While there are a lot of downsides of Scientology, the do protect their own.
Mike Rinder, who served as a senior executive within the Church of Scientology from 1982 to 2007, detailed how he escaped from a life in the highest ranks of the religion.
In a newly released excerpt, he wrote about weathering celebrity scandals, having been recruited to assist one of the church’s A-list members.
“I was tasked with the job of helping John Travolta with some public relations issues,” he claimed. “Since the beginning of the ’90s, Travolta had been hounded by stories from various alleged male lovers, including one of his former pilots as well as a porn star.”
The Grease actor got married to wife Kelly Preston on September 12, 1991, and the duo had quickly become Hollywood sweethearts.
Rinder said the church was fully aware of the PR damage such claims could have on the “perfect Scientology couple,” alleging they “dug up dirt on the sources of the stories and threatened the media with lawsuits,” which caused the stories to be “shut down.”
“I became a trusted person in John’s life,” said Rinder, who claimed that same-sex allegations are “land mines” for Scientology, although we should note a spokesperson for the church previously said they aren’t anti-gay.
“Yet the threat of a story describing a Scientologist as gay would cause panic internally because for a Scientologist, not being ‘cured’ of homosexuality would indicate that the tech doesn’t work,” wrote Rinder.
In 2012, Travolta’s ex-pilot Doug Gotterba came forward to claim he had a secret gay affair with the actor. He said he worked from 1981 through 1987 as the Hollywood star’s pilot. Gotterba received legal threats from Travolta’s lawyer Marty Singer accusing him of violating a confidentiality agreement.
Travolta and Preston remained together until the actress died in July 2020.
The narrative in Rinder’s memoir talks about his rise in the church as well as his ex-communication, the alleged harassment he faced, and more.
In a recent blog post, he addressed almost omitting any celebrity references altogether “for fear of it becoming a distraction from the more important things I had to say.”
He decided to proceed in the end, explaining that leaving those pieces out entirely “would have not been authentic.”
“These things did happen and in some ways impacted my thinking and decisions,” Rinder continued.
His new memoir, A Billion Years: My Escape from a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology, will be available September 27.