Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 4, Issue 13
by Rod Keller
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review summarizes the most significant postings from the Usenet group Alt.religion.scientology for the preceding week for the benefit of those who can't follow the group as closely as they'd like. Out of thousands of postings, I attempt to include news of significant events, new affidavits, court rulings, new contributors, whatever. I hope you find it useful. Like many readers of a.r.s, I have a kill file. So please take into consideration that I may not have seen some of the most significant postings.
The articles in A.r.s Week in Review are brief summaries of articles posted to the newsgroup. They include message IDs for the original articles, and many have a URL to get more information. You may be able to find the original article, depending on how long your site stores articles in the newsgroup before expiring them.
Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available, just email me at
A Piece of Blue Sky
The San Jose Business Journal published letters to the editor this week
concerning their story on the reversal Amazon's decision to not sell Jon
Atack's book, A Piece of Blue Sky.
"It's difficult for me to believe that a 'business journal,' as you call yourself, could print the article 'Church of Scientology vs. Amazon.com.' Mr. Taylor is obviously in no position to write such an article. He is so patently biased he's practically gibbering. I could almost see him trembling with hate as he wrote his little snippet. That's an example of 'business reporting'?
"Dan Osborne Vancouver, Canada
"Thanks for having the courage to publish the excellent editorial by Dennis Taylor. Hope you don't have too much of a hassle from the Scientologists afterward. Those who felt positively about the editorial indubitably outnumbered the rest, but they may have been too afraid of Scientology's notorious litigiousness/harassment of critics to write.
"Paulette Cooper Author 'Scandal of Scientology'"
Information on a company that performs Scientology-style public relations
was posted anonymously to a.r.s this week.
"WE STOP ATTACKS ON YOUR CLIENT'S LINES! Bauer Enterprises: Professional, Experienced, Effective Investigations * Black PR Handlings * Public Relations
"Our Services Include: * A complete, professional, investigation. * A stopped attack. * Restoration of your client's good name and professional standing. * Creation of a safer and happier working environment and personal life for your client."
Birgitta Dagnell reported on the efforts to discredit a film shown recently on Danish channel DR2 about Scientology.
"In this 'Frihed' (Freedom) they are masters in twisting the truth 180 degrees around and are going into serious personal attacks on me, Jesse Prince, Ake Wiman, the production team: Jorgen Pedersen, Lisbeth Lyngse, Karin Hoegh, Ursula Caberta of Germany, Valdemar Christensen from FRI (Swedish association similar to the early CAN) and others.
"Annette Refstrup - OSA DK: 'The first sign that it should not become a balanced programme came when we found out that the most important source for information to DR2 was Birgitta Dagnell. Dagnell is not a Dane and not a scientologist and she was thrown out of the church for almost 15 years ago for breaking the ethical standards of Scn. Since then she has been hostile to new religious movements and she has been working together with Ake Wiman who has been participating in violent assaults on members of minority religions. It was not long ago when Dagnell showed up in Copenhagen together with Wiman. They were standing outside the CoS and ridiculed and insulted scio's, hoping to catch the interest of media.'
"Ake Wiman has never been participating in any violence, but they are using this lie over and over and even been spreading it in form of flyers in the mailboxes of his neighbors. One and half full page is about Jesse Prince violent and sexual nature and I am too bored to trying to translate all the slanderous accusations."
Catarina Pamnell described Scientology's unsuccessful efforts to stop the program from airing again.
"From today's news on Denmark's main television channel, DR1: 'Scientology did not succeed in getting a court order prohibiting the rerun of a critical documentary on the cult. The district court of Gladsaxe did not agree with the cult that there are defamatory and 'peace-disturbing' sequences in the program. Therefore, DR2's special theme Saturday show on Scientology will be aired again as planned at 13.50 on Saturday [June 26th] on DR1. Scientology is especially displeased with a reconstruction of the 'auditing' of a child. The cult asserts that 'the way it is portrayed is as if you would portray a Christian baptizing as an attempt to drown the baby'.'
"The 'child auditing' sequence demonstrates security checking of children according to HCOB 21 Sep 'Security Check Children'. DR1 (Denmark's Radio 1) is the main Danish television channel, and can also be viewed by many Swedes."
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe voted unanimously to adopt recommendations on
dealing with cults in Europe.
