Monday, October 12, 2009
Chapter 5: THE PRESIDENT’S OFFICE: CATERING TO THE CLEBRITIES
At every Celebrity Centre there is a President and you’d think that this is the person in charge of the org, but he or she is not. The Commanding Officer or CO is the head of the org and the President is underneath him and only responsible for the handling of celebrities or opinion leaders in the field. The President is also responsible for the recruitment of new celebrities into Scientology. Anything that has to do with a celebrity’s involvement in Scientology or on the org’s lines is the responsibility of the President.
At Celebrity Centre International the President’s Office only dealt with the bigger celebrities like John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Anne Archer, Lisa Marie Presley and other big names who were on lines or had come through. There were plenty of other smaller name celebrities at the org, but if you weren’t a big name, you weren’t on the President’s lines, but normal org lines.
Karen Hollander was the President at the time and as her secretary my job was to type up any letters or dispatches for her, ensure that celebrities who were in the shop were getting in session or getting on course when they were supposed to. If any celebs were in the office, I had to cater to them by asking if they needed any food or anything to drink. I was there to essentially “roll out the red carpet” for them and make sure that they were happy at all times. There were to be no slows on the lines for a celebrity. They were to be given the best service - 5 star at least. The service that a big name received was far different and above what the average Joe Scientologist got.
We even had our own celebrity course room, where the big names could study in comfort, away from the average Joes. Big name Scientology celebrities don’t get to see and are purposely kept away from normal org lines and course rooms. Bad PR is purposely kept “off of their lines” so that they don’t have any reason to suspect that there would be anything wrong with Scientology. The President’s Office at Celebrity Center International is set up to handle all of these functions.
While working my ass off to help make the celebs happy every day, knowing that I was in the Sea Org, the “elite” of Scientology, the conditions that we were made to live in were far beyond disgusting. We lived in the Wilcox Hotel a couple of blocks away from the worst part of Hollywood Blvd. I’ve been mugged twice in my life, both times were in LA, and one of those times was when I lived at the Wilcox. The rooms were small and all had bunk beds crammed into them, unless you were a married couple. The carpets were old, smelly, and moldy. The stairs looked like they were going to cave in. The paint on the walls was old, dirty and stained, and no matter how much time we spent trying to clean our rooms, nothing seemed to make it any better. It made me furious actually that we could be working so hard, and be considered to be the most ethical people on the planet, yet these were the conditions provided for us.
I was only issued one uniform, like many SO members, so I had to wash my uniform almost every night and hang dry it so that it would be dry by the morning. Sometimes we’d have to work late which meant having a dirty uniform the next day. At one point, my shoes had holes at the bottoms, and while making only $40 a week at the time, it really hit my wallet when I had to buy my own uniform parts, because the org couldn’t afford to provide for us. I won’t even go into detail about the food we were served for meals, but most meals were skipped by a lot of staff who spent their own money buying food in the canteen area, aka Rose Garden café. So essentially, we were giving our meager pay back to the org.
After about 8 months of working in the President’s Office, I was transferred to another post - Div 2 Registrar. The org wasn’t making enough money and felt that they needed another person on Registrar lines to help boost income. I worked under Val Garcia the Chief Registrar at the time and also with Bert Drake who later became the drummer for the Golden Era Musicians. Even though I completely sucked as a Reg, and had trouble signing up anyone for a Scientology course to save my life, I enjoyed talking to and working with people who weren’t demanding to be waited on, as if I was their personal servant.
Seemed like things were all well, even though pay sucked, we were all getting along and for the most part enjoyed what we were doing. Every 2 weeks we got a day off, if our statistics were up, so we could visit family, see a movie, or just relax. But that would all soon change. One night while making calls to public to schedule reg interviews, I almost lost my lunch. I was on the phone with someone trying to schedule an appointment and 3 people in dress white uniforms, gold braids - Captain and Commander ranks stood right in front of me, staring me down, listening to my conversation. One of them was Diana Hubbard (L. Ron Hubbard’s daughter) who at the time was DSIEI (Div 6 Internal Executive International). Marc Yager was standing next to her and he was CO CMOI (Commanding Officer of the Commodore’s Messenger Org International), and I don’t remember who the other person was, but it was someone of similar status. These were executives so high up in Scientology, almost considered to have god-like status to people at the level I was at the time.
I don’t think I’d ever been that nervous before. I’m sure I turned red as a beat. I was even smoking a cigarette which most SO Members did, but man, did it have to be at THAT moment? They looked at me in disgust, and I knew that I was going to get reamed out. Luckily the conversation I was having lasted longer then they had time to wait and they moved on, but later my senior Val screamed at me for having embarrassed him, which I could understand. He probably got it worse than what he was giving me. They were angry because I had been smoking while on post, which wasn’t even against the rules, but they considered it to be bad public relations for the org, which it probably was, but I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary - just really bad timing!
Posted by BTs2Free at 1:33 PM