The leader of the Church of Scientology, David Miscavige, is looking to stop the publication of a new tell-all memoir written by his father Ron Miscavige.
In a document first published by Tony Ortega, noted Scientology reporter, lawyers from Johnsons Solicitors, working on behalf of David Miscavige, contacted Silvertail Books, the publisher responsible for “Ruthless” in the U.K. and Ireland asking them to halt release of the book, scheduled to debut May 3.
Asserting that they were “putting them on notice,” the letter claimed the material contained in the memoir was “highly defamatory” and that “[i]n the event that you proceed with the release of this book, in total disregard for the truth, our client will be left with no alternative but to seek the protection of UK/Irish defamation and other laws.”
The letter sent by David Miscavige’s counsel also suggests that a similar missive had been sent to St. Martin’s Press, the publisher in charge of the book’s U.S. release.
Among the allegations the younger Miscavige takes issue with is the idea that members of the church were exposed to “deprivation and violence” while detained at a punishment facility known as “The Hole,” as well as the accusation that the Scientology leader hired private detectives to surveil his father.
In March, The Times reported on documents detailing that the Church of Scientology had paid $10,000 a week through an intermediary, to monitor Ron Miscavige, including eavesdropping, spying on email and GPS tracking.
David Miscavige and the church denied culpability.
The threat of legal action has not swayed Silvertail Books, whose publisher, Humfrey Hunter, told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday: "My plans for the book haven’t changed at all since I received the letter. 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."
“Ruthless” is the latest in a growing number of books looking to demystify the unseen aspects of Scientology. “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief,” an exposé on the church written by Lawrence Wright, was released in 2013 and made into a 2015 documentary for HBO. Former Scientologist Leah Remini released her memoir, “Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology” detailing her time with the church in 2015.
Ron Miscavige will appear on “20/20” Friday to speak about “Ruthless” and his son.
The Church of Scientology did not respond to a request for comment.