#RHONY, Reality TV, Uncategorized

#RHONY: “Not Well, Bitch!” Dorinda & the Cast Divisions Between Seasons

I’ve written before about Real Housewives of New York‘s Sonja Morgan snaking in stinging jabs at Dorinda Medley. I’m not sure what it is about these women (and the viewers do relish this about the franchise), but they keep the drama going while the cameras aren’t rolling.

A source tells me that Sonja is talking all sorts of smack about Dorinda’s past relationships, revising history through tall tales. For instance, Dorinda gets along terrifically with her ex husband Ralph, but Sonja gossiped to one fair-weather friend that Ralph latched on to a close pal of Dorinda’s, who he ended up marrying. She was insinuating that the most amicable of divorces was anything but…

Those who know Dorinda and Ralph can attest to the fact that the parents of Hannah are in a great place, friends who communicate regularly. There is also no beef there with his wife.

This feud between Dorinda and Sonja has been going on for a long period of time. In fact, when I interviewed Dorinda for The Huffington Post last year, it was right before the season began and she and Sonja were not speaking. Dorinda also recently made the point of emphasizing to Heather McDonald on an episode of the podcast Juicy Scoop, that she and Sonja didn’t socialize before filming and it seems they’re merely on-camera frenemies. To the contrary, Dorinda and Ramona Singer are real life true friends and it was Ramona who actually encouraged Dorinda to do the show.

Sources say Dorinda is not having it easy in this seasonal interim. She and Bethenny have had some sort of falling out that previously led Bethenny to block her on social media. Dorinda is also quite peeved with cast mate Luann De Lesseps for hypocritically criticizing her drinking in a blog post. Remember, Lu herself went to rehab following her own drunken antics in Palm Beach (long story, but suffice it to say: “It was about Tom.)

On a happy note for Dorinda, the love affairs with Carole Radziwill and Tinsley Mortimer seem consistent and stable. The three recently took a vacation together.

To sum it up for those keeping score, there are two teams. Team A: Dorinda, Carole, Tinsley, Ramona and Team B: Bethenny, Sonja and Luann. Despite these divisions, the women of RHONY will continue to make terrific television together.

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Bravo TV, Reality TV, Uncategorized

#SouthernCharm: Breaking Down the ‘Blind Gossip’

Someone who is way better at updating her website than I am, as well as more impressively diligent about frequent postings and keeping current with numerous reality shows is Tamara Tattles. Personally, I’m just starting out with this website, ShirasGotTheScoop, and trying to manage other jobs and endeavors (including a gaggle of offspring) simultaneously, but I’d like to post as often as I can. In that regard, I look up to Tamara who is admirably a #SuperBlogger – #Goals. I’m in awe of friends who post multiple times daily and I’ll admit that I’m not sure of my aspirations for this site yet as I fret about other work. What I can tell you is that sometimes, the savvier website- keepers inspire me greatly to weigh in… So tonight, I’m going to delve into Tamara Tattles’ most recent post.

Tamara has authored a blind item that I shall attempt to interpret as one would explore Talmudic text (my Jewish day school contemporaries may or may not crack a smile at that. They may or may not eschew the reference entirely, deeming it despicably sacrilegious). There will be lots of commentary and speculation on my part, and I’ll make sure to pepper my postulations with allegedlies – in order to be as fair as one can possibly be here.

Tamara Tattles’ site, which I urge you to check out, is TamaraTattles.com, and she currently also has her blind item on the website BlindGossip.com. Before I weigh in and break it all down as if it is a tractate of Gemara, here’s the full item:

On a certain reality show, there is one evil b* that is worse than anything we have ever seen. EVER. She has literally hooked her way on to the show by way of another aberrant creature we recently got rid of.

In an odd turn of events, I totally warned the male in this story about the female in this story very, very, early on when she was trying to sell stories to the sites that pay for the dirt.  He was polite, but didn’t really believe me so I just bowed out to watch nature take its course.