"Whatever the beliefs held by certain groups of a religious, esoteric, or spiritual nature, one should only consider the activities carried out in the name of these beliefs. The activities of groups of a religious, esoteric or spiritual nature must be in keeping with the principles of our democratic societies. Information is of prime importance and must be directed in particular towards teenagers within the framework of school curricula. The protection of the most vulnerable members of society, in particular the children of followers of groups of a religious, esoteric or spiritual nature, is another priority.
"Therefore, the Assembly calls on the governments of member states: where necessary, to set up or support independent national or regional information centres on groups of a religious, esoteric or spiritual nature; to include information on the history of important schools of thought and of religion in general school curricula; to use the normal procedures of criminal and civil law against illegal practices carried out in the name of groups of a religious, esoteric or spiritual nature; where necessary, to encourage the setting up of non-governmental organisations for the victims, or the families of victims, of religious, esoteric or spiritual groups, particularly in eastern and central European countries; to encourage an approach to new religious groups which will bring about understanding, tolerance, dialogue and resolution of conflicts; to take firm steps against any actions which are discriminatory or marginalise minority groups."
>From a press release of the Council:
"The COUNCIL OF EUROPE Parliamentary Assembly today adopted, unanimously, a Recommendation which gives priority to the prevention against dangerous sects. 'Major legislation on sects is undesirable', the Assembly reiterated during a debate organised during its summer session. It was vital to have access to reliable, objective information on these groups, directed in particular at teenagers within the framework of school curricula and at the children of followers of groups of a religious, esoteric or spiritual nature.
"The Assembly also requested that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe set up a European Observatory on groups of a religious, esoteric or spiritual nature, to make it easier for national centres to exchange information. The Council of Europe should also take action to promote the setting up of information centres in central and eastern European countries.
>From Neue Zuercher Zeitung, on June 23rd:
"On Tuesday in Strassburg, the Council of Europe called for the establishment of national aid organization for sect victims and their family members. The creation of this type of organization is said to be especially necessary in east European countries, according to a unanimous decision by the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe. Besides that, the members of parliament demanded increased public information on the activities of religious, esoteric and spiritual groups. In this manner they are to get an idea of encroachments like abuse, neglect, indoctrination and brainwashing. Before the debate the American Congress had written a letter to the representatives of the 41 countries who form the Council of Europe requesting that they vote against this decision."
Die Welt reported on June 22nd on the rise of cult involvement,
Scientology in particular, in European businesses.
"More and more of the approximately 60 French sects have developed into highly profitable businesses, the report continues. In the lead are the Jehovah's Witnesses with an estimated yearly profit of 60 million marks. Their property in France alone, which includes about a thousand parcels of real estates, is valued at about 300 million marks. However, the Scientology Organization and the the Sokka Gakkai sect, which stems from Japan, have also recently developed into considerable business undertakings.
"The members of Parliament view as disconcerting the increase of sects which appear under the protective cover of charitable organizations and the increasing difficulty which exists in proving any connection to sects. In France alone, Scientology is said to currently have 114 companies or associations which are bringing in a hefty income - which is disputed by spokesmen for the sect. The bandwidth of [sect] commercial interests is concentrated in the fields of business consulting, professional education, training, information and health. Sect offenses in the area of health are especially disquieting. Here about 3,000 'healers' offer their questionable services in the fight against illnesses such as aids.
"In light of the spiritual and commercial expansion of sects, the members of Parliament are asking the government to deal with the problem. The introduction of criminal code concerning 'mental manipulation' is regarded as necessary as the establishment of public information centers. In doing this, the representatives have reacted to a sensational court decision which took place two years ago in Lyon. In that decision, a court attested that the Scientology organization could claim the designation of 'religion,' and carry out its activities under existing law without worry, including their missionary and even their commercial activity. Apparently this decision will remain an isolated case."
Sindelfinger Zeitung published an article on June 19 on an presentation
led by Ursula Caberta at a Hamburg church.
"The business manager of a mid-ranking company reported on his experiences with a communications course: 'Resistance was broken down, every criticism was isolated.' What he said that was new was that ominous course providers lure their participants into a kind of pyramid scheme - apparently they approach family members and business colleagues in order to learn personal information about new clients.
