Scientology Threatened ‘Every Distributor’ Of ‘Going Clear’ On The International Market

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 03:  The exterior of the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International on April 3, 2006 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)
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The Scientology documentary, Going Clear, opened the eyes of thousands of viewers who tuned into HBO’s gutsy broadcast. This has been a long time coming. L. Ron Hubbard’s creation hummed along from its 1950s inception until recently. There were some tax-status roadbumps along the way, but Scientology hummed along until the rapid dissemination of church doctrines took place on the internet. Going Clear may very well be the finishing blow, but the religion will not go quietly.

Scientology has a pesky habit of threatening their enemies with litigation and other harassment tactics. They’ll do anything to stop more people from watching Going Clear, although damage has already been done. As the film goes international, director Alex Gibney reveals the Co$ has been successful in halting distribution in some markets. U.K. broadcaster Sky pulled the documentary thanks to strict libel laws. Other countries (including Australia and Canada) will not budge, and the Hollywood Reporter reveals Scientology’s tactics:

The damning documentary on the Church, which premiered in the United States on HBO in March, did open theatrically in several international markets during the last week. It has done respectable box office numbers in each but is facing threats of lawsuits from the Church, director Alex Gibney tells The Hollywood Reporter.

“Every step of the way, every distributor, every festival has received multiple threatening letters from the Church of Scientology. Some have come very close to buckling,” says Gibney.

For its part, Scientology has called the doc‎ “one-sided, bigoted propaganda built on falsehoods.” Asked for comment, a spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter on Friday: “The Church has repeatedly denounced Alex Gibney’s film as biased, one-sided and containing numerous inaccuracies. The Church has posted multiple documents and videos to inform the public of the truth about Gibney’s documentary.

Gibney hopes to keep Going Clear in worldwide theaters at least until Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation hits theaters. Tom Cruise will capture a huge chunk of box office dollars, due to a backend deal in addition to his base salary. Tom contributes a large portion of his income to the religion, and Going Clear could lessen the amount of money funneled into the organization.

As the film continues to roll out, more people will judge Scientology for themselves. Many European countries are already ahead of the curve. Germany considers Scientology to be a cult, and France convicted the Church of fraud in 2009. Hopefully, Going Clear will screen in those countries without incident. The film has already gone over well in Australia, where people are interested in Cruise’s former relationship with Nicole Kidman. Gibney says the Sydney Film Festival received ominous letters and defamation threats, but screenings continued as planned.

(via Hollywood Reporter)