At a presentation yesterday in the Conway Hall in London, Tony Ortega dropped the bombshell that Sky Atlantic will broadcast the Alex Gibney documentary film “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” in the UK in September. This has subsequently been confirmed by the BBC.
The broadcast of this documentary film had previously been postponed, apparently due to doubts about whether Sky would fall foul of the more repressive libel legislation still in force in Northern Ireland, and be sued by the Church of Scientology. It seems that Sky (which cannot exclude Northern Ireland from its coverage) has decided to call Scientology’s bluff.
Ortega (on the left) is an investigative journalist who writes the best blog about Scientology and appears in the film as an expert on Scientology. He knows whereof he speaks. This presentation was fascinating in itself and there is more about it after the break (including the video). However, before we move on, I would like to appeal for information from readers.
Before the UK broadcast of “Going Clear” was postponed, the Church of Scientology launched a media blitz. They promoted their front groups in full-page ads in publications such as “The New Statesman” and “Metro”, on social media and electronic billboards.
The advertisement in “The New Statesman” regarding ‘Volunteer Ministers’ was the subject of a complaint to the UK Advertising Standards Association. As a result the Church of Scientology agreed not to present VMs as if they were a relief organisation in future.
The Church of Scientology is unlikely to let the broadcast go without some media response – which may break their promise to the ASA or lay them open to complaints on other grounds. If anyone in the UK sees an advertisement, especially in a newspaper or print periodical, promoting Scientology front groups please let me know about it in the comments, or via the feedback page.
Seated at the left is Tony Ortega, author of the blog “The Underground Bunker” and the book “The Unbreakable Miss Lovely“, about the persecution of the investigative Journalist Paulette Cooper after she published a “The Scandal of Scientology” back in 1971. This was one of the first books which was critical of the organisation. The abusive treatment she was subjected to, over a period of years, beggars belief.
Seated at the right (in the chair reserved for Tom Cruise) is John Sweeney, the investigative Journalist who famously clashed with the Church of Scientology in the BBC documentary documentaries, “Scientology and Me“and the follow-up “The Secrets of Scientology.” His experiences during filming this programmes inform his book about Scientology, “The Church of Fear” and his iconoclastic personal appearances.
Seated in the centre is Humfrey Hunter, who acts as Sweeney’s agent and publisher (as Silvertail Books).
He has not only published Sweeney’s book,”The Church of Fear” but also Ortega’s,”The Unbreakable Miss Lovely” and new editions of the essential books about Scientology history – Russell Miller’s “Bare Faced Messiah” and Jon Atack’s, “Let’s Sell These People a Piece of Blue Sky“. To call him a publisher is like calling Evel Knievel a motorcyclist.