"Since many, many companies send their staff, and often management, to communications courses, Caberta gave a rule of thumb for today's work world, 'One must be fit and level-headed.' Often it is noticed too late that the course is based on some kind of Scientology. Her advice was that company employees should require the instructor's documents and certificates from the course provider.
"When one man stated that he was both a Christian and a Scientologist, the speakers were unanimous, 'Those are fundamentally exclusive of each other'; in Scientology one is his own creation."
Hamburger Morgenpost Vermischtes published an interview with Caberta on June 23rd.
"What do you think about the Scientology Center being torn down?
"Caberta: That's great! Internally and externally the building has a high symbolic value for the Scientologists. Their Hamburg organization was once the most successful in the world - today it's probably more like a tail light.
"They're still not out of the city. They are making an effort to find substitute quarters which are just as good. If financially wealthy members of Scientology should make a new building available to them, then we'll have to start the next round.
"How can sellers or renters protect themselves against Scientologists?
"Caberta: They should ask for a written statement that the building is not being operated in accordance with Hubbard technology."
Hamburger Morgenpost also reported on June 23rd that the Scientology building in Hamburg is being planned for demolition.
"The owner of the Scientology Center on Steindamm has filed a demolition application. Yesterday evening the downtown City Planning Committee was already conducting a hearing on the new construction of an office building in St. Georg. A 50 meter high office building is to be erected on the parcel with one-third of its space zoned residential - this is the same height as the Philips building. The demolition application for what is now a sect building could be approved by the planning committee as early as June or July - the wrecking balls could be swinging by Fall. The city planner absolutely wants to avoid uninvited guests making their way into St. Georg. Gero stated, 'We absolutely want to rule out the possibility that the Scientologists will build a new palace there.'
"The psycho-firm has already been served with a notice to vacate because of rent past due, allegedly in the amount of millions of marks. The owner of the real estate at 63 Steindamm, formerly a Scientologist himself, had left the U.S. organization. Other former members are using seizure orders to demand a refund for the expensive Scientology courses.
"Whereas 220 full or part-time staff were formerly being paid by the Hamburg 'Org,' in 1998 the psycho-sect reported only about a hundred full-time staff, according to a Constitutional Security report: 'The Hamburg Scientology Organization no longer has the importance it once had in previous years.'"
>From Hamburger Abendblatt Lokales, on June 23rd:
"The Scientologists have already ruled out moving into the new building as renters. Spokeswoman Gisela Hackenjos said, 'Our goal is to find something better in a different part of Hamburg, the roof is leaking here worse and worse.' Hackenjos replied that her organization had already given notice at the start of the year due to outstanding rent and has been presented with a notice to vacate from the approximately 3,000 square meters of space: 'When we go, then we'll go because we wanted to.'"
Grady Ward reported this week that Scientology has withdrawn its request
for a deposition of Bob Minton.
"Just when RTC was going ahead to depose Bob Minton on June 29, 1999 in Boston, Massachusetts, they called it off late this afternoon, saying now they wanted to wait for Magistrate Infante's ruling on the matter on or after July 12, 1999. It might have had something to do with my filings in the District Court in Boston and in San Jose mentioning that Judge Fogel had ordered them in a ruling on February 19, 1999 to submit discovery disputes to Magistrate Infante rather than anywhere else. "
Lisa Marie Presley
Star magazine reported this week that Scientology celebrity Lisa Marie
Presley is planning a wedding ceremony at Flag.
"Thrilled Lisa Marie Presley is pulling out all the stops for her wedding to Luke Watson--and no one's happier than her mom Priscilla Presley. It will be the first full-scale wedding for Elvis' little girl, who will be walking down the aisle for the third time. Sources say the couple plan to wed in August at the Scientology Celebrity Center in Clearwater, Fla.
"The handsome Watson, 30 - who is one of her ex-hubby Danny's best friends - originally entered Lisa Marie's life when he was assigned by the Church of Scientology a year ago to watch her kids. 'It started out as an employer-employee relationship, but it quickly blossomed into a full-blown love affair,' says a source close to the couple. In May, the couple were spotted holding hands and cuddling at a Scientology function held in Palm Desert, Calif."
An update was posted to a.r.s this week from Sue Morgan, who sued
Scientologist Dentist Dr. Roger N. Carlsten in Providence, RI.
