A letter to St. Martin’s Press from Henning Benndorf, Senior Vice President, Golden Era Productions
It has come to my attention that Ronald Miscavige is writing a “memoir” but that it is not about his life (and how could it be—who would want to read about the life of a trumpet player in a Church band?) but about his son, the head of our Church. I am writing this letter to expose just how false Ronald’s story is about the time he worked at Golden Era Productions.
I am a principal senior executive of Gold, the audio-visual film production department of Church of Scientology International. I am also a musician, artist and visual effects artist with an excellent reputation in Hollywood.
Ronald was in a category by himself—the ultimate example of someone who would not work and who wasted people’s time.
Of the hundreds of staff I had under my supervision at Golden Era Productions—musicians, cinematographers, directors, actors, artists, grips, sets persons, mixers, administrative and human resources personnel—you name it—none came close to Ronald for his refusal to follow procedure or help the group to be successful. Ronald was in a category by himself—the ultimate example of someone who would not work and who wasted people’s time. Of course, I regret that I gave him so many chances, owing to my respect for his son, the leader of the religion. I never wanted Ronald to be a problem to his son and it was my desire to keep Ronald from being a problem for others in general. He just is that type of person.
When I visited the Music department during my routine inspections, I would find Ronald idle most of the time. He was constantly found to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and spent an inordinate amount of time standing in the kitchenette eating something or preparing something to eat. I’d see him spend a lot of time with the Pastry Chef in our A+ professional kitchen, preparing desserts when he was supposed to be playing music! Frankly, he was the most uncooperative staff member I ever dealt with and saying that he wasn’t “fulfilling his obligations” is an understatement.
Ronald’s favorite refrain was to say he was “too old to create modern music” as an excuse to do whatever the hell he wanted. Who knows what this even meant. After all, we produce films with all types of music—jazz, classical, rock—you name it. So why Ronald couldn’t simply work on things he could produce was a mystery to us all.
We have a saying in Sweden, Om man ger någon ett finger vill han ha hela handen. In English it’s give someone an inch and they’ll take a mile, meaning someone inclined to take of the generosity of others for his own benefit not caring about the other guy. That fits Ronald to a “T”.
I remember so many instances of Ronald goofing off when we were working to produce religious training films:
The amount of upset Ronald could create from his argumentative relationship style was intolerable. It got so bad the Music Director didn’t want to deal with Ronald at all. The Music Director had done everything he could to help Ronald, giving him assignments, tutorials, assistance, you name it. Ronald rejected all of it, and really blamed the Music Director for even trying. I remember a few times when I had to go to the Music department to get Ronald out of the scoring rooms so that we could produce at all because he was upsetting and distracting the rest of the team. The time spent to get him helped from our Human Resources personnel was mindboggling. But no matter what they did, Ronald never intended to get with it. The time and energy could’ve been spent on another willing staff member instead.
We treated Ronald with respect and tried to help him. We went out of our way to provide him assistance so he could have a good life as he was getting on in age. We had long since gotten to the point that we didn’t even mind when he would idle as we had gotten used to it after all those years. Further, I knew it would be better than causing trouble to others.
In summary, Ronald was a distraction to production, always demanding special attention and treatment, while producing very little. He didn’t care about anybody but himself.
I have heard that he makes the absurd claim that he wanted some sort of leave of absence. As the executive responsible for Gold while Ronald was here, I can tell you this is pure fantasy on his part. Ronald understood that in the Sea Organization, we take care of our staff. We have staff that are in their 90s and we care for them without question. We always work to make their quality of life as good as possible and adjust it depending on their physical ability. For Ronald to pretend that he should have been given some sort of vacation due to his body is laughable. Other than being one of those people that is always worrying about his health, only to be informed he is as sound as can be when checked out, I never had a concern. And believe me, I would have known as I wanted the best for Ronald given who his son was, despite his poor performance.
In summary, Ronald was a distraction to production, always demanding special attention and treatment, while producing very little. He didn’t care about anybody but himself, while attempting to gain special services by name dropping while being the rudest and most selfish person I ever met.
I have had the honor of working on Audio-Visual production for the Church for over a quarter of a century and have seen the transformation of the Church under the Church leader. I am proud to have supported him. He is a consummate professional and expert not only in our religion but also in the areas of sound of film production, from which Golden Era has benefited handsomely. Not only did Ronald not have the kinds of access he glibly claims now, but he’s proof that great people do not depend on a family relation to achieve greatness.
Should you intend to go ahead and publish a “memoir” by Ronald that fails to include his experience with me, his principal executive for a majority of his life, you’ll know he’s simply forwarding a false story in order to attack his former religion out of spite or for profit (or likely both—based on my experience with him).
Senior VP President