The Wrap: 'Going Clear,' star defections, parodies - How Scientology lost its grip on Hollywood

Discussion in 'Media' started by The Wrong Guy, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    'Going Clear,' Star Defections, Parodies - How Scientology Lost Its Grip on Hollywood

    HBO’s “Going Clear” is simply the latest example of the organization’s diminishing hold on stars and entertainment

    By Jethro Nededog and Matt Donnelly, The Wrap, April 9, 2015

    After two decades of being defended and feared by its movie star members, the Church of Scientology now appears to be in retreat, with Hollywood no longer wary of exposing and questioning the movement’s practices.

    The HBO Scientology documentary “Going Clear,” by director Alex Gibney, exposed the organization’s dubious claims, outlandish origin texts and alleged abuse of its followers despite dozens of legal challenges from Scientology, whose most famous members are Tom Cruise and John Travolta. The show attracted 1.7 million viewers, making it one of the most-watched documentaries ever to air on the network.

    “It was still aired, got good press, got a viewership that was astronomical even with the threats, even with Scientology’s team of attorneys,” said therapist and cult expert Rachel Bernstein, who is working on a book about children raised in cults.

    Meanwhile Jason Katims, creator of “Parenthood” and “Friday Night Lights,” has received a series order from Hulu for a show about a family struggling with a “controversial” faith movement, what many understood as a thinly veiled reference to Scientology.

    That comes just three years after Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was depicted unfavorably in Paul Thomas Anderson’s dramatic feature, “The Master,” with Phillip Seymour Hoffman playing the bombastic, charismatic leader – who some saw as a charlatan. That same year Lawrence Wright’s investigative book exposed many of the practices explored in Gibney’s film, “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.”


    In the past, Scientology was protected by its deep ties to the Hollywood community. Since its inception, one of the church’s biggest strengths was its ability to leverage the celebrity of its famous members while silencing its critics, controlling its congregants and bury criticism under legal challenges.

    But now many of Scientology’s most famous Hollywood members are among its most outspoken critics, including director Paul Haggis and “Chicago PD” actor Jason Beghe, both of whom feature prominently in Gibney’s documentary and who confess their deep regret for decades of membership. Mia Farrow was among those who called on people to sign a petition to rescind the church’s tax-exempt status in the wake of the documentary.

    “They know they have a PR nightmare right now,” Bernstein pointed out. “They’re not going to take the risks that have seemed heartless and harassing. They’ll have to become more economical about their harassment.”


    For his part, Gibney told TheWrap that there’s still a lot more of the Scientology story yet to be told.

    “There was a ton of stuff that ended up on the cutting room floor,” he said. “There’s some thinking that we may go back in and do something at a later date.”

    The article, with open comments, is here:
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  2. Random guy Member

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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    Easter Gay Raid - Angry Gay Pope 2015

    Published by AngryGayPope on April 17, 2015

    The Gay Pope invades Scientology's Hollywood Easter "celebration" in his longest video yet!

    Much hilarity ensues as two OSA handlers, one security guard on camera, and a couple bike guards try to handle me. Body routers are mocked and the fate of the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course is discussed.

    DONATIONS ENCOURAGED! Go to and click on the orange "Donate" button. Thanks so much!


    Scientology cult Saint Hill Special Briefing Course levels A-F | WikiLeaks
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  4. The Wrong Guy Member

    This is from Ireland:

    Scientology casts a shadowy spell on superstars

    A new documentary on Scientology has revealed how the sect wields a powerful and enduring influence over the professional and personal lives of a number of Hollywood's biggest names. We profile the stars whose screwball beliefs guide their every move

    By Julia Molony,, April 20, 2015


    Imagine a hybrid of a Christian church, the masons, and the self-help industry. Throw in the secrecy and opacity of the secret service, and a much derided belief that humans are re-incarnated aliens, and you have a flavour of how Scientology is generally viewed by the outside world. Fodder for comedians and journalists. It is particularly scorned by rationalists and the intelligentsia as a faith, often regarded as being utterly incompatible with critical thought.


    With membership these days a PR liability, it's hard to explain the attraction Scientology holds for its famous members, when association comes at such a high cost. Celebrity biographer Andrew Morton offered a theory, when he wrote about Tom Cruise following his break up with third wife, Katie Holmes, whose departure from the faith and the marriage was treated in the press like a daredevil, high stakes escape from a Bond villian.

    "Actors respond well to Scientology teachings," Morton said.

    "For a profession that is so self-involved, the idea of following a faith in which the object of devotion is the self - in which a man becomes his own god - is alluring. Scientology strokes the ego as it lightens the wallet... For Cruise, who had childhood memories of an abusive, drunken father and a mother who worked tirelessly to keep him and his sisters fed and clothed, the notion of an instant family had a deep appeal. Scientology feeds and soothes, 'love-bombing' celebrities, praising them, cosseting them and keeping them secure."

    The full article with open comments is here:
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  5. Random guy Member

    Quote from article:

    Sharp observation. I think the lack of irony is a reflection of the cult, and is a result of their general lack of humour. It has of course been our best alley.

