A new documentary set to premiere on HBO next month, Alex Gibney’s ‘Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief’, exposes the inner workings of Scientology. The film, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, was met with a standing ovation and praised as a “game changer.” Lawrence Wright, who wrote the original book from which the film is based, is a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine and has written several other books on topics from Al Qaeda to Jimmy Carter. The film, based on Wright’s work, was made possible by the extensive research he conducted , which included over 200 interviews with current and former members of the church. The film exposes the abuse and brainwashing of church goers by Scientology staffers and also alleges that it was the Church that broke up Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.
As expected, the Church wasted no time in attempting to discredit HBO, Alex Gibney, Lawrence Wright and a slew of other individuals involved with the production of the film. Posted on Scientology’s Freedommag.org “news” website, they made personal attacks against Paul Haggis, Marty Rathburn, Mark Headley and Jason Beghe, all of whom are former Scientologists and involved in the making of the film. The church pulls no punches in reference to Beghe, as they stated “Ever the self-centered actor with the ability to cry on command…Jason Beghe has a documented history of violence and is now on a crusade against his former Church that tried to no avail to help him attain personal peace. Now he simply craves attention and money. Beghe is unreliable, dishonest and biased.” A typical Scientology tactic, personal attacks are the only defense this organization has, as it is unable to stand up to the scrutiny the media has put them under.
Scientology has gone as far as purchasing Google advertising for freedommag.org in order to highlight their attacks against Going Clear. A search for Marty Rathburn brings up the Google ad which states The Truth About Marty Rathburn. Pretty much any search you do about Going Clear is going to bring up Scientology paid advertisements attempting to discredit the film. How is it that Scientology can make slander and libel their modus operandi? In 1967, L Ron Hubbard wrote into Scientology Law the “Fair Game” policy. When dealing with enemies or “SPs”, the Fair Game policy says the following: “SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.” The church claims that the film has ignored the fact that Scientology has had the greatest decade of expansion in its history, having opened more than 40 new religious centers around the world. These statements can be accepted as little more than propaganda as the current estimate is that less than 50,000 Scientologists remain.
HBO announced in December, that they had hired 160 lawyers to fact check the information presented in the film. The Church is known for its legal bullying, once having overloaded the US government with legal motions and hearings in regards to their tax exempt status. Eventually, the US government folded under the relentless pressure from Scientology and its army of lawyers, and tax exempt status was granted. This time around, HBO states that they are ready for any and all legal battles the church may throw at them. Going Clear premieres on HBO March 16.