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Video: A top critic of Scientology is subjected to an “ambush” at Los Angeles Airport

Andrew Prokop is a senior politics correspondent at Vox, covering the White House, elections, and political scandals and investigations. He’s worked at Vox since the site’s launch in 2014, and before that, he worked as a research assistant at the New Yorker’s Washington, DC, bureau.

On Sunday, a former Church of Scientology official now known for his harsh criticism of the church wrote on his blog that he was subjected to an "ambush" at Los Angeles International Airport this Sunday, which he filmed. "Stop committing suppressive acts," a woman says on the video. Two other men stand by with creepy grins and occasionally voice agreement with her, as one films with his own video camera. "You've had zero effect, none. And nobody gives a fuck about you," the woman continues, adding, "And you look terrible."

The man being berated is Mark "Marty" Rathbun, who spent two and a half decades in the church, rising to become a top official there before breaking away in 2004. On his blog, Rathbun writes that the people berating him in the video are three current top church officials named Jenny Linson, Marc Yager, and Dave Bloomberg.

Since leaving the church, Rathbun has recounted harrowing tales of physical and emotional abuse that he says he witnessed, participated in, and was subjected to as a top church official. (The church has denied all of his allegations.) Rathbun was a key source for New Yorker journalist Lawrence Wright's 2013 book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief, which lays out his allegations in detail. "Rathbun has been counseling Scientologists who leave the church, and because of that he's been subject to continual monitoring and harassment from the church," Wright wrote.

In a 2011 post, the Village Voice's Tony Ortega wrote that "there may be no greater outside threat to the continued existence of the Church of Scientology" than Rathbun. Ortega emphasized that Rathbun was a trusted figure in the church for many years and still attests to believe in its founder L. Ron Hubbard's principles — so he has an "ability to reach deep inside [the church's] bubble with his writings." Ortega went on to describe "a daily siege by an intimidation squad sent to film [Rathbun and his wife] from just outside their house." Here's an example of this that Rathbun filmed in 2011:

In the newest filmed confrontation, the woman Rathbun identifies as Jenny Linson tells him, "You've had no effect, nobody cares, nobody's interested, you've done nothing." However, the video shot to the top of on Monday night — so some people were interested.

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