Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is a 2015 USA documentary by Alex Gibney. Starring Lawrence Wright, Mike Rinder and Marty Rathbun.
A devastating two hour documentary based on Lawrence
Wright's book of the same name. Scientology is laid bare by a film that skilfully knits together archive footage, testimonials from former high ranking officials and public, and dramatic reconstructions.
Sky Atlantic is to show a
documentary on Scientology, despite legal pressure from the 'church'.
Alex Gibney's Going Clear traces the origins of the organisation and profiles former members, including Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis. It has alleged abusive
practices at Scientology's US headquarters, which members have denounced as one-sided, bigoted propaganda .
The film premiered to wide acclaim in the US in March and was watched by 5.5 million viewers on HBO. It also garnered seven Emmy
The Church of Scientology has previously threatened to use the UK's libel laws to challenge any false or defamatory content if it is broadcast in the UK.
Although an initial screening, in April, was postponed, Sky has
now confirmed it will be shown, without edits on 21 September. A spokesman for Sky told The Guardian:
Both Sky, and the producers of the film, have sought legal advice at every stage of the process and are confident
the film complies with legal requirements in the territories in which we are screening the film.
Plans to broadcast HBO's Church of Scientology exposť, Going Clear , have been shelved by Sky Atlantic in a virtual repeat of events two years ago, when UK publishers abandoned publication of the book on which the new TV documentary is based.
Sky originally indicated that the Alex Gibney-directed film, which alleges abusive practices at the 'religion''s US headquarters, would be transmitted in the UK earlier this month in step with its American release.
However, the Observer has
learned that because Northern Ireland is not subject to the 2013 Defamation Act, the broadcaster could be exposed to libel claims from David Miscavige, the leader of the church, or others. This appears to have caused the company to postpone transmission,
if not to cancel it entirely.
Sky is unable to differentiate its signal between regions, rendering the same programme potentially exposed to pre-reform libel laws in Northern Ireland, but shielded in Britain where, among free-speech safeguards and
reforms designed to limit frivolous claims or libel tourism , people or organisations must now show serious harm to reputation.
Scientology leaders said in a statement:
The Church of Scientology
will be entitled to seek the protection of both UK and Irish libel laws in the event that any false or defamatory content in this film is broadcast within these jurisdictions.
A German federal court has told Google to censor the auto-complete results that its search engine suggests.
The court said Google must ensure terms generated by auto-complete are not contrary to the wishes of those that complain.
case was started by an unnamed German businessman who found that Google.de linked him with scientology and fraud . Google must now remove certain word combinations when told about them, said the court.
A person's privacy would be
violated if the associations conjured up by auto-complete were claimed to be untrue, the federal court said in a statement about the ruling. However, it added, this did not mean that Google had to sanitise its entire index. The operator is, as a basic
principle, only responsible when it gets notice of the unlawful violation of personal rights.
The ruling on auto-complete overturns two earlier decisions by lower German courts.
Just the title of Lawrence Wright's Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief tells you more than many books on the subject. Going Clear is a veritable book of revelations on L Ron Hubbard's sci-fi religion, exhaustively
detailing its history, its methods and the depth of its weirdness.
Or so we're told. While Going Clear goes on sale in the US and the rest of Europe this week, you can't buy it in Britain. Not because it threatens national security, or features
royal breasts, but because of our uniquely obliging libel laws.
Unlike in other countries, under English and Welsh law the burden of proof in defamation cases rests exclusively on the defendant, which means that if someone sues you, it's up to you
to prove that it's true. If that someone is, say, a pharmaceutical company, or a church that believes in space people, then you're in for a long, expensive time in court, even if you win (legal costs here are up to 140 times higher than international
norms). Hence Transworld's decision not to publish. The legal advice was that Going Clear's content was not robust enough for the UK market, they say.
Scientologists in Hollywood tried to derail a movie inspired by the religion's founder, its studio claims. The Master was partly based on L Ron Hubbard, who founded Scientology in the 1950s.
Unnamed Scientologists applied lots of
pressure to stop The Master being made and have it changed once filming began, studio head Harvey Weinstein said
We've had pressure and we've resisted pressure. Originally people said to me 'don't make it'. Lots of
And then, as we were making it, we had pressure to change it. Paul's not doing that and I didn't think he chose me [to work with] because I was going to acquiesce either.
