I’ve been writing about the problems with Tony Ortega since he blamed a mother for her daughter’s suicide, and then later had a psychologist publicly psychoanalyze her without knowing her. I left Scientology because of that kind of emotionally manipulative and cruel tribalism. I didn’t shut up about it with regard to Scientology, and I have not shut up about it in Anti-Scientology.
Aaron Smith Levin delivered an extremely eloquent rant about his thoughts on Ortega, too, which must be highlighted out of concern for all ex-Scientologists, and to warn other journalists, as well.
As Jane Doe 3 in the Danny Masterson Trial tweeted the night after days of her grueling testimony last month:
Danny Masterson’s Defense Attorney Tries to Destroy the Credibility of Devastating Witness Testimony, Using Tony Ortega
“So you said that on direct examination, someone asked your husband – because she was at this party with her husband. Someone asked your husband if he wanted to go to this other party? And she goes, Yes. And you were with your husband and you were also with your two stepdaughters?”
‘And she goes “Well, my stepdaughters weren’t there at the time that he was asking him to go to this other party.”
…And he goes, “Do you recall who invited your husband to go to the other wrap party?”
‘And she said, “No, I don’t recall.”
[Then Philip Cohen asked:] “Didn’t you tell Tony Ortega that it was in fact, Gerard Butler, who invited you up to his suite for the after party?”
“And she goes, “No, absolutely not. I never said that.”
“I highlighted that. Because now we’re getting into other territory. It’s one thing to publish an article about a conversation that was had, I’m gonna say, in confidence. If you don’t know that the conversation you’re having is going to be made public then I would say the conversation was had confidence. It’s one thing to publish a conversation that you had in confidence. It’s another thing to either misquote. Or misstate what was said, knowing that this person could be a witness testifying in a criminal trial.”
“Now, to be fair, somebody could say well, maybe Tony got it right and as a witness who got it wrong. That argument can be made and I don’t know which one is the right answer.’
‘But now, now we’re into a second level of problems. Just the first level being publishing something without consent. And the second level being now there’s a conflict between the witness who’s testifying on the stand in a criminal trial. And the journalist who published an article about this witness’s experience without consent, and who happens to be sitting right there in the courtroom.”
‘This is going to become a big deal in a few minutes.
“Cohen is again, continuing cross examination with Kathleen. questioning her about details, where her testimony is conflicting with what has already been reported by Tony Ortega.”
‘And again, you know, for those of you who’ve been following the coverage of this case, we’ve covered over and over and over again, how statements, particularly by victims of sexual assault can evolve over time, not in a way that is necessarily contradictory, but in a way that changes.
‘Details are recovered. Points, points where at the beginning, someone’s only speculating as to possibilities, those memories become more clear. And then you have a clear answer, whereas before maybe you were speculating as to a number of answers. All of these things are of course coming into play.
“And this phone conversation that Kathleen had with Tony Ortega, only like six months ago, and these details are being published. And because they’re being published and put out into the press, now Kathleen is having to answer up for any inconsistencies and how does Kathleen know if these are actual changes to what she’s saying? Or if Tony is just getting it wrong? Who knows? I don’t know.
… “Okay, let’s see here. Let’s see here. Okay. I will take this moment to address something that’s come up. And I try to stay away from the drama as much as possible, but it’s reared its head in this trial and I’m going to comment on people many times asked me “You seem to have a beef with Tony Ortega. What’s the deal?”
Aaron Smith-Levin: “My Beef With Tony Ortega Runs Long and It Runs Deep”
“My beef with Tony Ortega runs long and it runs deep. But part of the many things I could point to have to do with exactly what Kathleen is saying occurred. A private conversation occurred because the person had no idea they were talking to someone who’s going to publish this information. And Tony Ortega has done that to so many people who are close and important to me.
‘I’m not going to name the people because in the past one I have they’ve said look, I don’t need that. Please. Please don’t. Please don’t mention my name. I don’t I don’t need I don’t need the harassment. I don’t need Tony asking me to come in now like, you know, comment on it.
Tony Ortega Refuses To Take the Article Down When Kathleen J Asked Him To
So Kathleen said there was a point in the trial, where this was on redirect, where she was asked, “Did the article that was published have anything to do with your decision to go to the police? And she said, Yeah, and she was asked, “Well, why? And she said, “Well, I asked Tony to take the article down and he wouldn’t so I figured what else do I have to lose at this point, the information is already out there.’
‘And so I figured if the information is already out there, I might as well go to the police.’
