Apr 29, 2016

Scientology leader threatens UK publisher with legal action

Patrick Clarke
The Bookseller
April 27, 2016

Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige
British independent publisher Silvertail Books has been threatened with legal action by lawyers representing Scientology leader David Miscavige.

Silvertail is due to publish an account by Miscavige’s father Ron on 3rd May titled Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me in the UK and Ireland.

However, the publisher has received a letter from Johnsons law firm, seen by The Bookseller, warning that if the book is published next week then the company will be sued for defamation.

Despite this, Silvertail’s publisher, Humfrey Hunter, said he intends to go ahead with publication next week.

“The letter has had no effect at all,” he told The Bookseller. “I’m going to publish the book because I believe it’s an important story told in good faith and a brilliant read.”

He added that he had already received a “good number of e-books pre-orders already” through Amazon and his own website, silvertailbooks.com.

Silvertail’s website describes the book as tracing Miscavige’s life from his early years to his rise to power as the current leader of Scientology, told from his father’s perspective.

However, in the letter, Miscavige’s lawyers said the book contains “false, misleading and highly defamatory allegations”.

Hunter added to the Hollywood Reporter: "Full legal due diligence has been carried out on the manuscript, and I am both confident in its integrity and very proud that Silvertail is publishing it. Ron’s story is an important one, and he is a brave man to be telling it."

Johnsons’ letter also implies that the American publishers of the book, St Martin’s Press, have also received similar correspondence from the Church of Scientology’s US attorneys.

Silvertail has previously published a number of other books related to Scientology, including The Unbreakable Miss Lovely by Tony Ortega, about how the church allegedly "tried to destroy" journalist Paulette Cooper, and John Sweeney’s The Church of Fear: Inside The Weird World of Scientology.

Last month, The Bookseller reported that Silvertail was set to publish Going Clear, an investigation into Scientology by Pulitzer prize-winning author Lawrence Wright, three years after it was pulled in the UK by Transworld.


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