The movie tells the story of
a cult leader known as The Master, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and a troubled World War II veteran, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who is drawn into his world. It won awards for acting and directing after its premiere at the Venice Film Festival and is
seen as an early contender for The Oscars.
Asked about the reaction from Scientologists in Hollywood, Weinstein said:
I'm not going to get into names, but they feel strongly that they think it's a religion and
as such they think the subject matter shouldn't be explored.
The Church of Scientology has denied trying to block the film.
Germany's state broadcaster is locked in a row with the Church of Scientology which wants to block an upcoming feature film that depicts the organisation as totalitarian and unethical.
Bis Nichts Mehr Bleibt , or Until Nothing Remains
, dramatises the account of a German family torn apart by its associations with Scientology. A young married couple joins the organisation but as the wife gets sucked ever more deeply into the group, her husband, who has donated much of his money to
it, decides to leave. In the process he loses contact with his young daughter who, like his wife, is being educated by Scientology instructors.
Scientology leaders have accused Germany's primary public TV network, ARD, of creating in top secret a
piece of propaganda that sets out to undermine the group, and have demanded to see it before it is broadcast.
According to the makers of Until Nothing Remains , the Ä2.5m (£2.3 m) drama, which is due to air in a prime-time slot at the
end of March, is based on the true story of Heiner von Rönns, who left Scientology and suffered the subsequent break-up of his family.
Scientology officials have said the film is false and intolerant. Jürg Stettler, a spokesman for
Scientology in Germany said: The truth is precisely the opposite of that which the ARD is showing. The organisation is investigating legal means to prevent the programme from being broadcast. Stettler said the organisation was planning its own
film to spread our own side of the story .
Scientology has called upon the Australian Government to censor the internet and media locally in direct response to protests from Anonymous.
In a long, rambling submission made to the Australian Human Rights Commission made earlier this year,
the 'Church' attacks Anonymous calling them, among other things, a hate group of cyberterrorists that is engaged in a malicious campaign of hate that is an anathema to democracy.
The submission states:
In Australia Anonymous have mounted a sustained campaign of misinformation against the Church. As we are a minority religion with the vast majority of the population unaware of our true beliefs and humanitarian programs, their
campaign has no justifiable purpose and violates the Church of Scientology's and parishioners rights to human dignity and religious freedom under the Constitution.
Scientology wants the Internet and media in Australia censored
to prevent any negative stories being told about the church, and more, including:
Banning the use of domain name registration anonymity tools such as WhoisGuard by sites who talk about the church
The introduction of criminal sanctions for vilification of religion, including jail time for serious religious
The prohibition of concealing ones identity with a mask by people engaged in campaigns of harassment and vilification against religions (which they specifically mean Guy Fawkes masks.)
The statement gets worse:
It is recommended that a law be enacted to prevent the dissemination of antireligious propaganda in the media, which is based on unfounded hearsay and either known or reasonably known
to be untruthful. Such dissemination shall be the subject of a civil penalty provision in favour of the defamed Church, and/or its individual parishioners if they are individually named or otherwise identified.
Glosslip insiders have revealed that the Daily Mail’s story on Jett Travolta, titled Did John Travolta’s weird faith seal son Jett’s fate? was pulled from their website after threats from the Church of Scientology.
nothing new in the world of Scientology. Almost a year ago, gossip site Gawker was threatened with legal action from the highly litigious religion after posting a for Scientologist’s eyes only video featuring Tom Cruise discussing his
strange religion. Gawker, citing fair use laws, refused to pull the video, and have been reaping a traffic bonanza since.
With the barrage of stories following the tragic death of 16-year old Jett Travolta, one has to wonder how much overtime the
lawyers have been putting in trying to keep the media from looking too closely at their dangerous history of medical mishaps based on the groups anti-psychiatry beliefs.
A group of internet hackers has launched an online campaign against the Church of Scientology.
The group, which calls itself Anonymous , has scored a couple of big successes, first by carrying out a denial of service attack on the
Church of Scientology's international website, causing it to crash, and a sustained campaign of "Google bombing" - manipulating the way the internet search engine works - to ensure that the Church of Scientology is returned as the first hit
whenever anyone enters the search string "dangerous cult".
