Did A Scientology Member Pose As A Reporter To Spy On Paul Haggis?

paul haggis
Getty Image

While Going Clear continues making waves for HBO, it’s supposedly stirring up trouble for its proponents. We’re talking more of the let’s-spy-on-our-enemies variety of trouble. According to Salon, director and writer Paul Haggis — himself an ex-Scientologist whose story influenced the book on which the HBO documentary is based — has become the target of a faux TIME Magazine reporter who might actually be a spy.

According to Haggis, on April 7th he received an email from someone named Mark Webber, who claimed to be a Time magazine reporter seeking to interview Haggis for a piece about the “golden age of film.”

Receiving a query like this would be cool. Who wouldn’t want to talk to TIME about film’s golden age? Even if you didn’t know anything about the golden age of film? (You could always read the Wikipedia article beforehand.)

So when Haggis and his staff looked into Webber’s background, they figured out he wasn’t actually a reporter for TIME. He wasn’t even a reporter. Turns out, the email originated from another source.

After further digging, it became apparent that the email was sent from a building owned by the Church of Scientology.

Haggis discusses his relationship with the church at length with Salon. According to him, Scientology has long tried to discredit his name since he left the organization.

The original article was published on Friday. Soon after, the Church of Scientology issued a statement denouncing the name Mark Webber and the article’s allegations. Very little was said about Haggis himself.

There is no one named Mark Webber at that address, there is no such IP address at the Anthony Building on Fountain Avenue, it does not exist. The entire story is fabricated. A quick internet search does find a Mark Webber, a movie curator and writer who lives in England. Maybe it’s him. May be he emailed Haggis. Who knows? The Church knows nothing about this.

Moral of the story? Don’t try to contact ex-Scientologists from an IP address housed in a location owned, operated, or affiliated with Scientology.

(Via Salon)