Alex Gibney claims to be a documentarian…
But Alex Gibney’s idea of a documentary on the Church of Scientology? Start with a book written by his buddy Lawrence Wright.
Disregard that the book was filled with unsubstantiated innuendo, unsupported rumors, and allegations so outrageous a federal judge dismissed them as baseless.
Ignore the fact that the main source for the book was this man Marty Rathbun—leader of a tiny failed cult whose members had all been expelled from the Church for discreditable activities.
Then spend two years in secret turning that book into a film… and never once present any allegations to the Church.
And to ensure that the media would consider it tweet-worthy, find an expelled former Church member well known for his dishonesty willing to spread all manner of lies and false accusations, regardless of who he hurts.
Someone like Mike Rinder.
So who is Mike Rinder?
Just ask those who know him best—his family.
“Mike as a child was aloof, different, didn’t participate, didn’t particularly have many friends.”
“When I was in hospital, when I was getting married, when I was needing help on any part of my life in any situation, he was never there.
“He didn’t make time for anyone. You were not important, you were not important unless he needed something from you or it was on his agenda.”
Mike Rinder failed as a family man, and failed on the job.
Contrary to his claims to the media, Rinder held only a junior position in the Church for the five years before he suddenly left.
Abandoning his wife of more than 30 years, his two children and the rest of his family, including his elderly mother.
“In 2007, he went off to England for a work-related trip. And he didn’t return and I didn’t hear anything from him at all.”
After three days, Mike Rinder finally sent an email—not to his wife, not even to a friend, but to a co-worker, with instructions to pass it along.
“The email was literally three lines long.
“And that was it. That was the length of the communication.
“He never tried to call me or even saying, ‘I realize we’ve been married for over 30 years but I’ve decided that I actually don’t want to be there and—’ nothing.”
“He didn’t even ask about me or my brother or say, ‘please make sure they do well’, or any well wishes or goodbyes, nothing, not a word.”
“My family is the tightest knit, loving group of people you have ever seen.
“My brother chose to leave that.”
Without his former family and associates to support him, Mike Rinder quickly found he couldn’t hold a job.
After several failed attempts at employment—as a car salesman, a freelance marketer and other odd jobs—Mike Rinder discovered he could make money criticizing the Church—his family’s religion.
Family members and their Church chaplain would later recount the horrific events that happened the day they appealed to him to stop.
“I was standing there with my uncle and my mother, trying to sort out our relationship and get him to please just stop, live his own life. I’m perfectly fine with that.
“But he still wouldn’t talk to us.”
“His eyes were glazed and he was scruffy.
“I was somewhat shocked at his appearance.”
“And Mike jumped in his car and put the keys in the ignition, like he was running away from his own brother.
“Andrew happened to have his hand laying on the steering wheel and Mike almost broke his finger—crushing him. He was like a psycho.”
Then Rinder turned on his wife.
And what he did in his fit of monstrous rage was truly shocking.
“He was so mean to my mother, he was very aggressive.”
“You wouldn’t believe it. He literally went straight at her arms and vice gripped her and would not let go and she was yelling at the top of her lungs, ‘Let me go, let me go.’ He wouldn’t let go.”
“It was a total, utter shock.
“I started hearing inside my ear my bones creaking like when you have a toothpick and it starts to crack.
“As I was screaming for him to stop he started screaming right in my face, ‘You bitch, you bitch.’
“And he stuck his eyes right up to my eyes.
“And he was so hateful…”
“I remember looking at him and thinking… he wants to kill her.”
“The next thing I looked down at Cathy’s arms and they're bleeding, like literally just dripping with blood.”
“There was chunks of her flesh actually missing.
“The gouges in her arm were thick.”
“Luckily an ambulance came and, you know, I was with her and they were busy trying to put stuff on to stop the blood and wrapping her arms up. Mike Rinder didn’t even say, ‘Look, I’m sorry, look at your arms.’
“He couldn’t care less. And that’s the true colors.
“That’s who Mike Rinder is.”
Instead of facing up to the brutal assault he had just committed, what did Mike Rinder do?
While a team of paramedics rushed to treat his severely injured wife, Rinder quickly called a reporter before the medical report became public… all to spin this savage attack on his wife as something that had nothing to do with him.
Yet here is Cathy Rinder, treated for multiple lacerations, nerve damage, a separated collarbone and a fractured and dislocated shoulder.
“He hurt my mom so bad in that incident…
“I’ve had to, you know, help her with normal things, getting dressed, making her bed, for quite some months while she was recovering because she had to get surgery on her shoulder.”
A shoulder that Mike Rinder—a man twice her size—had so brutally shredded.
