MEDIA POLITICS-After Alex Gibney's new documentary, "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief," debuted to a standing ovation at this year's Sundance Film Festival, representatives for the Church of Scientology slammed the film as "false information."
The Church has documented evidence that those featured in Gibney’s film regurgitating their stale, discredited allegations are admitted perjurers, admitted liars and professional anti-Scientologists whose living depends on the filing of false claims.
All have been gone so long from the Church they know nothing of it today. Yet Gibney and HBO stonewalled more than a dozen requests by the Church to offer relevant information about them, with more than 25 individuals with firsthand information eager to speak.
To this day, neither HBO nor Gibney can deny that they have yet to present the Church with a single allegation from the film so the Church may have an opportunity to respond. The Church never sought special treatment, only fair treatment.
Gibney's film, based on a book by Lawrence Wright, includes multiple allegations against the Church of Scientology and its most high-profile member, Tom Cruise.
"Cruise is one of those who emerges from this the worst; Gibney's film makes the claim that the actor’s reluctance to distance himself from the faith was the key factor in his split with Nicole Kidman," wrote Brian Moylan in a review of "Going Clear" for The Guardian. "Footage of Cruise from official church events and video is chopped and spliced to put him in as dubious a light as possible; the film also accuses him of using Scientologist workers paid 40 cents an hour to trick out his cars and houses."
As Marlow Stern at The Daily Beast noted, Gibney's film includes an interview with Mark "Marty" Rathbun, "formerly the second-highest ranking official in the Church of Scientology who left in 2004," who alleges that Scientology leader David Miscavige disliked Kidman on account of her psychologist father. According to the film, Cruise apparently had Kidman's phone tapped before the couple's eventual divorce.
HuffPost Entertainment contacted a representative for Cruise to comment on the allegations; this post will be updated if and when they respond.
As for the film itself, critics were enamored with Gibney's work. "Going Clear" was hailed as "jaw-dropping" and a "game changer." It will air on HBO in March. "We have probably 160 lawyers [looking at the film]," HBO’s president of documentary films, Sheila Nevins, told The Hollywood Reporter in December.
(Christopher Rosen is managing entertainment editor at The Huffington Post. Prior to that he was editor at Moviefone and senior editor at Movieline. This column was posted first at HuffingtonPost.com)
Vol 13 Issue 8
Pub: Jan 27, 2015