"I just wanted to let you know the latest with my case. My lawyer withdrew due to my inability to fund the appeal. I ultimately decided that I would be unable to take it on myself so I have reluctantly withdrawn my appeal. To top it all off the esteemed Judge Alice Gibney saw fit to award trial costs to the defendant in the amount of $2400."
Protest / Revenge Summary
Dave Bird posted a report on leafleting efforts near Scientology's London
"Yesterday we opened up our second crate of leaflets and started on London bOrg. I met the Big Fellah at the north end of Tottenham Court Road 09:30 and we worked from 09:45 to 10:45 leafleting our first block of streets. The we met Martin Poulter at a coffee shop and did a further two hours 11:30 - 13:30 with Martin doing his own separate small block. Finally after a pub lunch we did about another hour, hour and a half, though to 16:00 or so, ending up with a visit to the bOrg to give them a copy. We delivered 1600+ of our 2400 'cult in your neighbourhood' leaflets door to door, plus several hundred photocopies of the news article on Bonnie Woods' court victory. All around the Org's neighbourhood. We will come back and do the remaining third either as street leafleting, or more distant door to door, fairly soon."
Jeff Jacobsen reported revenge flyers at a dance party he was working.
"While I was DJ'ing last night at a nice Phoenix hotel here, someone was putting flyers in the bathrooms and in the lobby. These anonymous flyers were tri-folded. The sides were like this:
"'Years of Persecution. Attention Christian Singles. A Warning to Christian Singles. Your religious freedom is in jeopardy Jeff Jacobsen, Your DJ, is a known persecutor of religions, and religious freedom. WILL YOUR CHURCH BE NEXT?'
"So after somebody told me about the flyers I went and gathered them up. No idea who put them out, but I have an idea that the church of Scientology was involved."
"Xenubat" reported on a protest in Minneapolis this week.
"We met by the org at about 6 pm; Xenu had a sign saying (I think) 'Scientology is a $360,000 space alien cult - www.xenu.net' on one side, and I think the other side was about 'Two felony indictments in death of Lisa McPherson'; he also had a bunch of copies of the Xemu flyer. I had my standard 'Scientology: Space Alien Scam'/'Does the Bridge Really Cost $360,000?' sign and was wearing my 'Who Is Xemu?' T-shirt; I also had copies of the 'Insane Cult' and 'Space Alien Scam' flyers.
"About 5 minutes after we got there, a middle-aged woman staffer who I'd seen at several other pickets came out and went up to us; she first addressed me 'Well, how long are you guys going to be out here for?' Xenu answered, 'Well, probably till we run out of flyers!' 'OK, then' she said, then went back into the org. Then another older woman who I'd seen at an earlier picket, a public named Laurie, I think came out to confront us, saying she could find out our histories and find out everything about us, and I think she told Xenu she was going to follow him to his car! She then said that OT-3 was *not* about Xenu and the dead space aliens and that we were all wrong about that, too. Xenu then asked her about Operation Freakout, and she denied that also."
Joe Cisar protested at the Washington, DC org.
"Three scientologists came out of the service center and tied up a big 3 x 12 foot Dianetics banner. Two other Scientologists came out, each with a big bunch of orange and purple balloons. Two more Scientologists were setting up a chart stand on the grass behind the wall to advertise the OCA test and several more were walking around with clipboards. Dozens of pretty orange and purple Dianetics books were stacked in tidy piles of three on the brick wall outside the front door of the service center, the top book set slightly off center so you could see part of the book underneath. As I was enjoying this rather aesthetic, bustling drama, Arnie came up to me and said, 'Well it looks like it's you and me, everybody else called off because of the heat.'
"There were a dozen Scientologist handlers and another dozen Scientologist 'chance' walk-bys. The poor white Scientologists were out in full force, expecting the largest picket ever. I got three handlers and Arnie got three. Another three leaned up against the wall and the last three stood by the main door.
"Matt told me to be sure and point out in my report that I had walked by people who did not take the leaflets I was handing out. As I mentioned, there were about a dozen pale Scientologists walking about incommunicado steadfastly ignoring me. Most of them left as soon as the real publics started passing by and complementing mine and Arnie's signs, giving thumbs up and honks, etc.
