Why This Former “Paid Mistress” Bankrolled “Hired Gun” Ortega

Antireligious Tony Ortega and Karen de la Carriere joined in hatemongering symbiosis

Ortega gushes in a self-serving video about his sugar mama’s financial support
Ortega gushes in a self-serving video about his sugar mama’s financial support

In Fall 2022, a hatemongering antireligious trio huddled in a house in Los Angeles for months. The unholy crew proved just how self-serving the connection between parasite and host can be. The parasite, Tony Ortega, depends for his very living on donations from his hosts, Karen de la Carriere and her husband, Jeffrey Augustine.

De la Carriere has bankrolled the unemployed Ortega for years, along with other anti-Scientologists, paying from her profits from peddling Thomas Kinkade merchandise.

Ortega is an easy target for de la Carriere, who was once a paid mistress who tried to resuscitate that career after she was removed from Church staff in 1990. When her repeated promises to reform were found to be lies, she was expelled from Scientology in 2010.

Ortega hasn’t held a full-time job since he was fired as editor of The Village Voice in 2012. He depends on handouts from fellow haters’ meager contributions to his antireligious blog and his wife’s salary as a UN attorney.

Theirs is a marriage made in hell. Ortega’s breadwinner wife, Arielle Silverstein, is as virulently antireligious as Ortega, once commenting, “[I] like nothing more than explaining to religious people why I dislike God.”

Ortega desperately needs his paydays from de la Carriere, and in turn he is her bought-and-paid-for propagandist.

Earlier in his career as a self-identified “journalist,” Ortega wrote a reprehensible “satire” about two young California women, 16 and 17, who were abducted and raped by a sexual predator. They fought back fiercely and escaped when their kidnapper was gunned down by sheriff’s deputies.

Ortega tried to play their terrifying nightmare for laughs.

Using the fake name of Antoine Oman, Ortega made up a hoax story in New Times LA, where he worked, that NBC was developing a new show to be called Survive This! that would feature the two teens as contestants.

In the phony show, young potential rape victims would be placed in a remote area with several paroled sex offenders where for 48 hours they would try to escape without being raped, with the whole thing caught on camera. The story ricocheted around Hollywood for several days before it was exposed as a hoax. Even then, Ortega tried to push it further with yet another false story reporting that “Oman” had been identified and fired.

Ortega wrote more fake “news stories,” one about a Confederate graveyard being disturbed by Kansas City construction, and another about a Palm Beach billionaire sleeping with his own daughter.

Survive This! was not the last time Tony Ortega downplayed the plight of underage sex victims.

During Ortega’s tenure as editor of The Village Voice, he did the bidding of the owners of the notorious classified ad site Backpage.com that carried advertising for sex services, some for underage boys and girls. With Backpage.com supporting Village Voice Media, including the Voice, Ortega defended the website, not unlike his doing Karen de la Carriere’s antireligious bidding today.

With Backpage under fire from protesters and officials, Tony blamed the victims: “Recently we’ve come under attack because a small number of those ads involve underage users who violate our terms of use.

Ortega ranted: “The First Amendment was shouted down in the name of children. …Having run off Craigslist [another former advertising media for prostitutes], reformers, the devout, and the government-funded have turned their guns upon Village Voice Media.”

The Church of Scientology was a strong leader of protests against Backpage.com, thus threatening Ortega’s salary and setting him off on an obsessive anti-Scientology path. He was fired because the 465 scurrilous anti-Scientology blogs he wrote over 16 months drew too much negative attention to Backpage and interfered with the rest of Ortega’s job as editor.

He sucked up to his employers by writing, “the people I work for were smart enough to start Backpage.com,” but that wasn’t enough to save his job.

Even then, he was paid off, reportedly with two years’ salary in return for his silence about the inner workings of Backpage.com.

No longer employed in published news media, Tony remained for sale as, in his own words, “the merciless mercenary that I am,” and Karen de la Carriere was there to shell out the bucks to support him as a bigoted, hateful antireligious blogger.

