RHONY Newbie Rebecca Minkoff is Allegedly a Hardcore Scientologist Who Was Also Friends With Danny Masterson

by Adam Ragsdale Comments
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RHONY Newbie Rebecca Minkoff is Allegedly a Hardcore Scientologist Who Was Also Friends With Danny Masterson

Credit: JOHN EDDY/INSTARimages.com

A Real Housewives of New York newbie is already embroiled in scandalous allegations.

Rebecca Minkoff, who’s reportedly joining the season 15 cast in an unspecified role, has drama that extends far beyond her relationships with co-stars.

According to The Daily Mail, Rebecca’s family – including her mother Sue, her father Dr. David Minkoff, and her brother Uri (who’s also her business partner) – is one of the most powerful in The Church of Scientology.

Per The Underground Bunker, the Minkoffs have contributed millions of dollars to the organization and earned a “Diamond Meritorious’ award for reaching $5 million in donations.

Rebecca reportedly was raised in the church and credits Scientologist Jenna Elfman for putting her fashion brand in the public eye.

She was also reportedly friends with Danny Masterson, who’s now in prison after getting convicted of rape. Past photos of her with Danny can be seen on Rebecca’s Facebook. Their friendship allegedly began decades ago, and they were photographed together all the way back in 2004.

The Daily Mail reported that her father paid $100,000 over a wrongful death lawsuit involving Lisa McPherson, a Scientologist who passed away at the age of 36 in 1995. Initially, her death was declared to be caused by a pulmonary embolism due to “rest and severe dehydration.”

Lisa allegedly died two weeks after she was discovered nude and dazed in a street after a minor traffic accident. Then, EMS and law enforcement brought her to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation and treatment.

A police officer claimed Lisa was babbling something about “having a hard time at the church,” and she was asked several times to respond coherently. Though hospital staff told Lisa to stay and get more treatment because it was in her “best medical interest,” she allegedly was adamant about departing with three Scientologists who showed up to visit her.

For the following 17 days, Lisa allegedly stayed in a hotel room, being watched round-the-clock by staff from the church, which included a teenager. And none of the staff was allowed to talk to her while she recovered.

“After the first week, she routinely urinated and defecated on herself and rarely slept,” said a 1998 indictment by the state of Florida against the Church of Scientology, detailing her alleged state at the time. “She had conversations with people who were not there, claimed to be people she was not, sang and danced around the room as if giving a performance, crawled around on the floor, stood on the toilet, got in the shower fully clothed, tried to walk out of the room in a state of undress, and on at least one occasion drank her own urine.”

She allegedly refused to drink or eat anything and was force-fed. On day 17, staffers allegedly called Dr. Minkoff to attempt to prescribe her an antibiotic as she was in a catatonic state. On a previous occasion, the doctor allegedly prescribed her Valium and a muscle relaxant at the unlicensed staffers’ behest, though he never examined her in person.

But this time, Dr. Minkoff urged that the woman first be taken to the hospital for treatment, and he refused to write the antibiotic prescription. The staffers allegedly refused to take her to the hospital because they were scared she would be placed in the psych unit.

Eventually, Dr. Minkoff agreed to treat Lisa in person, and the staff members traveled 45 minutes, past four hospitals, to visit him as Lisa gasped for breath in the backseat. She was reportedly dead when they arrived to see him.

Lisa’s family filed the wrongful death lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, and Minkoff paid $100,000 in a settlement, per the Tampa Bay Times. His attorney James Felman told the outlet that the whole settlement amount was paid for by two medical malpractice insurance companies.

“It wasn’t our idea to settle,” stated Felman. “But given that the insurance company is going to pay the money, it is a pittance compared to the millions and millions they were asking for.”

Minkoff was apparently fined in 2001 by The Florida Board of Medicine, and his license was suspended for a year. He also got two years probation for writing the prescriptions without seeing Lisa in person, per Quack Watch.

Per The New York Times, the church was charged with “practicing medicine without a license” and the “abuse and/or neglect of a disabled adult,” but in 2000, the death was ruled as an “accident,” and the charges got dropped.

Per allegations from a lawsuit in 2012, the organization managed to have the cause of death changed, and the charges were dropped after conducting a $30 million campaign led by Mark Rathbun, the church’s ex-senior executive, and David Miscavige, its current leader.

But the church denied all these allegations. The claims never were proven.

Quailynn McDaniel – a former Scientologist and patient of Minkoff’s as well as Rebecca’s friend – addressed the aftermath of Lisa’s death with The Daily Mail.

“When David [Minkoff] went through all that with the church, the things with Lisa McPherson, he doubled down and basically the whole family got behind him and said, ‘David Minkoff, whatever you want we’re gonna do for you,’” said Quailynn. “And they’ve been doing that for decades now.”

Quailynn escaped Scientology in 2009. She was in the church for 20 years.

“Uri Minkoff is [Rebecca’s] business partner and he’s extremely devout. The whole family are very devout Scientologists, so she’s surrounded,” said Quailynn. “The Minkoffs have a very rich and deep connection to Scientology that in many cases is unmatched due to the challenges that David faced after the incident with Lisa McPherson.”

The ex-Scientologist said she hopes the public attention from Rebecca joining RHONY will bring more awareness to the church’s dark side.

“Highlighting the church’s abuses and its mental control is really good,” she said. “That’s what’s gonna cause change. If you draw attention to it and other people see and understand that their practices are not mentally healthy or socially acceptable or normal, and we need to draw attention to these abuses.”

After being contacted concerning Quailynn’s comments, a rep for the church said The Daily Mail was “maligning the religion of millions of people by quoting someone who was expelled from the Church years ago due to her gutter ethics.”

Quailynn also slammed Rebecca’s claim in a past interview that it wasn’t her job to “proselytize” the church.

“I saw the quote where she said she doesn’t proselytize Scientology,” said Quailynn. “But when you go into the Scientology doctrine and you go through the entire [Minkoff] family, that’s a false narrative … [Rebecca’s] gonna try and bob and weave, but at the end of the day it is what it is.”

In a 2023 kidnapping lawsuit, ex-Scientologist Valerie Haney named Rebecca as an arbitrator.

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