"It is possible that Matt was trying to sound vaguely threatening when he said 'Have you ever had anybody step on your toes, I mean really step on your toes.' The purpose of questions like this is to make you feel alone and threatened so that you will not tell people about Scientology. So I answered, 'Isn't that an auditing question?' and pretty much accused him of squirreling.
"I'm afraid I spoiled the mood once though after a crippled guy went past and I said to my anxious Scientology escorts, 'Can Scientology help him?' Gosh things got real quiet real quickly, almost peaceful. Or it would have been quiet except for the pop of the orange and purple balloons. They were spontaneously bursting, one by one, from the heat."
>From Arnie Lerma:
"Locals admired my red SCIENTOLOGY KILLS T shirt.. During the picket I was needled, about Victoria leaving. One exceptionally obnoxious german they had on display suggested that I could not get it up anymore. I asked him if he had been thrown out of Germany as a fascist. And suggested he ask Suzette Hubbard for her opinion.
"If Scientology is expanding, why are we dealing with the same old crew? No new faces on the front line. Unless the front line are folks they consider expendable."
Tagblatt Lokales reported on June 22nd that the city of Buchs stands firm
in its refusal to allow Scientology to recruit in public.
"In spite of reactions from Scientology, the Buchs Community Council is sticking to its fundamental decision from the end of May: Scientology may not use public land for unfair and deceptive recruitment of pedestrians. According to a release issued on Monday, the Community Council supports a Basel criminal code. Scientology filed an objection to this standard with the Federal Court. The objection, which is still pending, does not have the effect of delaying the enforcement of the code, said the press release. Buchs is taking restrictive measures against the Scientology Church along with the cities of Wil and Lausanne. Since March 1998, Lausanne has banned any public activity by Scientology in the city. The city based their decision on the activity of the organization being 'overboard' in the several weeks prior. However, Lausanne had to ease up on this prohibition. Since the end of June 1998, Scientology may recruit twice a month on St. Francois Place."
Stuttgarter Nachrichten reported on June 22 that Switzerland has postponed the trial of a German government agent caught trying to obtain information about Scientology.
"The proceedings against a former Constitutional Security agent from Stuttgart who is alleged to have illegally been gathering information on the controversial Scientology organization has been postponed. One of the participants in the process was said to be indisposed. Apparently this was a reference to the co-accused, Odette Jaccard. A source stated that the respected Swiss sect critic was seriously ill. The charge is 'political espionage.' Jaccard is alleged to have handed over information on the Scientology organization, which had been directing its activities in Suedbaden [Germany] from Basel [Switzerland], to the Constitutional Security agent."
Tages-Anzeiger Lokales reported on June 23rd that Scientology has moved into a new center in Zurich.
"In a surprise coup the Scientologists, over the weekend, transformed the Neuburger Dependance Sports Shop on 41 Badener Street by the Stauffacher streetcar stop into an information and test center. Passersby and surrounding shop owners were surprised on Monday morning when they discovered the new show window with the advertisement for the sect. As at Albisrieden, the Scientologists had succeeded in keeping the operation under wraps. However they have already been promised trouble, because even the lessors themselves knew nothing about their renters when the contract was signed, because the Scientologists just sub-let from Neuburger. The real estate company reacted on Monday by giving notice.
"Max Kuenzing, President of the Aussersihl District Association, described the entire operation by the Scientologists as bottomless impertinence. Kuenzig is afraid that many pedestrians will now avoid Stauffacher to keep from being annoyed by the proselytizing Scientologists. He also believes the Scientologists are insolent in having rented in a building which also houses the Church Aid Center for the Unemployed and the ministry for people with cerebral and mental handicaps. These could turn into sect victims, as if they don't have it bad enough already.
"Some of the shop owners and staff of the nearby businesses are afraid that the proselytizing Scientologists could annoy their customers on the street. 'The talk of the day by our customers goes, 'My, but you've gotten some beautiful neighbors, there,' said a saleslady at a dress shop. She forecasts catastrophe, 'There will certainly be a negative effect on sales.' The manager of a different shop was afraid to make a comment, 'I am saying nothing about that.'"