The injury so severe, that despite years of rehab, her surgeon says she will be disabled for life.
She still continues to have problems with this shoulder.
She does not have full range of motion.
She still has pain and discomfort which is constant.
It’s a permanent disability that will always be there with her.
When Mike Rinder was later confronted by a reporter about the cold-blooded attack on his wife, this is what happened:
“Mr. Rinder, let me ask you a question.
“I interviewed your ex-wife, Cathy…”
“Do you have a business card?
“Lay out the ground rules and have a business card.”
“She showed me the marks on her arms where you gouged her arms.”
“Absolutely. And she needs surgery.”
“She needs surgery.”
“Do you have a business card?”
That’s how much Mike Rinder cared about his wife of more than three decades and the mother of his two children.
And Alex Gibney—in full possession of Cathy Rinder’s medical reports and knowing full well what Mike Rinder had done not only sticks up for him, he parades his wife-beating source around as a promotional tool for his film.
That’s Mike Rinder, the husband and father.
And then there’s Mike Rinder, the son.
Just after brutally assaulting his wife and brother, Mike Rinder unexpectedly showed up in his native Australia, broke into his elderly mother’s apartment with cameras rolling and rifled through her possessions.
“He somehow managed to talk his way in with a film crew and filmed her room… It disturbed my mother immensely that he could just walk into her room when she wasn’t there.”
“And when we walked back in, my grandma, I mean I saw her and she’s looking and she’s like, ‘He’s been through my stuff.’ She was shaking, she was so upset.
“And she was like, ‘I’ve been violated, by my own son.’”
Mike Rinder’s mother sent letter after letter appealing to her son to stop harassing his family and their religion.
“Michael, you are destroying everything that I am…” she wrote.
“I need a promise from you to desist from these actions…
“It is important for me, because there is not a lot of mileage left in this body.”
No reply ever came.
Barbara Rinder would pass away before ever hearing from her son again.
In spite of 14 attempts to set up a meeting to lay out the truth about Mike Rinder, Alex Gibney was not interested.
That left Cathy Rinder no choice but to ensure that her voice was heard.
“I decided I had to go to New York myself and see HBO and see the director, Alex Gibney, in order to fill him in on the true story of what actually happened.
“People need to know what Mike’s really like.
“He turned on me like an animal and hurt me on purpose.
“So the fact that Alex Gibney wouldn’t see me just for a few minutes shows a lot about that man himself and what he personally must be like.
“He doesn’t even have the guts to look me in the face, says a lot.”
But what would anyone expect when you know that one of your prize sources is an admitted liar and a violent spouse abuser.
And to add insult to injury, even after Cathy Rinder finally tells her story to the media Alex Gibney comes to Mike Rinder’s defense.
He not only excludes all of Cathy Rinder’s statements from his film, but he also refuses to see her after she flies to New York.
Instead, he adds a sound bite to his film from Mike Rinder, who callously belittles his wife once again by claiming she made up the whole story.
Of course, her surgeon and over a dozen eyewitnesses know what Mike Rinder did—since it’s all a matter of medical record.
But Gibney doesn’t care.
For in Mike Rinder, Alex Gibney uncovered a man who would say anything for a little face time in Gibney’s film.
A guy who abandoned his family, battered his wife, then scrambled to cover his tracks with cold-blooded efficiency.
This is a man Alex Gibney holds up as a “hero.”
A man Gibney flew on an all-expenses-paid trip to the mountains of Utah and followed up with another free junket to New York City.
Someone he proudly casts as the poster boy of his film.
Mike Rinder, the face of a campaign of hate and bigotry.
“Ultimately—he is who he is and that is someone who is quite evil.
“Always has been, always will be. No care of others.
“There’s Mike Rinder, and there’s Mike Rinder, and there is Mike Rinder—in that order.”
That’s Mike Rinder.
A vicious wife beater, Alex Gibney’s “star witness.”
A man only a hater of women could love.
In future segments, we’ll show you other sides of Mike Rinder that Alex Gibney won’t show you…
Rinder’s lying, his criminal activities and yes, more of his violence…
You’ll also hear more about the emotionally unhinged Marty Rathbun.
“Shut the fuck up!”
Mike Rinder’s “guru” who ran that tiny failed Texas cult.
It’s a bizarre love/hate relationship where Rinder himself receives a savage beat-down from Rathbun, then becomes the minister at his wedding.
You won’t believe what happens after that.
But Alex Gibney isn’t revealing the whole story behind his prize “sources.”
So we’ll do it for him.
I think we got the story that we wanted.
It’s not the truth. It’s Alex Gibney. On HBO.