Mike Rinder’s blog post of February 8, 2024 defending himself against the growing awareness by his former fans that he hasn’t been who he has been pretending to be for a very long time.
See my comments in bold.
It’s Never a Bad Day for a Good Smear
February 8, 2024 By Mike Rinder 12 Comments
I want to address an important matter circulating in the former scientologist community for the last few weeks concerning a criminal investigation into child sexual abuse allegations against the father of Mirriam Francis.
I will lay out the timeline and associated evidence in this blog post.
First, I want to be clear: I don’t want anyone attacking Mirriam or anyone else on my behalf. What Mirriam has been through in her life, mainly due to scientology, is something no person should ever have to face.
For those seeking the actual facts, this blog post contains all the information and associated documentation.
Continuing to disseminate lies after reading this post will reveal a lack of interest in the truth, confirming an agenda unrelated to advocating for victims or exposing the crimes of scientology.
So if we don’t believe you, or if we find out you’re lying again, then we are to be considered an enemy to those, like you, who are “advocating for victims”.
You mean like your victims, Mike?
Just to name two.
As much as I don’t want to engage in a public dialogue on this matter, the subject at hand is much too serious not to address. One can’t publicly accuse another of covering up criminal conduct — which is an accusation of participating in that conduct — and not open themselves up to a public response.
Mirriam has made allegations about me which are not true.
I am also publishing this because I don’t want unsuspecting people to get caught up in this matter without accurate information.
Mike Rinder – trusted provider of “accurate information”.
As I have mentioned many times in the past, both in interviews, on Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, and in my book, I have spent the last 15 years pushing to expose scientology’s abuses not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because I feel it is my responsibility after spending many years serving in the leadership of an organization that destroyed people’s lives. I also feel responsible for bringing two children into scientology, my daughter Taryn and my son Benjamin. I had much easier and more lucrative options in my post-scientology life; I have chosen this path because I felt it was my duty.
A new Mike Rinder Scientology pronoun: “An Organization”: Mike Rinder’s Scientology Pronouns: “They, Them, An Organization”
Many of your victims are still flapping in the wind, Mike.
You should not be trying to distract anyone off of them any more.
A Short History of Scientology Smears
Can we see a LONG history of your smears, as well?
On Gerry Armstrong
Robert Vaughn Young
A Rabbit Out of David Miscavige’s Hat
Since I escaped from Scientology, I have rarely had to deal with efforts to undermine my credibility by people who are also fighting against scientology, especially people who have suffered due to its abuses.
Unfortunately, that changed in the last few months.
These “truth tellers” have used and manipulated good people, supporters of our fight, who want to help end the criminal behavior of scientology.
Over the past seven years, Leah and I have found ourselves increasingly dealing with disputes between personalities within the group of former scientologists, rather than focusing on the mission of ending the abuses and holding its leadership accountable. Based on my experience, it seems that some, perhaps based on their scientology indoctrination, believe they need an enemy to fight. Who that enemy is doesn’t matter. Even people on the same side.
There it is again – the dead agent caper: They couldn’t have a legitimate issue – it’s only their “Scientology indoctrination of believing they need an enemy to fight”.
Never listen to my critics, they’re “indoctrinated”
Motivating people in this environment is pretty easy to do, especially if they are led to believe that attacking me and “The Aftermath” Foundation is the same as attacking scientology.
With the introduction of YouTube into the world of former scientologists, activism took on a new dimension, not only to tell the truth, but also a space where false narratives can be presented as truth. YouTube is equally an excellent resource for news, information and entertainment and a platform ripe to elevate the most sensational and provocative content, even though it may not be rooted in truth. Add to that the ability to easily monetize videos, and one can end up with content filled with half-truths, mistruths, and outright lies. Sensational framing is designed to get clicks and generate revenue.
The new wave of attacks began when Aaron Smith-Levin was asked to remove himself from the board of The Aftermath Foundation. He originally agreed to do so voluntarily, but when the agreed upon date came he refused to go.