    LOL Xenu!
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  6. Hugh Bris Member

    Irony requires self awareness. It's hard to be ironic when you take things so seriously and imbue everything with so much significance.

    Remember, their eternity is at stake, and that's serious, man, really serious.
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  7. The Wrong Guy Member


    Celebrity Centre International Concert For Safepointing | Sec Check

    Scientologist Harriet Schock is hosting a concert at Celebrity Centre International in Hollywood, California on June 7th. Non-Scientologist performers include Fran Lucci, MaryJo Mundy, Pat Whiteman, Woman On The Move, Shelley Fisher, Anne Marie Radel. We’re particularly curious who will be performing, but didn’t want their picture on the poster.

    Every couple of months I host a showcase at CC in the Pavilion called SNAP (Sunday Night at the Pavilion). It safepoints CC for the mostly non-Scientologist performers and it’s a wonderful show. You can check out some of the past performers on Youtube. Sunday, June 7 at 7PM I’m hosting another one. The flyer below shows the performers except for one man whose picture didn’t get taken at his request. Go figure. But he’s quite good as well. It’s only $5 and it’s an absolutely fabulous show. Please join us.

    Schock makes it clear that the purpose of the evening is to “safe point” Celebrity Centre, which is to gain allies and create a favorable impression among non-Scientologists. The term comes from L. Ron Hubbard’s April 1, 1982 policy “The Safe Point”.

    The most important action to undertake when going about making a safe point is to carefully and painstakingly find out who exactly are the top dogs in the area in financial and political circles, and their associates and connections, and to what each one is hostile.

    A handful of allies with impressive-sounding titles and positions is not enough. Viability depends on having all areas and persons who could affect or influence the operation under PR control. Most important are the groups who survey out to be the key, real powers in an area. These persons may or may not be those who occupy high political or social positions. They may or may not be the titular heads of large economic concerns. Research and survey alone can determine this.

    Continued here:
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  8. The Wrong Guy Member

    Suppressive Supper: I Ate Dinner At The Scientology Celebrity Centre

    By L. Ron Cupcake, FWx, May 17, 2016


    Never in my half-decade career as a food writer have I experienced such a dramatic build up to dinner. I arrived at the Scientology Celebrity Centre, an ominous castle-like structure at the base of the Hollywood Hills, at 7pm. I parked my scratched 2005 Ford Escape in the lot right between the polished Mercedes and BMWs, then bee lined for the building. I made sure not to allow myself a single moment to actually consider what I was getting myself into — but my reactive mind was begging me to run.

    I walked past a manicured garden and a pleasant-looking cafe. So this is the Soho House of cults. I get it. One man who was definitely staring at me — come to think of it, everyone was staring at me — approached and asked, “Do I know you from somewhere? You look familiar. Do you come here a lot?” “No, first time here!” I blurted before continuing my walk-run to the lobby in a heightened state of paranoia.

    I made it into the building (a 1927 replica of a French-Normandy castle that functioned as a hotel and home to the likes of Errol Flynn and Humphrey Bogart before being purchased by the Church in 1973) and spotted my dining companion, who I will refer to as Candy Santana to protect her identity and save her from a lifetime of harassment after this article is published. I questioned how I was able to convince this poor soul to accompany me on a self-imposed journey into Scientology’s underbelly. I don’t think she’ll ever forgive me, and I don’t blame her, but thank Xenu and the Galactic Federation I wasn’t the only “suppressive person” on the Celebrity Centre grounds that night.

    Once we announced we were at the Centre to take a tour and eat dinner — something anyone can do if they're so inclined — a tall, youthful man I can only describe as high school quarterback-esque appeared to show us around. He asked us a couple personal questions and had us try out the E-meter, an electronic device scientology auditors believe measures the response of the reactive mind and looks like a torture device you could get by mailing in proofs of purchase from cereal boxes in the '90s. Does that sound disturbing? Well it is, but it’s not nearly as disturbing as what happened next.

    After we took dense and probing personality tests, our tour guide put our answers through a machine that spit out an assessment of our flaws. Candy and I were then escorted into separate rooms. The high school QB told me that I am severely depressed, anxious, and irresponsible, with a low level of logical reasoning and appreciation. “But that’s just what you think of yourself,” he assured me. The good news was I could pay to take a handful of courses that would let me overcome my inadequacies, leading to a life of freedom and happiness. Additionally, I could enroll in something called an Effective Purification Program, which would help clear my mind and flush my body of toxins. How very LA!

    At that point, I was emotionally drained and wondering if I needed to be saved from myself. But there was no going home. It was time for dinner. The interior of the Celebrity Centre’s Renaissance Restaurant reminded Candy and me of Cinderella’s castle at Disneyland, complete with faux ivy and trellises painted on the walls. “Is this what Dubai is like?” asked Candy. We ordered a bottle of red and unconsciously gravitated towards comfort food — more specifically, fettuccini alfredo and steak frites. We devoured the steak, which looked grey and petrified, but came with surprisingly decent French fries — they tasted like McDonald’s — and pasta drowning in butter and cream.

