A week after an ex-Scientologist videotaped a confrontation with current members outside the church’s International Base near San Jacinto, California, another former member filmed a similar incident on Saturday. Marty Rathbun -- who was ambushed by several church members at Los Angeles International Airport in October -- published a YouTube video on Sunday showing two unidentified men arguing with him outside a Hollywood studio.
Rathbun says the video was shot near where British broadcaster Louis Theroux is filming a documentary on the Church of Scientology. Rathbun is a consultant for the BBC film. In the minute-long video, one man refers to Rathbun’s adopted son and consultant fees from the BBC for the documentary.
“Do you get paid enough for the foster care?” the man says, referring to Rathbun’s adopted son.
Rathbun’s voice is heard off-camera asking the man to identify himself. “I don’t have to tell you my name because it’s my own freedom of speech,” the man says in the clip.
"They were clearly surveilling the place, as they hopped out of a van the moment I stepped out of the stage doors onto the driveway for some air," Rathbun told International Business Times about the incident. He says Scientologists have been "stalking" him since production on the film began.
"[Church of Scientology head David] Miscavige knows I am consulting on this production, am featured in Alex Gibney's upcoming HBO-produced film, and am involved in a number of other major media and theatrical productions involving the deep, dark underside of Scientology," Rathbun said. "He is following Scientology policy to attempt to terrorize me -- to 'shudder' me into silence."
In his blog, Rathbun calls the ambush a “second wave of Scientology terrorists” who are trying to “intimidate and silence me.”
“Both of their principal accusations against me (that I have been paid a red cent for adopting a child and for consultancy on the documentary) are bald-faced, invented lies,” Rathbun wrote in his blog about the incident.
“The Underground Bunker,” a blog that covers Scientology, has suggested the men in the video are Randy Stith and Christopher Smith. The former is listed as a member of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights International, a Scientologist organization that has been criticized for campaigning against mental health initiatives. Smith is reportedly a "public" Scientologist -- a member who has a career outside the church -- who works on scripts for events, Rathbun told the Underground Bunker.
After Rathbun reviewed the video, he said he has seen Smith before.
“For the last day I’ve tried to imagine him without glasses or a beard. I couldn’t remember him. But then it turns out I had met him before. This is the guy who ambushed us at the Corpus Christi [Texas] airport in 2010,” Rathbun said.
Rathbun left the church in 2004 after working for the organization for 27 years. At the time of his departure, he was a senior executive responsible for “auditing” some of the church’s high-profile members, including actor Tom Cruise. In 2009, Rathbun began a blog where he criticized Miscavige. Since then, church members have reportedly been paid to follow Rathbun and his wife, Monique. Many confrontations were filmed by both parties in public places such as airports and restaurants. One was caught outside Rathbun's home in Corpus Christi, Texas, the Caller Times reports.
In October, Rathbun made headlines after he captured on video top executives from the Church of Scientology verbally assaulting him at a Los Angeles International Airport terminal. In that incident, Rathbun said the confrontation was triggered by a lawsuit his wife filed in January.
“I believe they were attempting to incite me to assault one of them so that they could arrange an arrest to discredit me,” Rathbun told International Business Times in October.
The incident on Saturday was the first time Scientologists mentioned his son. “I really took that as sending a message,” Rathbun told the Underground Bunker. “There was no reason to mention that except to say he is now in the mix.”
According to Jeffrey Augustine, a Scientology critic, the video may be an attempt to halt production on the BBC documentary.
“My opinion is that David Miscavige is using agents provocateurs to engage in industrial espionage and tortious interference,” Augustine said in a blog post referring to the church’s leader. “From this perspective, Miscavige and his agents are actors in a conspiracy; they are specifically acting in concert to kill the BBC documentary in utero.”
Louis Theroux told The Telegraph the film would be a “nonjudgmental inquiry” into the religion.
Another documentary on the religion is being produced by HBO. Based on Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lawrence Wright’s book “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief,” the film, directed by Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney, is believed to expose hidden elements of the church.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the network has braced itself for the church’s litigious reputation. “We have probably 160 lawyers (looking at the film),” she said.