Letter to Twitter Public Policy Chief

There is a consistently displayed public bias in favor of Scientology accounts on Twitter. While non-Scientology accounts find themselves suspended or banned for the strangest of reasons; overt, direct personal attacks by members of the cult flourish unchecked.

Multiple reports against these various OSA bot accounts have been made with no response. Even complaints by Leah Remini and Mike Rinder themselves have gone ignored.

Letters to Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s Lead Counsel have been sent only to be met by deafening silence.

Twitter grants “Verified” status to select accounts stating, “The blue verified badge on Twitter lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic.”

“Verified” status is defined as being for accounts that are, “…determined to be an account of public interest. Typically this includes accounts maintained by users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas.”

How the daily, constant spreading of lies, libel and ugly personal attacks against innocent people is considered of religious public interest is beyond all logic and reason.

Further, that Edward Parkin’s account is authentic and not an OSA bot account designed just to Fair Game is highly suspect.

Parkin’s recent announcement on Twitter that the F. Gaviña & Sons Coffee Company’s decision to “stand up against hate” and boycott the Emmy Awards because of Leah Remini is one more lie. One more example of Scientology’s devious, hate filled attacks against Remini.

How can such behavior be of public interest?

Once again we have written to Twitter asking that the @EPStandLeague, @StandLeague and @TarynTeutsch accounts be removed.

August 26, 2020

Yoel Roth

Public Policy Chief

Twitter

1355 Market St Suite 900

San Francisco, CA 94103

United States

Stefani A. Hutchison

https://azhlynnes.blog

Dear Mr. Roth,

I am writing to you today concerning a serious issue of vicious cyber bullying that far surpasses the boundaries of free speech.

First I would like to be clear that I have never been a Scientologist. While I am an activist against the abuses of this cult, my complaint today goes beyond Scientology activism into justice and fair treatment for all. I am addressing a serious hypocrisy by Twitter when it comes to enforcing policy and rules.

Twitter’s stated policies against harassment are clear and for most people they are applicable, however for some mysterious reason accounts by certain Scientology spokespersons created solely to bully, harass, demean and incite others to the same behaviors on a daily basis appear to be exempt.

“Abuse and hateful conduct

Abuse: You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. We consider abusive behavior an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice.

Hateful conduct: You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease. Read more about our hateful conduct policy.

Hateful imagery and display names: You may not use hateful images or symbols in your profile image or profile header. You also may not use your username, display name, or profile bio to engage in abusive behavior, such as targeted harassment or expressing hate towards a person, group, or protected category.”

These rules seem clear and unequivocal in their message, however the accounts @EPStandLeague, @TarynTeutsch, @StandLeague and @ExposeNetwork, among others, are somehow able to flourish and attack innocent people with complete impunity.

The @EPStandLeague account is a Twitter verified account. According to Twitter, “An account may be verified if it is determined to be an account of public interest.”

This account’s main purpose is to mock, harass, defame, libel and bully Leah Remini and Mike Rinder, both former members of Scientology. As both of these people have chosen to leave this so-called religion and speak out against the abuses they’ve experienced and witnessed, it can be argued that the resulting attacks against them constitute religious hate. It is indisputable that were Remini or Rinder still practicing Scientologists this harassment would not be taking place ergo the sole reason for it is their choice not to be Scientologists. It is also indisputable that were anyone to create an account to harass victims having suffered abuse at the hands of Catholic Priests or Protestant Pastors who are speaking out similar to these Scientology accounts, those perpetrators would not be allowed to continue.

In any case the subject of religion aside, what is in question is whether Twitter allows overt cyber harassment or it doesn’t.

The verified account @EPStandLeague allegedly belongs to Scientologist Minister and Spokesperson Edward Parkin. The bulk of his posts consist of provably false accusations of the worst kind. This account, along with it’s sister account @TarynTeutsch, have been consistently reported for policy violations, even by Mike Rinder and Leah Remini to no avail.

Parkin and @TarynTeutsch both continually announce that Mike Rinder is a “wife beater” and guilty of egregious domestic violence.

Stemming from a 2010 event that has been documented both in a Pinellas County Police Report as well as an EMT report that both clearly show Rinder was innocent of such heinous accusations, both Parkin and Teutsch still advise the public that this man is guilty of domestic violence.

The @TarynTeutsch account states and is linked to a blog that clearly displays it’s raison d’etre; “Fire Mike Rinder”.

Surely the destruction of a man’s career as well as his reputation are not viable, legitimate reasons for twitter accounts.

This alone should be enough for twitter to intervene and remove these vicious, false and offensive posts, if not the entire accounts.

It seems however, not to be the case.

No matter how many times both of these accounts have been reported, they are left to continue.

@EPStandLeague recently engaged in blatant body shaming of Leah Remini, inciting one of his followers to tweet “I guess running your mouth doesn’t count as exercise” and others to join in on the shaming. That this was reported and left to continue speaks to twitter’s position on the shaming of women.

In January 2019 after a tragic, fatal stabbing at Scientology’s Australia Org, Edward Parkin took to Twitter to publicly announce that a Remini and Rinder both had “blood on their hands” and were complicit in the murder. It mattered not that neither of them were in Australia nor had they ever even met the people involved in this incident, Parkin continued to tweet over and over that Leah Remini and Mike Rinder were entirely responsible for the stabbing.

