Alex Gibney’s Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. , an expose about the Church Of Scientology, hits HBO on March 29th, and if you thought the church wouldn’t have a response prepared, you don’t know Scientology. Gibney’s movie is based on a book by the same name written by Lawrence Wright, who won a Pulitzer Prize for The Looming Tower in 2006. Does it count as irony that a book that details the Church’s extraordinary legal responses to criticism had its British and Canadian publication canceled for those same challenges? HBO also claims to have hired 160 lawyers just to defend the film.
Even so, the Church is going to have its say, and recently did so in an open letter to The Hollywood Reporter. And how did they defend charges that they’ve conducted malicious public attacks and smear campaigns against their critics? Why, with more malicious attacks against their critics, of course. The five-page letter, signed by Church spokesperson Karin Pouw, declined to answer The Hollywood Reporter’s list of specific allegations against the church, writing instead:
Rather than provide a response to each of these questions, which are part of Gibney’s propaganda, I am going to take up the sources of these allegations so you understand their motivations to spread hatred, religious bigotry and lies.
Ahh, yes, that makes much more sense than explaining the actual charges. These were in-turn augmented by Scientology-produced videos:
In her letter, Pouw then refers THR to a series of videos the Church published about Alex Gibney and the former Scientology members who appear in his film, including Spanky Taylor, Sara Goldberg, Hana Whitfield, Marty Rathbun, Mike Rinder and Marc Headley. The videos are titled as follows: “Mike Rinder: The Wife Beater,” “Marty Rathbun: A Violent Psychopath,” “Marc Headley: The Soulless Sellout,” “Hana Whitfield: Can You Spare a Billion?” “Sara Goldberg: The Home Wrecker” and “‘Spanky’ Taylor: The Drama Queen.” [THR]
The letter then gets more specific, going down the list of interviewees one by one. You can check out the full letter with all the specific allegations here, but I especially enjoy the idea that the Church of Scientology has spent untold millions paying staffers to compile the equivalent of a running Burn Book. “Oh, Sara Goldberg? She’s just a sad old drug pusher. Also, those glasses aren’t even prescription and her pants look stupid. The defense rests, your honor.”