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The Hole is the unofficial nickname of a facility operated by the Church of Scientology on Gold Base, its compound near the town of Hemet in Riverside County, California. Dozens of its senior executives have reportedly been confined within the building for months or years. It consists of a set of double-wide trailers within a Scientology compound, joined together to form a suite of offices which were formerly used by the Church's international management team. According to former members of the Church of Scientology and media reports, from 2004 the Church's leader David Miscavige sent dozens of senior Scientology executives to the Hole. The Tampa Bay Times described it in a January 2013 article as:
a place of confinement and humiliation where Scientology's management culture — always demanding — grew extreme. Inside, a who's who of Scientology leadership went at each other with brutal tongue lashings, and even hands and fists. They intimidated each other into crawling on their knees and standing in trash cans and confessing to things they hadn't done. They lived in degrading conditions, eating and sleeping in cramped spaces designed for office use.
The executives confined at the Hole are reported to have numbered up to 100 of the most senior figures in Scientology's management, including the Church of Scientology International's President, Heber Jentzsch. Individuals are said to have spent months or even years there. After a few managed to escape the Hole and Scientology, they gave accounts of their experiences to the media, the courts and the FBI, leading to widespread publicity about the harsh conditions that they had allegedly endured. The Church of Scientology has denied those accounts. It says that "the Hole does not exist and never has" and states that nobody had been held against their will. However, it acknowledges that its members are subjected to "religious discipline, a program of ethics and correction entered into voluntarily as part of their religious observances." It has been described by ex-members comparable to that of a North Korean death camp.
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