I considered Aaron a friend (Christie, Claire and Marc did as well). Our families were close; our children played, and we vacationed together. We were concerned when we asked Aaron to step down that our friendships would survive. There are plenty of examples in the non-scientology world of people making such difficult decisions, yet finding a way to move forward, in our case with the ultimate goals in mind: maintaining relationships we claim are important to us and staying focused on helping those leaving scientology with the assistance of The Aftermath Foundation.
Because someone isn’t on the board doesn’t mean their work can’t continue, especially when Aaron had lamented that he cared so much for those reaching to the foundation for help.
Sadly, Aaron made it clear that if he didn’t have a title and position on the foundation board, he would not continue to support it. And without a title, he would not be our friend. On a personal level, this scorched earth strategy hurt us deeply.
I am not going to speak on behalf of the other members of The Aftermath Foundation board, but I will speak for myself. I reacted in an unprofessional way to his first video announcing that he was no longer affiliated with the Foundation in which he falsely claimed his removal was a sinister and covert campaign to destroy his character and eliminate him from the foundation he had helped found.
I wish I hadn’t responded from an emotional place, but I did. I was hurt by the misrepresentation surrounding his justified removal (he had agreed to voluntarily step down for reasons he knows).
I should have reacted unemotionally, without any comment at all.
I am not perfect; I have and will in the future, make mistakes.
I want to apologize for my comment about “keyboard warriors.” My intention was misunderstood, and I take responsibility for that. I should have been sensitive to the fact that it could have been seen by those supporting us as being directed at them. This comment was not directed at anyone who supports those doing the work to hold scientology accountable. It was directed at those who took the opportunity in the wake of Aaron’s video to send me many messages and comments that ranged from Miscavige-like vulgar name-calling to the hate-filled “I hope you die” or “you deserve cancer.”
Read Robert Vaughn Young, a legendary critic of Scientology, who was dying of prostate cancer when Rinder harassed him and attacked him, and forced him into court in an attempt to destroy him utterly: An Open Letter to Mike Rinder
Some believe that Aaron was asked to step down without cause; they are free to believe that, and I will likely never change their minds. Board members of foundations resign or are voted out daily without fanfare or drama. And in this case, we are talking about a voluntary, unpaid, non-profit board; Aaron was not removed from a six-figure job and left destitute.
It was no big deal, y’all.
Aaron was just butt-hurt by the way we did it.
It was no big deal.
This new vector of attack appears to come from those fighting against scientology’s abuses. The people spreading the smears are not OSA agents. Unfortunately, the result of their actions is something OSA has only dreamt about and is gleefully enjoying. The anti-scientology abuse community has been split into factions – it is the ancient strategy that Hubbard advocated in many OSA directives: “Divide and conquer.”
And which you have employed on all my friends, both while you were in and since you’ve “gotten out.”
I’m sorry – “escaped”.
The new iteration of smears was ushered in by anonymous YouTuber Alex The Rabbit – apparently realizing that anything scientology related results in clicks for her channel. Her interest has nothing to do with Mirriam’s actual case, which deserves far more than sensationalism. It’s not possible to respond to the numerous people who believe they are owed answers to crafted, hypothetical questions and bad faith demands to prove a negative. “You are lying when you say you were not involved,” or “It’s impossible there is no document.” Then as the first Rabbit video is discussed by others in subsequent videos, the buzz grows, and more well-intentioned people get caught up in the frenzy. Eventually these sensationalized allegations become “fact.”
Rabbit couldn’t have a legitimate and genuine desire to see justice for one of Scientology’s (your) victims
Rabbit is just motivated by “clicks”.
What about “likes”, Mike? They’re awesome too.
In this instance, the smear campaign is driven by the lie that I (along with The Aftermath Foundation and the Leah Remini: Scientology and The Aftermath show production team) are unwilling to help Mirriam.
