Janet Reitman

Reitman is a Rolling Stone contributing editor. Her first story on Scientology appeared in Rolling Stone in February 2006. In her initial “research” in 2005, Reitman infiltrated the Church of Scientology in New York, faking an interest in taking Scientology services.

Reitman followed up with a book in 2011, Inside Scientology, a rehash of false assertions bearing no resemblance to an “inside” story.

While preparing her book, Reitman never contacted the Church and neither requested nor interviewed a single Church representative. Instead, she chose to speak to embittered individuals outside the Church such as Mike Rinder and Mark Fisher.

Reitman relied exclusively on embittered sources—driven by an anti-religious agenda outside the Church.

Reitman claims to have conducted “personal interviews and email exchanges with roughly one hundred former and current Scientologists.” Yet, her book itself refers to an exchange with only one Scientologist and no Church executives or staff members. In other words, Reitman claims to have devoted five years of “meticulous research” to her subject—Inside Scientology—without contacting anyone who is in fact inside Scientology.

Reitman relied exclusively on embittered sources—driven by an anti-religious agenda outside the Church. Her primary sources—a handful of apostates—included admitted perjurers and former staff dismissed and defrocked when their crimes were discovered. No surprise, these sources have a documented history of making false and defamatory statements. Their venom and hostility should give anyone serious pause.

When the Church offered to provide fully documented facts about her sources and the actual truth about their allegations, Reitman and the publisher refused to accept the Church’s offer.

Janet Reitman on A&E

Reitman continued the subterfuge by writing that “It has been my goal to write the first objective modern history of the Church of Scientology.” But if she were truly “objective,” she would have held these sources and their claims up to a harsh and penetrating light to ascertain their veracity (or lack thereof) instead of fawning over them and buying into their every word.

She chose to ignore the many discreditable facts surrounding her sources, including, among other things, a lawsuit by sources Marc and Claire Headley that a federal judge tossed out, ordering them to reimburse the Church more than $40,000 in court costs.

These same sources peddled their concocted stories to tabloid media—such as the late and unlamented News of the World—whose lack of journalistic ethics deservedly shut it down.

Another Reitman source, Tom DeVocht, an admitted liar, once stated, “Lying to the most important people on earth was not a [transgression] unless I was caught out and couldn’t lie my way out of it.”

As noted in the Creative Loafing review of her book, Reitman acknowledged that there was no concrete proof of the former members’ allegations.

The book was riddled with falsehoods and errors.

The Creative Loafing article states:

“Reitman points out that there’s still no concrete proof of the former members’ allegations.

“None of them went to the doctor, none of them went to a hospital, none of them called 911, there are no x-rays or broken bones or ribs or any of that stuff,” she says.

The book was riddled with falsehoods and errors, contrary to her statement that “Every bit of information in this book has been checked and cross-checked with multiple sources.” She failed to even get right the date of the passing of the Church’s Founder, on page one of chapter one, where she stated, “When Hubbard died in 1985, the world took note…” L. Ron Hubbard passed away on January 24, 1986.

Of the 158,000 words printed, far less than .0001% could be found to be true. The few specific statements Reitman made which are true follow:

  • “The past fifty-odd years have seen the birth of dozens of religions; many have come and gone without a trace. The Church of Scientology has endured. It has persevered.”
  • “Scientology is considered by some academics within the field of comparative religion to be one of the most significant faiths born in the past century.”
  • “Mr. Miscavige’s role is the steward who would consolidate Hubbard’s movement and guide it into a new age.”
  • “Since 2004, the church has purchased seventy buildings in cities around the world, many of them faded gems that have been meticulously restored.”
  • “The church is in some ways more accessible than ever. Since 2009, the Church of Scientology has significantly upgraded its online presence, to explain its beliefs and its connection to other religions and philosophies; it even offers a virtual tour of a Scientology organization. A separate Scientology video channel presents scores of testimonials to Scientology’s effectiveness in handling life’s problems.”
  • “[The Church’s] missionaries, known as “volunteer ministers,” tour the developing world and are sent, en masse, to deliver aid in familiar disaster zones such as earthquake-ravaged Port-au-Prince or New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.”
  • “Scientologists live in virtually every major city in America and in numerous smaller cities and suburbs as well: they can be found in every age group and vocation.”
  • “…the vast majority of Scientologists are people you have never heard of. Many work in various parts of the entertainment industry, but still more of them write, teach, create art, build houses, trade stock, manage hedge funds, own businesses, and invent new forms of technology. They run schools and drug rehabilitation programs, work in prisons and inner cities, and lobby Congress and federal regulators.”
  • “Scientology is experiencing unprecedented expansion, its worldwide membership ‘growing faster now than at any time in its history.’ … And to be sure, Scientology has expanded its reach in the developing world, where the church is opening missions in such far-flung locales as Kazakhstan.”

Glamorizing the Boston Bomber

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone and Reitman’s byline (Sean McCabe—Rolling Stone)

In 2013, Reitman and Rolling Stone came under fire for giving what was described by the mayor of Boston as “celebrity treatment” to Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Reitman spent two months interviewing Tsarnaev’s friends and family for the story. Delcotimes.com reported: “The decision by Rolling Stone magazine to put accused Boston Marathon Co-bomber Dzhokhar ‘Jahar’ Tsarnaev on the cover of its Aug. 3 issue has been met with near universal outrage.” One reader wrote that “Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs, should be on the cover.” A Northeastern University criminologist, Jack Levin, noted that the cover could send a dangerous message to others: “If they want to become famous, kill somebody.” Despite the protests, Reitman never issued an apology.

Sign Up for Updates