Even after the journalist in Australia who broke the story, Bryan Seymour, tweeted that sources close to the investigation were clear neither Remini nor Rinder were in anyway involved, Parkin continued to tweet that they both were guilty of murder. A cry that he incited his followers to take up and spread. Which they gleefully did.

@EPStandLeague also posts that Leah Remini is responsible for the arsons that took place at various Jewish temples as well as being the source of hate crime directed at Scientology and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The incidents Parkin cites have nothing to do with Remini. In fact, in many cases there is proof to the contrary, supporting the fact that Parkin only seeks to ruin Remini’s reputation, call her character into question and harass her.

Parkin accuses her of involvement in an arson that took place at a Minneapolis Scientology Church. There is no indication at all of any connection between Johnson (the arsonist) and Leah Rimini’s show or book. According to newspaper articles he had prior incidents with this same Scientology location.

He accuses Rinder and Remini of inciting a young man, a former scientologist and suffering from mental illness, to engage in hate crimes against Scientology.

“A man threw a hammer through the Los Angeles Church glass door; the man was held in a mental institution where it was reported that he threatened to kill the leader of the religion (such institutions have a mandatory reporting requirement). He pled guilty to felony vandalism of a church. Remini put him on her show to “blame the victim” and incite more violence.” Parkin asserts.

In fact this man’s name is Brandon Reisdorf and he has publicly said that Remini had nothing to do with his actions.

Parkin, both on his @EPStandLeague account as well as on his @StandLeague account (Parkin is the International Director of Stand League) has accused Remini of involvement in Andre Barkanov’s threats to “assassinate” the Church leader, David Miscavige. Not only is this is entirely false, Remini having influence over Barkanov is not possible.

Troublemaker by Leah Remini was published November 2015. Barkanov‘s threats happened in June/July of 2015 before her book came out. His threats also happened before The Aftermath premiered a YEAR LATER in November 2016.

Edward Parkin has tweeted that Remini was responsible and he has linked to a Stand League blog post he wrote wherein he misquotes Barkanov to make people believe that the man was motivated by the actress, something that is provably untrue when one reads his full statement in it’s proper context.

As recently as August 19, 2020 Parkin tweeted a completely false statement applauding F. Gaviña & Sons Coffee Company, parent company of Don Francisco Coffee, for supposedly choosing to boycott this year’s Emmy Awards show in order to “Stand against hate”. Parkin hash-tagged Remini in order to make sure she saw his tweet.

The reality is that according to the Television Academy, Don Francisco decided months before the nominees were even announced that this year, due to the pandemic, they would not be participating.

Yet one more lie by an “ordained Minister” of a verified account by Twitter for religion.

These are just a few examples of the lengths this Minister is willing to go to attack innocent people.

That twitter has verified his account means the account is of public interest in the subject of religion. How any of his actions are either of public interest or religious is questionable at best.

Beyond even the daily, unceasing attacks of hatred against Leah Remini and Mike Rinder there is the issue of Parkin attacking even those who were guests on The Aftermath, those who spoke about their own experiences within Scientology.

There is no other organization, group or religion who would last so long on any social media platform were they engaged in such actions. Yet Twitter seems completely insensitive to all those Edward Parkin and his followers are harming.

Verified Minister Parkin, along with Expose Network, Stand League and others he incites, cruelly lashes out at victims of sexual abuse, rape and other crimes. People who have withstood their pain and yet suffer cyber bullying at the hands of a Minister thereby being further traumatized by the organization who victimized them to begin with.

Further, some of these targets of Parkin’s vituperative harassment are plaintiffs and or witnesses in current legal cases. Twitter allowing this kind of activity from Scientology is tacit permission for tampering with witnesses. Twitter has policies and rules in place to deal with this kind of harassment yet in spite of numerous reports and letters asking for fairness, there is nothing but silence.

I challenge any member of twitter management to come up with a legitimate, convincing argument for how these accounts, @EPStandLeague in particular, are not in violation of stated Twitter policy.

The silence that is the usual response to these accounts being reported speaks way louder than one may want to believe.

One only need peruse these accounts to clearly see the true reason for their creation is anything but religious in nature. Parkin is not speaking/tweeting as a private citizen. His actions are as a spokesperson and Minister of a so-called religion.

Why is his account verified?

Parkin and Scientology are both fully aware that they have carte blanch when it comes to their twitter activities.

Edward Parkin has smugly tweeted that in spite of his malicious attacks on Leah Remini, “Twitter found NO violations!”

He even tweeted that Twitter Support informed him that Leah Remini had reported him and was positively ecstatic that she could do nothing to stop him. This action by Twitter is in direct opposition to Twitter’s Privacy Policy which states, “Per our Privacy Policy, Twitter does not release account information except as required by valid legal process.”

Either all of us are bound by Twitter policy or we aren’t. Neither Freedom of speech nor the First Amendment protects anyone from this level of bullying, body shaming, lies and hate.

It is my firm opinion that the successful avoidance of removal of these Scientology accounts has only emboldened Edward Parkin and given him the confidence to continue to carry out his campaign of hate, harassment, bullying and religious intolerance.

I am hereby respectfully asking that these accounts, whose sole purpose is to harass and bully those who choose not to be Scientologists any longer be remove pursuant to the posted policy and rules that all on Twitter are expected to follow.

If this request is once again refused, I am asking for the courtesy of a response explaining why these accounts are allowed to stand and how they are not in violation of policy.

Sincerely

Stefani A. Hutchison

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