To be clear from the start, no one has ever told Mirriam that the document she claims was withheld from her was ever in our possession or that it was privileged or confidential.
And let me repeat something I have said many times before. One of the broad false allegations is that I am currently withholding evidence of wrongdoing that I allegedly committed while I was in scientology because I fear being prosecuted. I have been questioned/interviewed by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies on numerous occasions over the past 15 years and have admitted to anything I knew or did, even if it meant incriminating myself. In fact, I have spent literally hundreds of hours answering questions and providing documents, briefings and assistance to law enforcement agencies around the United States and worldwide.
I have never refused to answer any of their questions.
I don’t believe a word you say about your talks with the feds.
I have no reason to. You have never written what you told them on your blog, made an episode about it on Scientology and the Aftermath, done an episode about it on your “Fair Game Podcast”, nor on your more recent “Mike & Lili” Youtube videos.
I don’t believe a word you say.
I have done everything I possibly could to persuade law enforcement to prosecute scientology.
The usual response from the FBI and DOJ is that they need “more recent information” because of problems with the statute of limitations — even when I have brought them witnesses and documents just a year or two old, which I have done numerous times over the last decade. I escaped scientology in 2007 after being in The Hole and off OSA lines for several years before that. That is more than 20 years ago.
This is Rinder’s perennial shore story of plausible deniability.
Mirriam documented that Rinder ran OSA during the ever-shifting dates you claimed to be in “the Hole”.
There was also a new claim that the “recently released OSA documents” were somehow proof of my involvement in crimes, for which I was desperately trying to evade prosecution. All of those “OSA documents” were on my thumb drive when I escaped. I gave them to the FBI in the first meeting I had with them in 2010, a fact I have testified to under oath (that testimony was filed again a week ago in Leah Remini’s civil case).
I appreciate that many of those who claim to be experts on what I knew, or more often what I should have known, what they think I covered up and am still covering up were once in the Sea Org. However, none of them were ever in any positions of significant authority in upper management and were not involved with external affairs. Only a handful of them have ever met David Miscavige, let alone worked directly for him. They really have no basis for the assumptions and conclusions they draw, though they try to sound as though they do.
Yes, I was the head of OSA at various times over a long period . But that does not equate to knowing every heinous and illegal act going on in scientology. That would be impossible. What I do know is how scientology follows exact procedures and policies dictated by Hubbard. Those polices are unchanging. I detail in my book and in various other places what my role was – while I always had the job of spokesperson for major media regardless of my position, I also held many other posts including Chief Officer CMO International, ED Int Project Ops, RPFer, LRH Personal PR Officer International, CO CMO International, Book Editor and denizen of The Hole. When I was actually on post as the head of OSA, my primary function was to deal with matters that had come to the attention of Miscavige. For example, I spent several years in Clearwater doing nothing but handling the Lisa McPherson criminal and civil cases. During that time nobody from OSA was allowed to “distract” me with anything unrelated to the McPherson cases.
No one has claimed you knew every “heinous and illegal act”. They have made specific claims about what you knew:
For instance, the idea that you never knew about the Danny Masterson “flap” until you were working with Leah is a lie which you yourself provided the evidence for.
And as I had already explained to Mirriam (and law enforcement in her case), the details of her molestation was not something I had been aware of until she told her story for The Aftermath show.
Was I involved in Fair Game operations of which I am not proud when I was a scientology executive? Absolutely. As I mentioned at the outset of this blog post, I have spent the last 15 years trying to atone for what I was involved in.
No you haven’t. You could undue the legal bind you put Gerry Armstrong in right now by telling the truth of what you did to his attorney and other information you could provide him.
Don;t you think your 44 years of fair game on Gerry Armstrong is enough, Mike?
Provide him the information he needs to clear his legal problems.
The Mirriam Francis Claims
Let’s look at what happened with Mirriam.
We featured her story on an episode of “The Aftermath ” in 2017.