The Calgary Herald published an article on Scientology celebrity John
Travolta's new movie, Battlefield Earth, now revealed as the first of two
"For years, John Travolta has wanted to produce a film version of Battlefield Earth, the epic science-fiction novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. But Travolta says people are wrong if they perceive the project -- which finally starts shooting this summer in Montreal -- as a piece of Scientology propaganda. 'This is not about him -- it's a science-fiction story,' Travolta protests. He says many people don't realize that Hubbard was a major writer of science fiction and fantasy before he founded the Church of Scientology. He started writing in 1937 and in 1938 got his first sci-fi deal with a big book company. This is what he did initially to make a living and it's how he was able to finance his research into Scientology years later.'
"Travolta, one of Hollywood's most prominent Scientologists, says Battlefield Earth was Hubbard's biggest success, and continues to sell well in 23 countries. 'We're talking about a monster book, and to me that has nothing to do with Scientology.'"
>From The Rocky Mountain News:
"Even Travolta's well-publicized commitment to Scientology doesn't seem to have hurt his career, although that will soon be put to the test. He's the driving force behind Battlefield: Earth, a science- fiction epic that begins filming in July. It's based on a novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. You wonder whether audiences will be put off by the movie's pedigree. 'Once people see the movie, they'll realize it has nothing to do with the other subject matter (Scientology),' Travolta said. 'The biggest audience for the movie is a sci-fi audience. Only the media will try to collapse the two (the movie and Scientology). I'll be playing a 9-foot-tall alien who's as wicked as any you've ever seen. I'm going to play the role on stilts. They'll be 3 feet tall or something like that. Next week I'm going to do a screen test to see whether I can function on stilts. 'I didn't write any part of the movie. You should know that we're doing half the book - 500 pages. The second part will be a sequel.'"
The Independent published an article this week on the legal background of
Bonnie Woods' victory over Scientology in a London courtroom.
"Represented by a solicitor from Chichester and specialist counsel, both acting pro bono (free of charge), Mrs Woods issued libel proceedings against Cosreci and the individuals who handed out the leaflet. Cosreci counterclaimed, based on the 'What the Scientologists don't tell you' leaflet. They claimed that Mrs Woods had libelously called Scientology a 'bogus religion'. Cosreci later issued a similar action in 1996, based on a leaflet distributed by Mrs Woods (among others) promoting a television documentary critical of Scientology.
"Mrs Woods' original solicitor stopped acting in 1995. She complained of harassment by Scientologists, allegations that Cosreci vigorously deny. In 1996, she was on the point of capitulation, overwhelmed with the volume of work and the stress of court hearings. However, a friend referred her to Liberty, the human rights organisation. Liberty considered that the case raised issues of freedom of speech and, as a member of Liberty's pro bono panel, Allen & Overy took up the baton.
"A single category of documents had the most dramatic impact on the case. In America, Bonnie Woods had completed a number of Scientology's secret 'upper level' courses. She felt that these documents were of crucial importance and applied for a court order that Cosreci should produce them. The application was fiercely resisted. Despite this opposition, the court believed that production of the documents was necessary. However, rather than face this or a potentially lengthy appeal, Cosreci discontinued their two claims against Mrs Woods last summer.
"The court looked at the rarely used defamation defence of qualified privilege arising from 'reply to attack'. Can a defamatory reply be privileged (and therefore immune from suit unless it is malicious), even if the original attack is true? Arguably yes, said the court. In claims for aggravated damages against joint tortfeasors, must the level of damages be fixed by reference to the conduct of the least blameworthy? Arguably not, said the Court of Appeal.
"In the end, the points of law were of secondary importance to Mrs Woods. Of more relevance to her were the damages and the public apology that she received from Cosreci to end her six-year ordeal."
A film by Mark Bunker shot at the Hollywood opening of John Travolta's
film The General's Daughter was listed in Film Threat, a newsletter and
web site of alternative film.
"If you were not able to attend the world premiere of 'The General's Daughter' last week, don't fret -- Xenu TV brings it to you on the web. Xenu TV is the creation of documentary filmmaker Mark Bunker who is using his talents to create the ultimate doc on the world of Scientology. Bunker and his crew brought along Scientology's evil overlord Xenu to meet John Travolta. Or a guy dressed as Xenu. Travolta was not amused. Next stop -- The 'Eyes Wide Shut' premiere with Tom and Nichole."