Linda, Former Colleague
“[He] ridiculed, belittled, no matter what.”
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A former colleague recalls how Mike Rinder covered up his incompetence, ridiculed and criticized others, and displayed a misplaced importance.
The 10 years that I worked with Mike Rinder were positively ghastly, is about the nicest thing I can say about them.
And to say—for a staff member to say that about someone they worked for is so unusual, because the one thing that Scientology is known for, internally and outside, is our mutual respect for each other, our communication skills, our joy at doing a valuable job to the best of our ability. And Mike Rinder was the only person, and remains the only person, that I have ever encountered in this position, who seemed to be utterly opposed and opposite to that way of operating.
Once a week we would have a staff meeting and the head of each division would report on their division’s work for that week and what they were working on, what they had accomplished. All seven of us were in terror of that once-a-week meeting because we knew that we would be ridiculed, belittled. No matter what we did or said, it would be—we would be embarrassed in front of the whole staff, belittled, criticized. If there was any one thing that couldn’t be criticized because it was so perfectly done, that would sort of get ignored. So it was a traumatizing experience to work with him.
He was notorious for bungling contacts with media. As part of the organization he was the head of, that’s one of the chief—it was the external facing bureau of the Church and he should have been an expert at that. He was so bad at it, he—there were some famous incidents when he didn’t call back media for months because he couldn’t deal with it or something. But, again, that’s just the phony, the pseudo-Mike Rinder position calling himself the “spokesperson,” when he, in fact, was—I know for a fact—was forbidden to talk to media many times, because he didn’t handle them correctly, didn’t apply the technology that we have for that—didn’t apply the basics of good manners, good communication.
Years later, I went to another location where the Church operates and he was there. And I was working with him for a short period of time and he was held in such contempt by the people around him. He had one specific function to do and aside from the fact that a staff member had to be assigned to him, full time, to keep him awake, he was just as derisive and belittling to that group of staff members as he had been to the group I was in. And I was asked why do I call him “Mr. Rinder,” which was the custom for an executive. And I said, “Well, he was the head of my organization.” And they said, “He’s not the head of anything, he hasn’t been for years.”
And so he was just an underling, but still keeping up this pretense of being an executive and being someone important. And we have—this is the ultimate meritocracy in Scientology. You earn your position and you keep your position by your merits, by what you do, not because of any other reason. But he was continually pushing himself as some super-important person when he actually wasn’t.