We were so incensed by what she told us that, with her approval, we contacted the LAPD and arranged for two detectives to come to the location where we were shooting. We shut down the production to brief them and for her to be interviewed.
This is an excerpt from the police report – the full document can be found at this link: LA PD Mirriam Francis Report (you will see the same detective we originally contacted is still on the case today).
Subsequent to the filming of the episode, I heard little or nothing from Mirriam other than occasional pleasantries until she emailed me on 28 August 2023:
I was very pleased to hear Mirriam might finally receive justice and reached out to A&E and “The Aftermath” production company immediately and arranged for a password-protected link to be created to the episode, which I forwarded to Mirriam and the Australian police detective the following day:
I received a reply from Det. McGarry in which he asked me if it would be possible to locate a document that is mentioned in the episode:
This is the card Det McGarry was referring to that appeared in the episode:
I then set about trying to locate this affidavit. I spoke to Leah and she was trying to also find it. I contacted the production company several times, as well as A&E and individuals who had worked on the program (they were freelancers, not employed by the production company). I was told by everyone I contacted that they did not have this document and didn’t think anyone had ever had a copy, that it might not have ever been in their possession.
Bullshit: a legal document that supported the claims made on the show against Scientology GOES MISSING?
Sorry Mike. This is extremely likely to be yet another lie of yours.
In the latter half of the year, various medical and other matters occurred, and unfortunately, further follow-up on this document was not something I was focused on.
On December 10, Mirriam wrote, stating that she found it “odd” that nobody could find such an important document and that it had been “misplaced.”
The following day, I responded by saying I was now in direct contact with the attorney who had represented the production company with respect to this show, but that the recollection from the executive at the production company after searching all their files was that the affidavit in question had never been given to them, only that its alleged existence was relayed verbally by scientology attorneys.
Then why don’t you and Leah sue the Scientology attorneys to get it from them for Mirriam?
Surely you made enough money on her episode, capitalizing on her pain, to afford this suit – even with the costs of her plane flight from Australia.
Rachel is the executive at the production company for the show (IPC).
Mirriam nudged me again on 23 December, and I informed her I would contact the attorney again after Christmas to see if he had yet had the chance to find and search his backfiles. I had asked him to do this as a favor for me — he is not my attorney and would not be compensated for this work. I subsequently reached out to him after Christmas and informed Mirriam that I had received am auto-message back from him that he would be out of the office until the New Year.
I told her I would follow up then.
It should also be understood that neither Leah nor I have access to anything related to “The Aftermath” production without going through A&E and/or the production company. They own and control all documents and footage associated with “The Aftermath”. We were never in charge of keeping records. We don’t even have access to the episodes of “The Aftermath.” Any time someone has needed a copy, even years after airing, we have to track the right person down and ask for a favor to upload the episode and send it to us — just as I did when I requested Mirriam’s episode.
Even more importantly, if Leah, me, the Production Company, the attorney, or A&E did have a copy of this affidavit, we would have handed it over to Mirriam and the detectives in a heartbeat. What reason would we have NOT to turn it over?
The card that appeared on “The Aftermath,” simply repeated what scientology had told the production company and legal department. Our program never stated that we had seen or had possession of the affidavit.
Scientology asserted that it had this affidavit. They did so to try to stop us from airing the episode. That’s what scientology does as a matter of course with media programs; they manufacture speed bumps and potholes.
The affidavit was supposedly written 20 days before airing of the episode in a last-ditch effort to discredit Mirriam and our program, and protect Mirriam’s mother’s (and scientology’s) reputation. Her mother had refused to provide a sworn statement or testimony to the LAPD and Australian authorities in support of her daughter’s case. They were trying to make it appear she had no relevant knowledge — “there’s nothing to see here.”
If we had had the actual affidavit, we would have read it (or portions of it) on air — something we did routinely throughout the series.
