A former executive of the Church of Scientology said three members of the church’s top management ambushed him at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday morning, and that he has video footage to prove it. The video, in which top Scientology leaders are seen yelling obscenities, is the first public glimpse of the secretive church’s top management in four years.
Mark Rathbun, a former senior executive of the Church of Scientology who has been an outspoken critic since quitting in 2004, said he had just cleared security at the airport when the three ambushed him. The footage, published on Sunday, reportedly shows Marc Yager, Dave Bloomberg and Jennifer Linson Devocht -- three executives who report to church president David Miscavige -- yelling at Rathbun, telling him to “get a life,” that his criticism of the church has had “no effect,” and “nobody gives a f*** about you.”
The video “affords a very rare glimpse at the personalities who are actually running Scientology at the highest levels,” Rathbun told International Business Times. According to him, Scientology’s top leaders have not been seen in public since appearing on CNN in 2010. “No one has seen hide nor hair of them since,” Rathbun said.
During his 27-career in the church, Rathbun became one of the top leaders. He said he was responsible for “auditing,” a procedure practiced by some of the most high-profile members, including actor Tom Cruise.
In 2009, Rathbun told the St. Petersburg Times of Florida that top management physically abused colleagues to demonstrate loyalty to Miscavige. In 2010 he appeared on CNN’s "Anderson Cooper 360" and described similar incidents. He has also produced several documentaries about the church, wrote the book “Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior” that appeared last year, and runs a blog.
Rathbun said a recent lawsuit may have been the trigger for the latest incident. His wife Monique, who is not a Scientologist, filed suit against Miscavige charging she was harassed by the church for four years.
“I believe they were attempting to incite me to assault one of them so that they could arrange an arrest to discredit me,” Rathbun said about the incident he documented on video.
A request for comment from the Church of Scientology had not been answered by the time of publication.
The organization has a reputation for litigiousness. Since its inception in 1953 the church has launched numerous intellectual property suits, religious discrimination suits, and libel suits. Ex-members have also brought lawsuits against the church, alleging it has been involved in human trafficking, forced labor, fraud and misrepresentation.
This isn’t the first time, Rathbun said, he has experienced intimidation tactics by church executives. In 2011, members of the church appeared at Rathbun’s house in Corpus Christi, Texas, armed with video cameras. During that encounter, Rathbun lost his temper and grabbed one of the microphones.
“They know how to discern our travel plans in advance as we have been confronted by, or been overtly tailed by private investigators, nearly every time we arrive in another city at the airport,” Rathbun said. He said the Church of Scientology has not contacted him since Sunday's video appeared on YouTube, where it has garnered 340,000 views so far.