Ebner Undercover: Scientology

SPY6a1996 | Do you Want to Buy a Bridge?| Mark Ebner | SpyMagazine

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In the ‘video’ section of this site are documentary programmes, going back to 1967, made in the UK, USA and Germany. It is quite remarkable how little Scientology’s standard operating procedure has changed. The Church behaves in the same way over time and across different cultures.

This print article goes back to 1996 and is set in the US – specifially the Los Angeles Dianetics Testing Center, near the Hollywood ‘walk of fame’. Ebner simply took the still-familiar ‘Free Personality Test” and the Scientology ‘IQ test’, and paid $125 to experience the introductory stages of Scientology training (triggering a hard sell campaign that is unchanged to this day).

It is truly remarkable how the recruitment procedure and Scientology ‘training’ described by Ebner have hardly changed over the intervening 29 years.

Ebner is an uncompromising investigative journalist whose hard-baked self-presentation conceals an insightful observer and entertaining writer. He has a strong interest in the social phenomenon of  Hollywood ‘celebrity’ – so it was inevitable that he would look into the Church of Scientology, whose celebrity supporters famously include Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

Ebner’s expertise in this area led him to be employed as a  consultant for South Park Studios. He advised them on the making of the controversial episode,  ‘Trapped in the Closet“, which mauled both Scientology and the behaviour of Scientology’s celebrity members. Judging from the tenor of this article, Ebner must have enjoyed that episode very much, and appreciated the irony when it was nominated for an Emmy award.

Ebner also co-wrote “Hollywood Interrupted’: Insanity Chic in Babylon – The Case Against Celebrity”, with Andrew Breitbart – I book which I now plan to discuss here.



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