That the show aired at all was a major accomplishment, as was true for every episode. Leah and I fought on behalf of our contributors to ensure important parts of their stories were aired each week. We routinely filmed eight or more hours a day and then went to the editing bay to ensure the stories were accurate, included what was necessary for our contributors, and contained all the important and correct information about scientology. It was often difficult, not because the people working on the show weren’t amazing, but because they didn’t know scientology, understand its policies, or know what was important to our brave contributors. The documentary series was exhausting, but we fought for the truth. The level of care we took was unprecedented in this business.
On 26 December, Mirriam emailed me again, stating:
“In March, 2023 I conducted a 2.5 hour long pretext (recorded) phone call with my father in which he made several admissions…” [a pretext call is made by pretending to be someone you are not or having a different motivation than you express while recording the person in order to try to get them to make admissions or statements they would not otherwise make] and then went on to say “I would love to have a discussion with you, perhaps we could do this by phone…”
I told Mirriam I would be happy to talk to her.
On Friday, 5 January, we spoke for approximately an hour. She asked me many hypothetical questions about what would or would not happen within scientology based on my experience, knowledge of the organizations and policies.
I answered all of her questions and informed her I was continuing to follow up with the attorney to get a final answer on her mother’s affidavit and that I would let her know when I heard back. Mirriam told me that, at this point, the affidavit would not be useful for any prosecution of her father and that it was more for her curiosity.
I told her that in any case, I would continue to follow up with the attorney until I had a definitive answer from him, though his memory was that scientology had never provided a copy.
Shortly after finishing the first call, Mirriam called again, stating she had two more questions, the second of which struck me as odd because she wanted to know about any personal information I had about child sexual abuse being covered up in scientology.
At this point, I became suspicious as the questions did not seem relevant to the prosecution of her father.
Given Mirriam’s statement that she had done a “pretext” (recorded) call with her father, I sent her an email the following day (6 January):
I did not express “fear” that I might be “prosecuted for my crimes,” as has now been falsely asserted. I was more concerned that something I said on the call might be taken out of context.
I had been told there was an ongoing campaign to “get Mike Rinder removed from the Board of Child USA” and was worried that a snippet or a statement from the call could be twisted to make it appear I had said something I had not.
It would have been quite simple for Mirriam to reply and say, “No, I did not record the calls,” but she did not.
After sending me plenty of emails asking me to do things for her and speaking for more than an hour on the phone, she fell silent and did not respond.
Was I suspicious? Yes. And I think it is now fairly clear my suspicions were not unfounded.
On 8 January, I emailed Mirriam again, cc’ing both the NSW PD and LAPD detectives, wherein I laid out my concerns. I asked her again to respond and tell me if my assumptions were incorrect. I was now more concerned that Mirriam had recorded the calls and was planning to use them for purposes other than providing them to law enforcement. I had no problem with the recordings being given to law enforcement; I just didn’t want them used by anyone else.
In response to this email, I received an automatic notification that Det. McGarry was out of the office on an extended break until July, so I called the Nepean Police Department and spoke to Det. Ben Walker. Det. Walker knew about the case and thanked me for the help I had provided the Nepean PD. I forwarded him a copy of the emails above.
Mirriam did not respond to this second email either.
I finally received full confirmation from the attorney that he had gone through his backfiles and never had a copy of the Kerrie Francis affidavit.
At this point, I felt uncomfortable sending further information to Mirriam, but giving her the benefit of the doubt that perhaps she had not seen my earlier emails on January 6th and 8th, I emailed her as follows (attaching the two previous emails):
Again, there was no response from Mirriam, but on January 21 I received an email from Det. McGarry that Mirriam had told him she did not record the calls. I responded as below, saying I was relieved and that I had received final confirmation from the lawyer that nobody had a copy of the affidavit:
On the same day Det. McGarry emailed me (21 January) about Mirriam’s phone calls, Claire Headley, President of The Aftermath Foundation, received an email from Mike Brown, who claimed, “Mirriam and I started collaborating in recent months, sharing my childhood SO experience. This is when she began to confide in me and ask for my views and advice. Because she was being left with minimal feedback from Mr. Rinder about events that should be pivotal in her case, we spoke of ways to clarify the gravity of the situation.”
