The Sundance premiere of Alex Gibney's new documentary (does he sleep, by the way?) “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” caused quite the expected stir up in Park City this week. Our own Dan Fienberg noted in his review that the throng of people eager to get in was considerable, and I saw something on Twitter about people offering big money for those tickets. No shock, then, that the Church of Scientology cannot abide this.
The club (not gonna call it a church) sent out an email to just about every outlet that published a review of the film, reeling from not being consulted. Which is, of course, hilarious on its face. We'll be sure to reach out to Darth Plagueis before running any “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” thoughts in December.
Anyway, it's a predictable reaction, and the email itself – included below – is full of humorous clamoring. What's most notable to me is the “Dear Sirs” bit. Because, you know, what woman writes/edits a review? XENU FORBIDS IT.
I'm pretty sure, however powerful Gibney's film, we can go ahead and chalk it up as an also-ran in this year's Oscar race. But good on him and HBO for getting the perspective of these former members out into the world on the heels of Lawrence Wright's book.
The above article concerning Going Clear, Alex Gibney's film, was posted without contacting the Church for comment. As a result, your article reflects the film which is filled with bald faced lies. I ask that you include a statement from the Church in your article. There is another side to the story which has to be told. Do not be the mouthpiece for Alex Gibney's propaganda.
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY STATEMENT
The accusations made in the film are entirely false and alleged without ever asking the Church. As we stated in our New York Times ad on January 16, Alex Gibney's film is Rolling Stone/University of Virginia redux. The Church is committed to free speech. However, free speech is not a free pass to broadcast or publish false information. Despite repeated requests over three months, Mr. Gibney and HBO refused to provide the Church with any of the allegations in the film so it could respond. Had Mr. Gibney given us any of these allegations, he would have been told the facts. But Gibney refused to speak with any of the 25 Church representatives, former spouses and children of their sources who flew to New York to meet and provide him and HBO with firsthand knowledge regarding assertions made in Mr. Wright's book as that was all we had to guess from. Gibney's sources are the usual collection of obsessive, disgruntled former Church members kicked out as long as 30 years ago for malfeasance, who have a documented history of making up lies about the Church for money. We invite you to view our complete statement, correspondence and documented facts at freedommag.org/HBO.