Now I am finding out that she has been constantly digging up the dirt on her “beloved.” She has gone through his phone, she has gone through his computer, and she has a lot of information to share. She has attacked a woman relentlessly who politely declined to play the role she is currently playing. She’s psychotic.

Here just a few things she has on her equally despicable “mark”.

◦ Very early on, his sisters tried to pay him to send this female back to where she came from and try to get the female who declined “the opportunity” to reconsider. That was never a possibility but the sisters didn’t have the full story.

◦ She was particularly incensed about his will. She was not happy with the beneficiaries.

◦ Some sort of lesbian sex tape with toys. I presume he was on camera but my source was not clear about that.

◦ She was also pissed about him asking people via email about her call girl reputation. She was not working and living with her mother at the time they were introduced.

There is a lot more. He is terrified. He’s tried on multiple occasions to break up with her but she is threatening to sell stories. Oddly, that is the very thing I warned him about months and months ago. At least I tried, and honestly, knowing what I know now, that I didn’t know then, I’m hoping these two drag each other to death. Neither one of them need to be breathing our air unless it is behind bars. At least we know that neither of them will be on out TV again unless it’s on the news about their court cases.

See You Next Tuesday has a significant meaning for this blind. Because she will be speaking unsupervised next Tuesday. And she’s a loose cannon. Expect bizarre social media posts from him on Tuesday as well and more from me as soon as I get the tea.

So here’s the deal…and be prepared for potential **spoilers** in this post. It has been rumored that Ashley Jacobs, Thomas Ravenel’s girlfriend and the Southern Charm “villain” of the season, is not just a Cali girl but a call girl!!!!

I’m not sure that I’m “buying it” personally, but in the episodes ahead, you may very well see one of the other ladies in the cast bring it up to the group.

At this stage, rumors are just rumors, and of course, there has been smoke —but is there fire? That question could very likely be the cliff-hanger of the current season. If Thomas Ravenel and Ashley Jacobs are kaput post reunion (meaning: not slated to return next season), we’ll be left with a lot that is unanswered. The reunion is being filmed tomorrow – hence the reference above to “Tuesday.”

I’m sorry to disappoint readers, but I am doubtful we’ll get our answers to the “call girl” question. Thomas’s contract actually expires after the reunion, and we do not know (and frankly, it seems DOUBTFUL) if it will be renewed for another season.

The friend who introduced Ashley to the show is said to be Landon Clements (a cast member from last season). Rumor has it (and again, keep in mind the above disclaimer about rumors merely being rumors) that after Ashley went through Thomas’s emails, she concluded that a former Ravenel girlfriend of just one week, Luzanne Otte, was to blame for the cast’s dislike of her.

It has also been alleged that Landon assisted in planting these particular seeds of doubt in her friend Ashley’s mind.

In the next few episodes of Southern Charm, you will see Ashley and Thomas’s relationship deteriorate as Ashley is plagued by insecurities. Thomas does little to reassure her (or to be nice at all, in my opinion).

It seems he “checked out” earlier on when his new squeeze attacked Kathryn, who impressively maintained her composure amidst the volatility.

From what one can decipher in the item, Tamra Tattles tried to warn Thomas that Ashley might have found allies in a group of curmudgeons running a revenge-slanted blog.

Twitter users have noted that said blog has been the only outlet to praise Thomas amidst multiple sexual assault allegations. It has also been pointed out that the site unabashedly slut-shamed the daughter of a Ravenel sexual assault victim, deliberately posting one sexy photo after another of her (she’s a model and realtor) between article paragraphs. The intention is beyond transparent.

Before the sexual assault allegations garnered media attention, Ashley Jacobs allegedly went on a tear: She blamed TRav’s ex Luzanne Otte (the ONE WEEK “relationship” gal who ended things with Thomas after witnessing absurd and temperamental behavior) for animosity she felt from cast mates.

Sources claim Ashley fed the aforementioned blog many of the stories they ended up running. This was much to the dismay of privacy-craving Luzanne Otte, a woman who would never go on realty TV and who would really rather that folks not even know her name. Unfortunately, she was forced to go public in order to clear it.