Mike Brown made numerous false statements about what had transpired in the interactions between Mirriam and me, including allegations that I had lied to her, that she had been “gaslit,” that she was “frankly a bit afraid of his [my] answers,” that she had been sent “intimidating emails” and that I had been “actively withholding evidence from her case.”
According to Mike Brown, their behind-the-scenes collaboration had been ongoing for “some months” – during the time Mirriam was asking me for my help. Apparently she was pretending that she was happy to talk with me for more than an hour just two weeks earlier. Given her admission of doing “pretext” calls previously and her refusal to deny the simple question I posed, it seems reasonable to conclude perhaps she did in fact record those calls. If she had, her only option was to deny having done so to Detective McGarry, as she told him she knew it would have been illegal.
Then, on Monday, January 29, after midnight, I received an email from Alex The Rabbit, which asked for responses to 16 allegations Mirriam Francis was making about me. It was a compilation of scientologyesque “do you still beat your wife” and “prove a negative” style questions about me and The Aftermath Foundation.
Mirriam had also recently asked for financial assistance from the Foundation for mental health counseling using techniques being promoted by former Scientologist, Jamie Mustard, who, I believe has profit participation in these methods.
Mirriam claimed that because the Foundation’s response was too slow for her liking, she was being “gaslit” and blacklisted from receiving financial support. She also claimed the Aftermath Foundation had sought to “deny her human rights” because she was asked to sign a short waiver that anyone who receives funds is required to sign. This waiver is the sort of document any foundation might use, recommending by legal counsel. And especially a foundation that is the target of scientology.
Let’s see this “short waiver” that the Aftermath Foundation makes victims of Scientology sign.
As predicted, one of the 16 “questions” posed by The Rabbit was, “Are you certain that it is appropriate for you to hold a position on any board which concerns itself with the protection or recovery for children from abuse [Child USA]?” Ironically, the work of Child USA is primarily focused on our very successful actions to abolish the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse.
Abolishing statute of limitations is the last thing I would be trying to accomplish if I were concerned about my possible personal criminal liability.
I am saddened that Mirriam has been led down a path that exploited her trauma and pain.
We all want justice for her and the others who have survived similar trauma in the hope there will not be any more victims like her in the future. I believe the prosecution of her abusive father is long overdue.
Leah and I were always under the impression that we had done some good in giving Mirriam and the other victims of scientology a platform. We also wanted to open the door to helping others get their stories told in the hope all of them could attain the accountability and, ultimately, the justice they so richly deserve.
We did our best and will continue to do our best, no matter what.
Due to the amount of hate that has spilled over onto them, this latest campaign has taken a toll on my wife and children – something they neither asked for nor deserved. These unfair attacks are damaging to their mental and physical health, as well as mine. I prioritize the well-being of my family above everything, including ending the abuses of Scientology.
Thus I am stepping back from social media and will instead focus on things I believe are essential to ending the abuses of scientology, something I believe can only be accomplished away from this toxicity. I will continue to work with law enforcement in their investigations against scientology, and assist attorneys suing scientology, provide documents/information and briefings to elected officials, engage in select media and podcast interviews and continue to pursue some confidential behind-the-scenes projects.
Why not resign from the Aftermath board, too?
No victim of fairgame needs to see your face as their “savior”.
In fact, no victim of Scientology fairgame should ever have to see your face again.
I thank you all for your support over the years. You have been there for me, Christie, Leah, Claire and Marc, Amy and Mat, The Aftermath show and Foundation, our podcasts and our videos. For this, we will all be forever grateful. And I especially want to thank all of you who reached out to me in the past two months to offer your support and encouragement and to the numerous people who offered their love, prayers and support over the past 8 months as I dealt with my cancer diagnosis and treatment. I couldn’t have made it without you.