Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me

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Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me
Ruthless US and UK covers.jpg
US (L) and UK (R) first editions
AuthorsRon Miscavige with Dan Koon
CountryUnited States, United Kingdom
SubjectChurch of Scientology
PublisherSt. Martin's Press (US)
Silvertail Books (UK)
Publication date
May 3, 2016
Media typePrint (Hardcover (US), Paperback (UK))

Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me is a book by Ron Miscavige and Dan Koon, published in 2016 by St. Martin's Press in the United States and Silvertail Books in the United Kingdom. Written by the father of Scientology leader David Miscavige, it presents a personal account of life in the Church of Scientology, the rise of David Miscavige to the church's leadership, and the aftermath of Ron Miscavige's decision to leave the church.


David Miscavige

St. Martin's Press, the book's US publisher, describes it as "a riveting insider's look at life within the world of Scientology" which tells the story of "David Miscavige's childhood and his path to the head seat of the Church of Scientology told through the eyes of his father."[1] According to the UK publisher, "Ron [Miscavige] traces the arc of David’s life from his early years to David’s eventual, stellar rise to power in Scientology; his brutal approach to running the organisation today; and the disastrous effects that his leadership has had on countless numbers of Scientologists and their families."[2]

Ruthless tells of how Ron Miscavige and his family joined Scientology in 1971, living for a while in the UK, before moving back to Pennsylvania. By the age of 16 his son David had become a confidant of Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and had joined the inner core of the church, the Sea Org. He took over the leadership of Scientology when Hubbard died in 1986.[1]

In 2012, after gaining access to the full Internet via a Kindle, Ron Miscavige discovered new information about the church and subsequently left the Church of Scientology. The Los Angeles Times reported that he was put under surveillance by the Church, which was said to have paid two private investigators to watch him around the clock for 18 months at a cost of $10,000 a week. The surveillance was said to have been "all because [David] Miscavige feared that his father would divulge too much about the organisation's activities." At one point, the investigators were said to have phoned David Miscavige when they thought his father was having a heart attack and were allegedly told not to intervene: "if it was Ron's time to die, to let him die and not intervene in any way". Miscavige denied having ordered the surveillance or speaking to one of the investigators.[3] The incident prompted Ron Miscavige to write the book.[4] According to Tony Ortega, a journalist and writer on Scientology, Ruthless was originally titled If He Dies, He Dies in reference to the "heart attack" incident.[5]

The book is the second memoir to have been published by one of David Miscavige's relatives, after his niece Jenna Miscavige Hill published Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape in 2012.[6]

The release of the book was preceded by an interview with Ron Miscavige on ABC's long-running news show 20/20, broadcast on April 29, 2016.[7]

In March 2017, Ron Miscavige was the guest on The Thinking Atheist podcast where he was interviewed by host Seth Andrews. Miscavige discussed this book in detail, and elaborated on his escape from Scientology.[8] Miscavige also appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast on April 18, 2017 for an interview about his life in Scientology as detailed in this book.[9]

Church response[edit]

The Church of Scientology International issued a response on April 29, 2016 regarding the ABC 20/20 Ron Miscavige Interview stating that Ron Miscavige was "seeking to make money" on his son David Miscavige’s name. The Church said, "David Miscavige has taken care of his father throughout his life, both financially and by helping him in even the most dire circumstances. Ronald Miscavige was nowhere around when David Miscavige ascended to the leadership of the Church of Scientology, mentored by and working directly with the religion's founder L. Ron Hubbard, and entrusted by him with the future of the Church." The church then stated: "Any father exploiting his son in this manner is a sad exercise in betrayal." The statement ended with an emphasis on David Miscavige’s "vision and dedication” to the church.[10]

The Church of Scientology also built a website ( as part of their response to the book.[11]

Threats of legal action[edit]

The Church of Scientology has threatened to sue both the US and UK publishers of Ruthless. A letter sent to the UK publishers, Silvertail, alleged that the book "contains malicious, false, misleading and highly defamatory allegations" that Miscavige has "unequivocally denied" and which the letter claims "can only be for blatant commercial gain and vindictive ill will towards our client and his two daughters." It asserts that the book's publication is about "an extremely difficult and an unfortunate family history" and that Ron Miscavige "would not have been in a position to have any direct knowledge or experience of the totally discredited and disproven claims". Humfrey Hunter, the owner of Silvertail, told The Guardian that he was "definitely going ahead – there's no question. I'm very confident that if they were to sue, we would be able to successfully defend the book and its content."[2]


  1. ^ a b Staff reporter (March 16, 2016). "Scientology Leader's Estranged Father Preps Tell-All Book". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Flood, Alison (April 27, 2016). "Scientology leader David Miscavige threatens to sue UK publisher over father's memoir". The Guardian. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  3. ^ Christensen, Kim (April 8, 2015). "Scientology head's father was spied on, police report says". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  4. ^ Tobin, Thomas C. (April 30, 2016). "A father speaks out against his son, David Miscavige, revealing deep rifts in Scientology's first family". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
  5. ^ Friedman, Megan (March 16, 2016). "Scientology Leader David Miscavige's Father Is Writing a Tell-All". Esquire. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  6. ^ Schaub, Michael (March 16, 2016). "Scientology leader's father to publish 'Ruthless' memoir". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  7. ^ Sancho, Miguel; McNiff, Eamon; Bentley, John; Effron, Lauren (April 26, 2016). "Scientology Leader David Miscavige's Father on David's Childhood, Why They Joined the Church". ABC. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  8. ^ Andrews, Seth. "Ron Miscavige: Scientology and my Son". The Thinking Atheist. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  9. ^ "Joe Rogan Experience #947 - Ron Miscavige". YouTube. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  10. ^ News, A. B. C. (30 April 2016). "Church of Scientology April, 29, 2016, Statement to ABC News Regarding Ron Miscavige Interview". Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  11. ^ "Father of Scientology leader: Church is 'manipulative, coercive and, in my mind, evil'". Retrieved 19 April 2017.

External links[edit]