The cracks accrued by Katie Holmes, Leah Remini, and Going Clear in place, Lisa Marie Presley is ready to break this whole thing, according to Tony Ortega, the king of Scientology exposure journalism.
Presley was a long-time member of the church, brought in by her mother, Priscilla. In the last four years, Presley has separated herself from Scientology. With her defection, she has, according to Ortega, performed a great deal of personal investigation into the organization. She has been working closely with Ron Miscavige, father of David Miscavige, the leader of the church. Miscavige, a formerly devout Scientologist for 40 years and now literal escapee from the organization, has written a book about his experiences and his son, filled with chilling stories like this:
A father and son private investigator team, Dwayne and Daniel Powell, had been found to be carrying a massive arsenal of weapons and ammunition that included an illegal homemade silencer. Facing ten years in federal prison, Dwayne Powell and his son spilled their guts to police in taped interviews. They admitted that they were being paid $10,000 a week to follow Ron on behalf of his son, David Miscavige, and the Church of Scientology.
At one point, they say in the interviews, they saw Ron clutch at his chest and thought he might be having a heart attack. When they called for instructions, they said David Miscavige himself got on the line and told them to do nothing. “If he dies, he dies,” Miscavige told them, according to the Powells.
Presley has lived her entire life in the spotlight and she’s learned a thing or two about media management—and more importantly, how to take a motherfucker down.
Our sources tell us that she hired an attorney in Los Angeles, someone who specialized in the media. That attorney obtained copies of the police interviews and police reports from the 2013 arrest. And then, the attorney strategically fed that material to three media organizations.
For print, the Los Angeles Times, for online, TMZ, and for television, NBC.
It was a savvy move by Lisa Marie. TMZ had been Scientology’s lapdog for several years, doing the church favors when it wanted to slime a former member, or ignoring Leah Remini’s defection from the church in 2013, for example.
The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, had done legendary work exposing Scientology in the 1990s, and even as late as 2005 it did a major piece on David Miscavige and the Int Base. But since then, the newspaper has shown almost no curiosity about the church’s controversies in its own backyard. The L.A. Times has still, for example, not written anything about the Los Angeles billboard about Scientology disconnection that has garnered so much interest by other news organizations around the world.
But this material, dropped in their laps by Lisa Marie’s attorney, was impossible to ignore. And each of them did strong pieces that showed up on April 8 last year, and were picked up everywhere. It may have been David Miscavige’s most damaging news all year.
This may be difficult to understand in a post-couch jump world, but news organizations have long tucked their tails and run from Scientology stories, due to its infamous harassment tactics. Still to this day, it’s rare to see major news orgs cover something like this—particularly TMZ, which, as Ortega notes, has been pretty soft on Sci presumably for the connections.
Go Ron, and go Lisa Marie. Let’s watch this thing burn.