‘And I can promise you that Tony Ortega is going to frame this as a victory for justice. Look what I did was great because it gave Kathleen the courage to go to the police. That’s not what occurred at all. Kathleen was exploited and her trust was abused. And when she asked for her privacy to be respected, that request was denied. And so then she decided to go to the police.
‘I can tell you that. I’m sure Tony’s argument would be Hey, ‘I’m a journalist. I got the scoop.’
‘Yep, you are a journalist. You did get the scoop. But in so many of these cases, this person that never would have even spoken to you if they thought you were just a journalist getting the scoop. So many people in my community of former Scientologists have confided in Tony in confience because they don’t think he’s just a journalist.
Tony Ortega is not Friends With Mike Rinder and Leah Remini
They think he’s Leah Remini’s BFF, which he’s not. They think he’s Mike Rinder’s BFF, which he’s not. They think he’s a trusted member of the community, which he’s not.
‘He’s a journalist who’s out for the scoop and to make a name for himself. And for a very long time, if somebody wanted information public, Tony Ortega was pretty much the only one you could go to and we don’t know who had a platform who would write anything about Scientology and that had value. I mean, it has value.
‘But so many people in my community that I care about have been exploited and abused by this process and then basically told ‘you are wonderful. Everybody loved it.’
Aaron Smith-Levin Says SPTV is an Alternative To Tony Ortega’s Exploitation
‘This is one of the benefits of the phenomenon of of SP TV. Okay. There is no longer a need for someone who’s never been a Scientologist. Someone who pretends to care about the community as long as it serves them. There’s no longer a need for that person to be the conduit, the confidant, the person to go to, if somebody wants to talk about something.
‘And to be clear, many of these people whose confidence was used and abused, they weren’t talking to Tony because he was a journalist. They were talking to talking to him because they thought he was a friend. And then he does the one day and goes I’m just a journalist. I’ve got the scoop.
‘Well, the people who run SP TV channels don’t care about the scoop. They don’t care about being the first one to report something you’ll notice. I’ll do stories about I mean, I’ll do videos about subjects that have already been discussed on other videos about other reports. No one cares about getting the scoop on SP TV. We care about sharing the truth about Scientology. Telling people’s stories. You would never see someone on SP TV publishing something out of confidence.
Lisa Marie Presley Was Also Exploited By Tony Ortega
‘By the way, this is what happened with Lisa Marie Presley. Okay.
Tony Ortega did not get an interview with Lisa Marie Presley. Tony Ortega had a private phone call with Lisa Marie Presley that he secretly recorded. Okay. He did not have an interview that he kept confident that he kept hidden for eight years. I know this is I speak from firsthand knowledge of this.’
‘Tony Ortega did not have an interview with Lisa Marie Presley before she died. Anything Lisa Marie Presley told to Tony Ortega she told him the confidence of a private phone call that she did not know was being secretly recorded. Then when Lisa Marie Presley died and Tony started calling this thing an interview and was going to publish it in Rolling Stone – and then they didn’t publish it. To my understanding it’s because they found out this was not an interview. It was a secretly recorded private phone call.
‘Tony Ortega records all the private phone calls that he has with former Scientologists and if he ever gets the inkling that you might be talking to someone else, or you might be giving the real scoop to a real journalist, he’s going to publish your information without your consent. It has happened time and time and time again.
‘Okay. So you know, someone might say, ‘hey, look, he’s on our side, you know, stop, stop talking shit.’
Guys. I care more about the members of my close knit community than I care about a so called journalist who’s only out to get the scoop and make a name for himself. It’s why I’m here at this trial. It’s why I’m here at this trial.’
‘Okay. So anyway, I won’t be any more long winded about that as I need to be. My goal is not drama. This is not drama that I’m talking about. This is abuse. And I have a position to be able to say something about it. I have a position to be able to let anyone on the way out of Scientology, you know.’
Aaron Tells Every Ex-Scientologist That The Aftermath Foundation Helps: ‘Don’t Talk To Tony Ortega’
And this is why every single person in the Aftermath Foundation helps to leave Scientology gets a piece of advice from me. And that advice is don’t talk to Tony Ortega.
‘And the reason I tell them that has now become evident in the fucking Danny Masterson criminal trial, where one of the victims of Danny Masterson has revealed that Tony Ortega published her entire story without her consent and without her permission, and Tony is going to act like he did everyone a public service because then she went to the police.”
“That’s Tony Ortega.”
This post was transcribed from Aaron’s Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWpayC82oX4