Rinder in April 2010
Michael John Rinder
10 April 1955
|Known for||Former executive director, Office of Special Affairs (OSA)|
Catherine "Cathy" (née Bernardini/Neal/Rubio)
Christie (née King Collbran)
Michael John Rinder (//; born 10 April 1955) is an Australian-American former senior executive of the Church of Scientology International (CSI) and the Sea Organization based in the United States. From 1982 to 2007 Rinder served on the board of directors of CSI and also held the post of executive director of its Office of Special Affairs, overseeing the corporate, legal and public relations matters of Scientology at the international level.
Rinder is an Australian national who joined the Sea Org on the ship Apollo at 18. This ship functioned as the headquarters for Sea Org. Rinder quickly became an early member of the Commodore's Messenger Organization, after which he continued to rank up until he had his position with the Office of Special Affairs.
In a 2006 interview with Rolling Stone, Rinder said he had experienced discrimination in Australia during the period when the Australian state of Victoria had banned Scientology: "You couldn't own Scientology books ... If you did, you had to hide them because if the police came and found them, they'd take them away."
Office of Special Affairs
As executive director of the Office of Special Affairs, he served as the chief spokesperson and representative of Scientology to the media for 25 years until replaced by Tommy Davis in 2005 under orders from David Miscavige. This office is responsible for overseeing public relations and legal issues for the church, as well as handling "internal investigations into members' behavior."
In a 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, Rinder describes the alleged scope of his position:
If the Church decided someone was an enemy and needed to be silenced or destroyed, it was my job and I did it ... Everything from following them 24 hours a day to having people camped outside their door, to being vilified on the internet, to following them wherever they traveled, I was the guy [that did it].
Rinder cites specific examples of this duty, saying that he personally traveled to London to prevent journalist John Sweeney, who is responsible for Scientology and Me, from attending a movie premiere and to attempt to "discredit Sweeney in any way that he could".
Rinder has said that he was living in The Hole for over two years "when he was suddenly pulled from his prison and sent on [a] mission to London to defend the Church against John Sweeney’s film", Scientology and Me, in March 2007. Rinder defended Scientology leader David Miscavige, but Miscavige was unhappy with the documentary. As a result, Rinder "was to report to the church's facility in Sussex, England, and dig ditches" and then was to be allowed to return to the United States. Rinder says that his moment of clarity came from a confrontation with the filmmaker, which was recorded on video. Instead of reporting to Sussex, Rinder decided to leave Scientology.
Rinder went to Virginia and told Scientology officials that he wanted to speak to his wife and also wanted his possessions. He did not speak to his wife, but was sent a FedEx package with a check for $5,000. His family photos were not sent. Rinder and his first wife, Cathy, divorced after 35 years. He and his second wife, Christie King Collbran, were married in 2013 and have a son. He has no contact with his two adult children from his first marriage. Rinder's official biography has since been removed from the official Scientology website.
In 2009, St. Petersburg Times asked Rinder for an interview, but he declined. Then a month later, two Washington-based Scientology lawyers went to his home unannounced, informed Rinder that they knew about the newspaper's visit and asked what he had revealed. Subsequently, he spoke to the Times about Scientology's management and repeated beatings he gave as well as received. The interviews became part of the paper's "The Truth Rundown" special issue. Rinder said he was speaking out because "I don't want people to continue to be hurt and tricked and lied to."
In October 2009, Rinder and Marty Rathbun revealed to the St. Petersburg Times how Scientology silenced critics, such as Bob Minton, by digging into personal details and secretly recording conversations. Rinder told the Times: "There were things that, really, he was worried about and had caused problems for him in the investigation that we had done" and Minton and the Scientology organization reached a private settlement. Rinder considered Minton a friend at the time of Minton's death in January 2010.
In March 2010, Rinder again confirmed allegations of abuse within Scientology to CNN's Anderson Cooper on Anderson Cooper 360°. Rinder did not speak on camera because he promised his first interview to the BBC.
In April 2010, Rinder, who lived in Clearwater, Florida, for more than a year, went to meet his son who also lives in Clearwater but his son refused to see him. Rinder, Rathbun and two others were cited for trespassing by the Clearwater Police. A few days later, according to police reports: "five senior members of its [Scientology's] California-based international management team – surrounded and screamed at [Rinder] a former Scientology executive. At the time he was approached, Rinder was sitting in his car at a doctor's office parking lot during a phone interview with BBC journalist John Sweeney. The screaming was so loud, Sweeney was able to record the episode and later aired the recording on The Secrets of Scientology broadcast by the BBC's Panorama program.
On 28 September 2010, Rinder appeared on The Secrets of Scientology broadcast by the BBC series Panorama. He discussed his life, losing his family, and behind-the-scenes activity in Scientology. The documentary claims that private auditing sessions are secretly recorded, including ones with secrets about Tom Cruise.
Rinder appears in the HBO documentary entitled Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief by Alex Gibney, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2015. The documentary is based on the book of a similar title by Lawrence Wright. Along with Leah Remini, Rinder co-hosts the A&E documentary series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.
- "Scientology run-ins bring warnings". St. Petersburg Times. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
- Cook, John (17 March 2008). "Scientology - Cult Friction". Radar Online. Radar Magazine. Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
- "Mike Rinder Biography". Church of Scientology International. Archived from the original on 28 January 2008.
- McDonell-Parry, Amelia (7 December 2016). "5 Things We Learned From 'Scientology and the Aftermath,' Episode 2". rollingstone.com. Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 27 June 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
- Reitman, Janet (23 February 2006). "Inside Scientology". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 30 April 2009. Retrieved 13 November 2007.
- Stern, Marlow (2 January 2019). "How Tom Cruise's Wedding to Katie Holmes Changed Scientology Forever". thedailybeast.com. The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on 27 June 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
- Wright, Lawrence (14 February 2011). "The Apostate Lawrence Wright". Vanity Fair.
- Joe Childs, Thomas C. Tobin (23 June 2009). "Leaving the Church of Scientology: a huge step". St Petersburg Times. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
- "Rinder's Scientology bio". Archived from the original on 28 January 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- Joe Childs, Thomas C. Tobin (23 June 2009). "The Truth Rundown". St Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
- Joe Childs, Thomas C. Tobin (23 June 2009). "Scientology: Ecclesiastical justice". St Petersburg Times. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
- "How Scientology got to Bob Minton". St. Petersburg Times. 2 November 2009. Archived from the original on 6 November 2009. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
- "Scientology: A History of Violence". AC360. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
- "Mike Rinder Violence". Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- Tobin, Thomas; Joe Childs. "Scientology run-ins bring warnings". Retrieved 2 November 2011.
- "John Sweeney revisits the Church of Scientology". BBC's Panorama series. September 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
- "Mr Shouty and Cruise: The Rematch". Sunday Times. 26 September 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
- Jancelewicz, Chris (31 May 2017). "Leah Remini alleges further Scientology abuses for show's upcoming second season". GlobalNews.ca. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
- "About Me - Mike Rinder. Something Can Be Done About It: Mike Rinder's Blog". Rinder, Mike. Retrieved 21 December 2010. More detailed coverage in: Sweeney, John (26 September 2010). "Mr Shouty and Cruise: the rematch". Sunday Times.
Rinder, though a 'heretic' to the church, lives and breathes independent scientology.
- Mike Rinder: The Real Third Party, scientology-cult.com; 2010 Independent’s Day Celebration, scientology-cult.com
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