    We gulped down our wine and commiserated in hushed voices about how vulnerable and uneasy we felt. Our waiter, who just so happened to be a member of the Sea Org (Scientology’s clergy, whose sometimes tortured existence was recounted in a New Yorker article and further detailed in the book and subsequent HBO documentary Going Clear), asked if we wanted dessert. We politely said no thank you, and that the lifeless steak was quite sufficient. Moments later, he returned to our table and told us he was going to list off the desserts in the interest of “following protocol.” After he rattled off the ice cream flavors, we assured him we were full, and explained that we needed to get the hell out of the building.

    We escaped the premises — or so we thought — and were walking through the parking lot when the attendant said, “Have a good evening, Candy.” That’s when my friend turned to me and said, “Holy fuck. I did not tell that man my name.” After shivers went down our respective spines, we crossed Franklin Avenue to have a night cap at La Poubelle and debrief. The world seemed much more starkly real than when we left it three hours before — there were people drinking wine, making out and smoking cigarettes. Were they all trapped by the negative influence of their subconscious and ultimately doomed? Candy and I found a table, ordered more drinks, and acknowledged how easy it would be to convince yourself you could be saved by Scientology.

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  9. The Wrong Guy Member

    What's More Cult-y, Brunch At Cafe Gratitude Or Brunch At The Scientology Restaurant?

    By Emma Specter, LAist, May 7, 2017


    Los Angeles welcomes all forms of worship, from Buddhism to Santería to the Almighty Church of Goop, but the one ritual that enthralls true believers and atheists alike is brunch. The midmorning meal is held sacred in the City of Angels, with weekend worshipers making the pilgrimage to Sqirl and Eggslut to pay homage to the gods of avocado toast. Last weekend, I set out to solve the ultimate L.A. brunch conundrum: which is "cultier," the $15 all-you-can-eat buffet at the controversial Church of Scientology's Renaissance Restaurant, or a $30+ vegan, plant-based meal at Venice's venerable woo-woo mainstay Cafe Gratitude?

    Cult Brunch #1: The Church of Scientology's Renaissance Restaurant

    I showed up at the Church of Scientology "Celebrity Centre" in Los Feliz on a sunny Saturday morning, feeling scared shitless a tad apprehensive. The 2015 anti-Scientology documentary Going Clear was on my mind, as was the haunting "To My Loved Ones in Scientology...Call Me" billboard I drove past daily in Echo Park. I felt reasonably confident in my sense of self, but still... what if my innocent investigative trip to the Renaissance Restaurant ended with me abandoning my friends and family for a life in Sea Org?

    My anxiety mounted as a very attentive Church representative escorted me through the Celebrity Centre's lush garden and tastefully appointed lobby, only to find no sign of the two friends who'd agreed to meet me at the restaurant. The spookily ornate splendor of the almost-empty dining room made me feel like I'd stumbled onto the set of a new Ryan Murphy show in pre-production; to distract myself, I chatted with the hostess, a friendly young woman so set on talking me through the Celebrity Centre's unique architectural history, she didn't notice me covertly sending a series of increasingly panicked texts to my friends (see evidence below).

    When my friends finally joined me, another beaming guide brought us to the brunch spread, which was as bountiful as the Yelp reviews had promised, with hot trays of deviled eggs, pancakes, sausage and salmon spilling forth from every direction. The amount of food seemed excessive, though, considering that with two exceptions (a sunburned man in a cowboy hat and a teenage girl picking at a plate of grapes), ours was the only table in use.

    My friends and I filled our plates, steeling ourselves for the unexpected; would we have to sit through a pre-meal prayer service? Study L. Ron Hubbard quotes spelled out in syrup? What actually happened, though, was the most surprising thing of all: nothing. Nothing weird, that is. Our well-coiffed, slightly weary waitress chitchatted about the weather as we dug into our food, which turned out to be somewhat disappointing diner-type fare; rubbery eggs, limp bacon and watery fruit. Between the Renaissance Restaurant's over-the-top gilded decor, near-empty dining hall and wildly generous portions of "meh" food, it felt like we were brunching at an abandoned airport-lounge buffet in Versailles. Creepy? Perhaps, but at least nobody interrupted our mediocre meal to wax rhapsodic about Dianetics.

    Renaissance Restaurant is located inside the Scientology Celebrity Centre at 5930 Franklin Avenue is Los Feliz. (323) 960-3222

    Cult Brunch #2: Cafe Gratitude in Venice

    "How are you feeling today?" breathed the willowy hostess who stepped forward to greet me at Cafe Gratitude. It took me a second to register the question, which I tend to associate more with a doctor's office than a restaurant, but then again, Cafe Gratitude is no ordinary restaurant. Originally founded in San Francisco in 2004, Cafe Gratitude has become the culinary epicenter of the booming L.A. health-and-wellness world; basically, if you've ever met a girl at a party who's really into crystals, you stand a solid chance of bumping into her again at Cafe Gratitude. The 100% vegan, plant-based restaurant's owners refer to their business as "sacred commerce", describing Cafe Gratitude to the Huffington Post as "a business that considers that we all are connected and that the only real win is the win-win" (which sounds something like what you'd get if you hired Deepak Chopra to ghostwrite your tech startup's pitch deck.)

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