Russell Howard forced to deny Scientology benefit gig rumours

The comedian was rumoured to be performing for the controversial church for eye-watering ticket prices of up to £1,000

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The Independent Online

Russell Howard has been forced to deny that he has accepted an invitation to perform at an upcoming benefit gig for the Church of Scientology.

Rumours began to circulate after a Facebook page was set up, claiming that the comedian would be putting in an appearance at the Scientology venue Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead over the Valentine’s Day weekend in 2014.

The post read: “We are holding a very special Ideal Org fund-raising event in February here in East Grinstead: the hilarious Russell Howard will be doing a private gig!”

It went on to give extortionate ticket pricing details. Followers were offered standing tickets for £75, second and third row tickets for £175, £500 for good seats plus a signed book, and an eye-watering £1,000 to meet the comedian.

Responding to the bizarre reports on Twitter, Howard posted: Woke up this morning to find I'm apparently doing a benefit for Scientology!?“

“Of course it's not true. I'm not a Scientologist; I'm a Jedi,” he added.

Scientology is a ‘religion’ developed by the science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. It boasts legions of high-profile celebrity followers such Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Will Smith.

Last week, it was confirmed that the UK’s first Scientology wedding is set to go ahead after the Supreme Court ruled the church’s chapels are “places of worship”.

Scientologist Louisa Hodkin had wanted to marry her fiancé Alessando Calcioli at the church’s London headquarters, and took her fight to the highest level after a High Court judge decided against her.

That decision has been overturned by five Supreme Court justices, who have been considering the case since a hearing in July and today ruled the Scientology church was a “place of meeting for religious worship”.

Read more on that story here.