You will see in the episodes ahead how Ashley’s relationship with Thomas Ravenel unravels. I was informed that Ashley even asked Shep Rose if he would date her – should things not pan out with Thomas.

What else would she possibly do in Charleston otherwise?

You’ll get the sense that she would really like a reason to stay.

Tamara alludes to the fact that Thomas’s family members had suggested Ashley go back to Santa Barbara and that might have been the best move, but the harder things have gotten, the stronger Ashley has fought to stand her ground and stay.

There are implications in the above blind item that Ashley has some secrets she’s keeping about Thomas (the “lesbian sex tape”, whatever that entails, may be a part of it…or it might not be). There is so much more to Thomas (risqué sexcapades? More information about sexual assaults? Other TRav troubles? The manner in which Ashley and TRav truly met?) that Ashley seems to know. She may be lording all of that knowledge over him, essentially blackmailing him to stay in the relationship and allow her to remain in his home.

Again, all of the above is ALLEGED, but pay special attention to the dynamics between Thomas and Ashley in the coming episodes.

If I’m interpreting things correctly, Tamara Tattles tried to forewarn Thomas about the mess that lay ahead…whatever it is exactly.

It seems quite clear that the issued warning went unheeded. The blind item implies that Thomas may be desperate to break up with Ashley.

However, for once, the powerful, affluent, former politician and alpha male of the notorious “All boys club” (a monster of Haymaker Productions’ making) is powerless.

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Cults, Psychology, Uncategorized

#NXIVM: That “Kiss-Ass” New York Times Magazine Piece

Those who know a ton about NXIVM are outraged by yesterday’s New York Times Magazine piece https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/05/30/magazine/sex-cult-empowerment-nxivm-keith-raniere.html. Writer Vanessa Grigoriadis went “inside NXIVM” as much as she possibly could – meaning, as much as the group, which had banned media for 14 years prior to her arrival, would allow.

Her access seemed to have been greatly controlled, and the people she met with (including Nancy Salzman, Clare Bronfman, Keith Raniere and Allison Mack) used carefully crafted language that reflected intense media training.

The result may have been the most positive coverage of NXIVM as an “empowerment group” to date. Which is truly baffling. The lengthy article omitted numerous important negative aspects like the “terrorism by litigation” (Raniere ex Toni Natalie’s term) that Raniere and Bronfman vengefully subjected former members to.

Frank Parlato, the NXIVM publicist- turned NXIVM whistleblower, took to his website The Frank Report (www.FrankReport.com) to document the glaring ironies and inaccuracies in Grigoriadis’s piece. Shortly after, he and I corresponded:

“I think she (Grigoriadis) was selected by Clare Bronfman’s PR team to deliver a positive story for them and she did deliver a positive story for them. This was good public relations work by Bronfman. The problem is: it is a case of too little, too late. Raniere got arrested between the interview and the publication of the story. The story was meant to protect Raniere from getting arrested, show Allison created DOS and that all of it was consensual, but it came out too late which proves that timing is everything in PR. Against the backdrop of negative PR, it hardly moves the needle.”

I then asked a friend of mine what her thoughts were on this article. She is extremely well-versed in NXIVM facts as a voracious reader with a photographic memory. She often refers to herself as an “armchair psychologist” and frequently shares insight with me. She is also fascinated with and keeps current on every aspect of this cult. “It was a very kiss-ass article,” she remarked, “It was like a PR piece and everyone was prepped. Frank (Parlato) must be pissed.”

In fact, Frank Parlato did have a lot more to say:

“…On the other hand, it shows that Bronfman money can even buy a positive story in The NY Times. Lastly, my best laugh came from Raniere crying about Pam Cafritz his late pimp woman. Those were tears on cue. He never showed emotion to his followers when she died. But maybe the tears were real – for himself. Pam could get him the underage and pretty young women workout resorting to branding. Allison replaced her as head pimp and she did not have Cafritz’s talent for pimping and had to use branding. The gentle dove Raniere, crying for his lost love and speaking of the importance of intimacy and love while he lies to a harem telling them each he is going to father their avatar baby. Maybe Trump should hire her PR people.”

