'Going Clear': HBO broadcasts film alleging torture by Church of Scientology


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The Independent US

It’s the film the Church of Scientology would rather you didn’t see: on Sunday night HBO broadcast director Alex Gibney’s acclaimed documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which contains devastating claims about the controversial religion.

Former Scientologists interviewed in the film claim members have been tortured or subjected to hard labour, and that those who leave the organisation are branded “apostates”, harassed and prevented from communicating with those still in the church.

Scientology’s late founder, L Ron Hubbard, and his successor David Miscavige are both accused of physical abuse, while Gibney’s interviewees claim the church intentionally wrecked the marriage of its most prominent member,  Tom Cruise, to Nicole Kidman. The church denies these claims.

Going Clear contains few revelations not already included in Lawrence Wright’s 2013 book of the same name. But those revelations will now have reached many more households. The church has devoted significant resources to discrediting Gibney and Wright since Going Clear premiered at Sundance in January, creating a website devoted to criticising the film, its creators and contributors, as well as a rebuttal documentary, Get The Truth!

Scientology representatives recently sent a five-page letter to The Hollywood Reporter calling the film a “bigoted propaganda piece” that has “at least one major error every two minutes”. Gibney told CNN that the letter was, “frankly, ridiculous”.