Koppel: There's a little bit of a problem in getting people to talk critically about the Scientology because, quite frankly, they're scared.
Miscavige: Oh, no, no, no, no.
Koppel: Well, I'm telling you--
Miscavige: No, no, no, no. Let me tell you--
Koppel: I'm telling you people are scared.
Miscavige: Let me explain something to you. The most disingenuous thing is that you have those people. Now, let's not give the American public the wrong impression.
Rathbun described the atmosphere in the studio that day. "It was pretty -- electric..." he said.
"Quite frankly," Miscavige told Koppel, "from my view, a lot of the people who have written stories on Scientology are doing it from a certain pitch, they already have their story somewhat made up."
But these former senior Scientologists say as Miscavige's leadership progressed, he became increasingly eccentric.
"He got his beagle and he literally had somebody tailor a blue vest sweater for his beagle dog and made up epaulets, these Sea Org ranks in the Sea Organization," said Rathbun, referring to the religious order within the Church. "And he had four stripes put on, captain, for the dog. And he would bring the dog in. And if those guys didn't salute the dog, he would just viciously berate them and invalidate them."
Amy Scobee gave her account. "[Miscavige] comes with his dog, with a sweater, with commander stripes. And, the dog let out a little bark when she saw me. And, uh, David Miscavige said, you know ... 'You've got somethin' goin' on. Because sh ... she is detecting out ethics. And you have something going on.' I think what the dog was really saying is, you know, 'You look like the only halfway sane person to me. Help me outta this outfit.'"
We asked Davis about the story:
Nightline: One former member says that Mr. Miscavige had a vest tailored for his dog with epaulets similar to those that would be worn by SeaOrg members, and he would order staffers to salute the dog.
Davis: That is utterly, completely, totally ridiculous.
Nightline: Your own reaction was one of complete disbelief, I think it's fair to say.
Davis: Totally, because it's unbelievable.
Nightline: And yet, there are consistencies between individuals who observed the dog, dressed in a particular way ...
Nightline: ... and a particular breed. Amy Scobee also confirms that Mr. Miscavige would bring his dog around dressed like a uniformed member and if the dog barked, she says, he would suggest that the individual towards whom the dog barked was behaving badly, had some kind of negative problem. Is that true?
Davis: I don't know. I mean maybe we should have the dog come in here and see if it barks at you, Martin. (Laughs.)
Marty Rathbun, who spent 27 years in the Church of Scientology, says it was more serious than a uniformed dog. He says he personally saw its leader, David Miscavige, strike subordinates on numerous occasions, including senior colleague Tom De Vocht.
"Miscavige walks in and goes -- asks Tom some question and there's the slightest lag in his response," said Rathbun. "Miscavige just takes off across the room in front of 80 people and get -- delivered -- just a ... beating to the guy. I mean, beat him up bad."