It is worth reading The Frank Report to see not only how Frank Parlato himself dissects Grigoriadis’s article, but to note the comments section that is filled with feedback from NXIVM defectors.

A “fluff piece” on NXIVM – at least an article that appears as such – just seems incredibly ill-timed with Raniere’s next hearing scheduled for June 13th…Plus ALL ELSE that’s recently come to light.

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Cults, Uncategorized

#NXIVM: “‘The Bully Grows Up’?”

Bowen Xiao of The Epoch Times recently wrote a piece on Keith Raniere, the cult leader of NXIVM, and specifically what he was like as a child. It turns out that Raniere was a brute, tormenting young girls regularly and generally acting like a braggart. I once worked with a woman who wrote a book titled The Bully Grows Up where you come to understand why the bully harassed other children at the end, and then, you see the change in him for the better as he matures. You learn that he has evolved into a reflective and contrite young adult. Sometimes, just like in that book, our childhood aggressors do mature to become lovely individuals who have learned from their past mistakes…

(Message to me from an online “bully” – AKA anonymous troll. I’d this tweet sounds like utter lunacy, that’s because it is)

(Just a few short months earlier, the same anonymous twitter user was exceedingly friendly in a direct message, complimenting my writing as being “top notch“)

However, when you read the story linked to below, you’ll see how Raniere’s childhood conduct was a precursor to his absurdly volatile behavior as an adult. I always want to believe “It Gets Better” when I hear about child bullies, but there are plenty of adults in the world who continually dispel that notion for me on a daily basis.

Here’s the story of Keith Raniere as a kid:

https://www.theepochtimes.com/exclusive-delving-into-the-childhood-of-nxivms-leader_2540043.html

Special thanks to The Frank Report by Frank Parlato for alerting me to The Epoch Times story.

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Cults, Uncategorized

#NXIVM: Is a Famous Deprogrammer Working on Allison Mack? (The Frank Report)

If you’ve been following this blog for a bit, you’ve no doubt caught on to my fascination with the cult NXIVM, pronounced “Nexium” like the purple pill for heartburn. To refresh: The group started as a multilevel marketing company that started offering professional development courses. However, the cult head Keith Raniere was a master manipulator/brainwasher/hypnotist able to convince followers of the most inane things. He amassed a harem filled with many underage – and underfed – girls. The wealthy Bronfman heiresses joined the group to largely fund it (and ultimately, run it) and actress Allison Mack (of WB’s Smallville) fell hard for Keith’s esoteric jargon claiming to have all of life’s answers.

NXIVM has become the ultimate press tantilizer because it is alleged that Allison Mack recruited women for its DOS (Dominance Over Slave) division. There are so many aspects to NXIVM besides sexual trafficking, but we’ll focus on that one nugget today.

From The Frank Report — FrankReport.com

Is Allison Mack getting deprogrammed by Steve Hassan?

May 27, 2018

Vice.com’s Sarah Berman’s interview with famous cult deprogrammer, Steve Hassan, raises many interesting points. Berman is one of those excellent reporters who takes the time to actually learn about the topics she writes about and is ahead of more than 99 percent of the journalists writing about NXIVM.  A good story to read if you haven’t already.

One of our readers, who used the name Village Diane, made this comment:

“There is a ‘Very Interesting’ tidbit in the Vice article where cult expert Steve Hassan is interviewed about NXIVM. Hassan says he has worked with ex-members. These ex-members report that they have no memory of their very first meeting with Keith. These are 2-4 hour meetings. Hassan thinks Keith used NLP. But I suspect hypnosis, based on Toni Natalie’s experience. Hypnosis is bad enough. But is it also possible that Keith pulled a “Bill Cosby” on them while they were “unconscious?” [i.e. used some kind of drug].

