti-Scientology extremists. Whether he actually took the advice to heart is a different matter entirely.

In fact,  based on what I’ve been to uncover, and believe me I put more than enough hours trying to unravel this mystery, the anonymous renegade Celebrity Centre bloggers are an unknown quantity, meaning no one has ever discovered who exactly they were, and while a few in the Church were certainly aware of their ridiculous anti-Scientology shenanigans and stupidity, they were never identified. That said, it is almost totally certain they were not active Sea Org members, and were possibly disaffected staff members or ex-Scientologists trying, quite in vain, to take out their own personal insecurities and failures on the Church and its parishioners, not unlike Tony Ortega and his unmerry band of miscreants.

What I do know for a fact is that—and the irony behind this is amazing and goes to show that truth is indeed infinitely stranger than fiction—they did reveal a number of leads that Tony Ortega acted upon and blogged about, all without giving any credit whatsoever to his anonymous blogger friends, instead claiming that the information was revealed to him by “anonymous sources within the Church,” a lie so egregiously lame and untrue that I don’t even know where to begin in dissecting all the falsities in such claims. There are no “insider sources”—there never have been and there never will be. It makes no sense whatsoever for a Scientologist who hates the Church or its management to remain a parishioner in good standing, and there are so many checks and balances in place within the Church that its virtually impossible for anyone harboring anti-Scientology sentiments to remain part of the fold without at least a few people discovering this fact. The management technology of L. Ron Hubbard is highly precise and accurate, and when applied properly within any kind of organization, whether religious or secular (such as a private business or a government institution), it is simply not possible for some sort of internal “fifth column” or renegade clique of “insider sources” to exist. This is precisely why tabloid journalists and bored college students have never been able to “infiltrate” the Church of Scientology or any of its affiliated organizations.

The few leads that get did get from these anonymous bloggers, while they were apparently active, included the sale of a certain house in Los Feliz owned by the family of L. Ron Hubbard, prerelease information of the Golden Age of Technology Phase II (which was ridiculously inaccurate and the further claims made since about GAT II by Ortega, Rinder, and Rathbun are wildly false and any active Scientologist can attest to that—they are seriously out of their depth  and have no idea what they’re talking about), some false and libelous claims about Milton Katselas (who, in point of fact, was a Scientologist in good standing to the very end), various claims about Keith Relkin (an openly gay Scientologist who passed a few years ago and also remained a member in good standing, contrary to claims made by Ortega and his gang of mental incompetents—I personally knew Keith and can attest to his high moral character, enormous generosity, kindness and being all around great guy who is very much missed and was always, to the end, very highly respected by every Scientologist who knew him), and a smattering of claims and innuendo about various Scientologist celebrities that were utterly false, but which Ortega blogged about as factual, again refusing to name his alleged “inside sources.” The fact was that his so-called “insider sources” were none other than the same people who started that ridiculously stupid and offensive blog, which they claimed to have started because Ortega wasn’t posting enough of their wild nonsense.

This mutually parasitic relationship between Ortega and the anonymous bloggers, from what I’ve uncovered, goes back to at least 2011 and they were personally connected to a number of since disaffected Scientologists who were parishioners of Celebrity Centre International, most especially Tiziano Lugli and his wife Jamie Sorrentini, Jason Beghe, Karla Zamudio, and some weird guy who was best friends with Marc Headley whose name and details I don’t have on hand at the moment, and who was most likely the main author of the blog, and I have no doubt that Headley himself may have been directing the whole thing as revenge for a failed lawsuit against the Church. There are probably a few other people that were closely connected to this anti-Scientology “rogues gallery”, but those are the only individuals I’ve been able to confirm as having had a definite connection, and this has been determined based on various details that the anonymous bloggers revealed about themselves, their writing styles, and certain details about the very few fragments of factual information that was uncovered hidden within the mass of tabloid gibberish and smears. That these disaffected Scientologists would commit such crimes against their former friends is a testament to their lack of personal integrity and moral compass.

This is the sort of tabloid garbage that Tony Ortega deals in. L. Ron Hubbard referred to such antisocial personalities as “merchants of chaos” and he everything he writes about such characters harboring evil intentions against others has always proven spot-on and one hundred percent accurate. For those readers who have no familiarity with Scientology technology, there is actually are some great courses you can do for free online, such as The Cause of Suppression and How to Resolve Conflicts which deal exactly how to deal with this kind of tabloid smear campaigns and attempts to ruin a person’s reputation. For those who are willing to ignore the lies of the mass media and actually check out the Church of Scientology in person, there are a number of Life Improvement Courses which go into further detail about dealing with antisocial personalities and those trying to destroy your career and reputation, including Overcoming Ups and Downs in Life, Personal Values and Integrity, and Knowing Who You Can Trust. If you have ever been a victim of an Internet smear campaign and don’t have the time or funds to handle such suppression, you will definitely want to look into these Life Improvement Courses and they don’t cost very much at all, somewhere between $30 and $50 depending on what country you live in. If you find walking into a Church of Scientology too intimidating (!)  or don’t want to shell out the cash (hey, I understand, it’s a tough economy out there), the previously mentioned free online courses are the next best thing.

In Part Two of this series, which will be forthcoming, I’ll continue where I’ve left off and go into a point-by-point rebuttal of Tony Ortega’s tabloid lies and dissect every aspect of his borderline illegal intrusions into the private lives of Church of Scientology parishioners.

And Tony Ortega, if you’re reading this, I just want you to know and understand that not only am I calling you out on your anti-Scientology smear campaigns, I’m never gonna give you up.

This series continues with Part Two: The downward spiral of tabloid blogger Tony Ortega: Sex trafficking, anti-religious lies, and plenty of burnt videotapes.