The decision of hackers to target the church is believed to have stemmed from YouTube's decision to remove a video from the site showing Tom Cruise hailing Scientology as
Anonymous allege that Scientologists forced YouTube to delete the highly embarrassing footage.
However, the Church of Scientology claims that the video, which was shot at a 2004 church anniversary event, was
never intended for replay on television and the internet and had been placed on the internet in an out-of-context manner for the purpose of causing controversy.
The video is copyrighted, and the email request that it be removed was
no different to what is routinely done by other owners of copyrighted materials whose works are pirated, such as the film, television and recording industries, said the Church of Scientology in a statement.
Global protests are planned for
this Sunday, to voice concerns about the church's supposed love for "speech-suppression tactics" and "frivolous" legal injunctions to prevent criticism or discussion of the religion. Protesters are mobilising online on sites such as
Facebook and YouTube. A video posted by Anonymous about its anti-Scientology campaign has been viewed more than 90,000 times and the group has its own "channel" on the video-sharing site.
According to a press release circulated
by the protest group, Anonymous said that that group's goals include bringing an end to the financial exploitation of Church members and protecting the right to free speech.
It goes on to say that this alleged clamp-down on free
speech was most evident on the recent attacks on websites such as Digg and YouTube, where the church filtered anti-Scientology comments and replaced their content with the text: 'This comment is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Church
of Scientology International'.
those hackers doing "denial of service" attacks on the scientology websites, whilst I admire people wanting to stand up to this lot there is no way I can condone these illegal acts. These people are going to get themselves jailed if they're not
There's a very good YouTube video criticising their methods from an anti-scientology campaigner who goes on to explain the best methods of
protesting against them.
An underground market for the new unauthorised Tom Cruise biography has sprung up on auction site eBay, with Australian buyers willing to pay a significant premium for the book.
There were dozens of auctions for Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized
Biography - many offering multiple copies - and bidders willing to pay up to $61.50. The book is available on Amazon.com for about $30, including shipping.
The book is now number one on the Amazon best-seller list.
It will not be
printed in Australia and US distributors have now said they will no longer export the book, by British author Andrew Morton, outside the US and Canada.
But eBay sellers are getting around the ban on the book by having partners make bulk retail
purchases in the US.
We've got two shipments coming, the first is 150 books," said a man selling the books on ebay, Wojtek: We're buying multiples of 100 at a time. The demand is quite substantial, we need to get in as many as we
can as quick as possible.
Not so sure that the adverse publicity can possibly do any harm to scientology. As far as I can see it is a glorified course in self empowerment. And the power to censor and restrict
is being shown...so scientology is therefore proven to be working.
Thanks to Byron
The publishers of Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography have told US Amazon not to send the book to customers from outside of the USA and Canada.
Scientologists are attempting to block the spread of a video clip in which Tom Cruise zealously espouses his faith in the church.
If you're on board, you're on board, just like the rest of us, he tells those of wavering faith. We are
the authorities on getting people off drugs, we can rehabilitate criminals and unite cultures.
Cruise's emotional testimonial is accompanied by a guitar riff playing the theme from Mission: Impossible . Cruise, a Scientologist for
20 years, has recently emerged as one of the controversial church's most outspoken proselytisers. Some suggest that the actor has been elevated to one of the highest echelons of the secretive church, cryptically known as OT-VII.
for Scientologists' eyes only, the video is a nine-minute testimonial in which Cruise, wearing a black polo neck, encourages Scientologists to practise their faith relentlessly.
Infamously litigious, the Church of Scientology has been busy firing
off lawsuits alleging breach of copyright wherever the video pops up, notably on YouTube and Google Video. Unfazed by potential legal issues, a number of gossip websites are busy re-posting the controversial video as soon as it disappears.
Gawker.com, Nick Denton wrote: It's newsworthy, and we will not be removing it.
So far, the church is having little success in keeping the video off the internet, and as soon as it is taken down it pops up somewhere else. Not unlike the
movie and music industries, the Church of Scientology is constantly battling with websites to prevent unauthorised distribution of its intellectual property.