In October 2022, Ortega was play-acting as a journalist in Los Angeles and uploading streams of biased “reporting” to his bigoted blog. All the while, de la Carriere and Augustine anted up a free room at their place for his three-month stint. This was apparently a fair trade in their eyes—housing Ortega to support his anti-Scientology diatribes.

On December 2, 2022, Tony gushed his gratitude in a video shot in his benefactors’ backyard—simultaneously buying favor with his hosts and poor-mouthing to other potential donors: “I definitely want to thank Karen de la Carriere and Jeffrey Augustine for putting me up here in their lovely home in Los Feliz. I mean, since early October I’ve been here taking up space in their house, which, you know, fortunately for me, it’s not too far from a subway stop. So I’ve been able to take the train. …So between staying with Karen and Jeff, and taking the train and not having to have a rental car, managed to keep my costs down.”

Keeping his costs down may also have included free food: “They were a lot of fun to spend time with. Jeffrey was… with me most days and we would go out to dinner and things like that. We had a great time. So again, just I’m so grateful for them for helping make this happen for me.”

Why did de la Carriere pick up the tab for Ortega’s “journalistic” trip? Her years of largesse to him and others guaranteed the preaching of a nonstop anti-Scientology party line.

De la Carriere’s hatred is born of bitterness for being called to account by the Church for her unethical lifestyle and repeated failed promises to reform. Prior to her participation in Scientology, in 1960s London, she had “relationships” with some 50-60 men, which she called a “fairly promiscuous” lifestyle. She then worked as a blackjack dealer and was the paid mistress of a married British lobbyist.

She wrote: “I did have sexual relations with the above said persons because I enjoyed the money and gifts they bestowed upon me… I am aware that the Church of Scientology does not condone the above said activities and that said activities are in violation of Church policies.”

After her dismissal from Church staff, in her 50s, she secretly attempted a comeback in her former enterprise, advertising her services as a 30-something “Doll Body” and “Snow Suzy.” In 2010, she was expelled from Scientology after the Church learned de la Carriere was using fictitious identities to post false reports and malicious rumors about Scientologists on a blog and a message board. She did so while pretending to be a Scientologist for the sake of maintaining her business and social connections in the Church community.

Along the way, she bought into a Thomas Kinkade franchise and from that has funded her anti-Scientology vendetta, according to a former de la Carriere insider: “There is a payment network that Karen and Jeffrey run using funds from Karen’s Kinkade business.”

Fellow anti-Scientologist Mark Rathbun said de la Carriere was “boasting and bragging to people that she owned Tony Ortega. She was boasting and bragging to people that she owned Mike Rinder [another expelled anti-Scientologist] because of the amount of money that she’d invested into them and that she had kept them going. She’s notorious for bragging about that.”

Karen’s husband Jeffrey? He once wrote that he received secret knowledge of God and the Universe from “a voice” inside his head which he calls “The Eminence.”

There’s also his antireligious bigotry: “Religion has become a barrier to the ascent and evolution of humanity” he wrote. He brags that he hopes to destroy both Christianity and Scientology.

If de la Carriere thinks she’s buying friends, she’s deluding herself.

A source close to Mike Rinder noted: “There is a really paradoxical element to Mike’s relationship with Karen. During the time he worked with her, it was well known in my family that he despised Karen. He did not hold back on his mockery, and there were no kind words uttered about Karen de la Carriere. Yet here he is, sidling up to her.

“It makes no sense. Unless you realize the pretend friendship is a means to an end: getting money from her to support his hate and help in his attacks on his own family.”

In 2017, Rathbun said that with de la Carriere he had to set firm boundaries. “She donated to my blog. She continuously tried to influence what I put on my blog. I continuously told her that ain’t ever going to happen.”

The question remains: What does Tony Ortega really think of his benefactress? Unless the money stops, we’ll likely never know.