Hassan admitted to Berman that he is working with ex-NXIVM members. His profession forbids him to name who they are.  In fact, he might be working with a current NXIVM member – Allison Mack – who by the terms of her bail is forced away from contact with any NXIVM people past or present.  [Her Vanguard she cannot see or speak to for he in jail awaiting trial].

Mack may be unwillingly enduring deprogramming efforts as a condition imposed by her sadder but much wiser [and poorer] parents.

If this is true, Hassan may do much more than deprogram her. He might save her from years in prison. If Allison could discover a reality that her Vanguard was a selfish, despicable, brute who stole her life from her – she might be more inclined to support the cause of justice and assist the DOJ in their effort to get justice for the many victims of Raniere.

Allison seems to be in that twilight world of being part victim and part victimizer.  She hangs in the balance. That balance could tip toward or against her.  If she assisted the DOJ with honest information and forthright testimony, she might get a reasonable plea offer that could spare her a decade or more in prison. On the other hand if she goes into the night lying for Raniere to save him – as she has been taught or programmed, then I rather doubt she will be acquitted and the sentence will be harsh indeed. It may be 15 years or longer.

Let us pray for Allison and for Hassan.  From what I am told, Allison is a most brainwashed customer.

She would do the most vile evil for the man she believes is all -good Keith Raniere. Is she brainwashed?

***

The Daily Beast has a story about the Perennial Beast – Clare Bronfman.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/sex-slaves-branding-and-blackmail-graphic-court-docs-shed-light-on-nxivm-sex-cult

***

Salinas Connection with Clinton?

A reader, Empty Wood writes — Mr Parlato, not sure if you are aware but this was released recently.

http://media.aclj.org/pdf/Full-Clinton-Email-production-Mar-Apr.pdf

New Clinton state dept emails.  In it is a peculiar one between Doug Band (Clinton foundation) and Huma Abedin that mentions Salinas.

I thought of NXIVM immediately.  Anyway, hope it helps.

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Lena
May 27, 2018 at 9:35 am

I really hope this article is true and that Allison really is getting deprogrammed–if she can understand and acknowledge how she’s been hurt by Keith and in turn hurt others, that should jar her into reality and then she can cooperate fully with the authorities.

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Is Allison Mack getting deprogrammed by Steve Hassan?Part 7 Secret Salinas- Zarattini tapes: Emiliano explains how he learned about collateral from woman who made sex tape of herself to stay skinnyLongtime NXIVM member & salon owner, Alayne Curtiss – wants her ex employees to be silent about her role in NXIVM or else!The old gang is fast disappearing in Clifton Park – and what about the wedding of Michelle Salzman and Ben MeyersSo much for NXIVM closing down- Nancy Salzman now seeking 15 students to coach for $10,000 per month each

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Personal Essays, Uncategorized

The Brace

As a new school year started, teachers debuted new haircuts and new curricula, leaves changed in the recess field, and in seventh grade, bra straps showed through diaphanous Ts. It was the pre-Claire Danes era of 1987, yet it was “my so-called life.” I walked up the steps to my new classroom, ramrod straight lest my big plastic secret rear its ugly head.

While former awkward ducklings turned into pre-pubescent swans around me, while retainers and headgears were discarded to the dismay of thriving orthodontists, while Accutane showed promise but still no risk, I remained the Outsider. In an oversized rugby, a cornstarched body underneath a cotton tanktop, to protect me from what was underneath all that — an underarm back brace — I prayed to be invisible.

I had been wearing the brace for a year now, and I never stopped being on high alert, not for one iota of a millisecond.

“Hey Shira, what’s that?” Knock, knock. “Oh, never mind. Ha ha ha!” The blood would rush to my face when I realized that the knocking was on my brace, and then I felt drained of that blood. I couldn’t possibly stand any straighter to hide it. They knew.

The taunts from “the clique” (our terms for the most popular girls and boys of the grade) were few because mostly they left me completely alone. Being seen speaking with me would be the social kiss of death. I was one of the nerds and not worthy of their time, so teasing carried risk to one’s social status.

Then that summer I went to camp. The kids were different there. They thought I had beautiful eyes and told me so, they saw that I was sincere and kind, and they saw me. Still, I couldn’t seem to stand up straighter, and sometimes, I would rebelliously stash the brace under my bed and leave the bunk without it just to be free. A weight was lifted during those times, and I had to remind myself to act free and shake the stiffness.

The other girls my age were wearing their first bras, so I, too, strategically placed my bra straps so that they would show. I was a cool girl now, and I was growing up with the rest of them.

But once fall started again, new teachers came in with new attitudes, and the same students from the year before ignored me. It seemed that the teachers favored them for being pretty and having minds unmuddled by confidence issues. Those minds were the tabula rasa for excellent grades, and those students exuded exclusivity.

Every Friday night, my mother reminded me that I had only one school year to go, that I would be entering high school soon, and, she reminded me, I still had to wear the brace. It was correcting the curvature of my spine — my scoliosis — and I was lucky because I would grow up to have a straight spine and great posture and not be an uncomfortable hunchback (she didn’t actually say the last part, but I knew the implications of wearing the brace through its course).

My grandmother cursed the “stinkin’ rotten children” who were making me cry, and I felt that she alone was my true ally. She knew bad times. After all, she had lived through the Great Depression. I compared my new bully, a male classmate who had begun the ritual of kicking me under the desk (hard!), to Adolf Hitler without worrying about the hyperbole, and we bonded some more.

I chose the high school that was furthest away, the one that nobody from my class was considering. I didn’t pay attention to any other details about it except that it was the most remote and unlikely choice for a fellow classmate. While the new school had an ideology that was furthest from my own, I didn’t care. I made friends, and shortly after starting my first semester, I got great news: I only had to wear the brace at night. My secret could really be my secret now; no one had a chance of seeing it poke out in the rare moment when I forgot to stand robotically erect.

And then I found boys. I was in an all-girls school, but I met members of the opposite gender through friends. I enjoyed flirting and being admired and finding out what the opposite sex really thought of me when they didn’t know. There was definitely “a type” of boy and then, eventually, young man that I liked. In short: a jerk. It was time to make the boy who kicked me under the table sorry; it was time to make him see me for who I really was..

Unsurprisingly, that didn’t work out too well, and in retrospect, it was a short-lived phase.

At 15, the brace was fully off, but I still felt braced, guarded, insecure. I wondered if the popular-seeming people found me interesting enough, and I wondered so much that my thinking was cloudy. I was blocked, and some saw that I was blocked — and distanced themselves. And I did a little dance: withdraw, act free, withdraw, act free. I was inconsistent and puzzling to the people around me. Yet, I did make a few good friends, and eventually, I stopped caring about being popular and just focused on those great friendships. And then, I stopped thinking about how I was acting. And soon it wasn’t acting; it was being.

Eventually, I made many friends and more friendly acquaintances, and I realized that once I had shed my consciousness of social status and being popular, I actually was popular.

I also came to discover what a great relationship with a man consisted of, and although I continued to make mistakes in that department (off and on until prior to meeting my husband), I changed my tune — and my “type.”

I still have dreams about the brace. I threw it out so long ago, in a garbage can outside my parents’ home (I didn’t even wonder if it needed to be in recycling), but as clear as day it shows up some nights.

It is there when I meet new people whom I am unsure about. It is there when my judgement is questioned, when my children’s teachers chastise me for being late to pick-up. It is there when I accentuate my figure and realize that I’m accentuating my figure because I want to show it, because I hid it for so long when I was younger (and later on, in pregnancies). It is there when I question why I haven’t accomplished all my professional goals or why I haven’t published the novel I wrote in 2001. It is there as I write this now and wonder what you’ll think. You see, I can’t stop bracing myself.

Under my arm, cutting into my skin, velcroed behind my back, the memory is vivid.

It is there, but it is also not.

(Photo by Scoliosis Support on Instagram)

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