First, $cientology Spokesman Tommy Davis walks out on his ABC interview with Martin Bashir after being confronted with questions about the “church’s” beliefs. Then the French government fined “the church” 600,000 Euros ($902,200) for fraud.
But now comes news that Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis has not only left $cientology, but has publicly denounced the cult too. In his open letter, he blasted $cientology on a number of things.
Haggis called them out on their involvement involvement in California’s Prop 8 that overturned gay marriage in the state, their refusal to denounce this anti-gay bigotry, and their lies to cover it up:
As you know, for ten months now I have been writing to ask you to make a public statement denouncing the actions of the Church of Scientology of San Diego. […] I called and wrote and implored you, as the official spokesman of the church, to condemn their actions. I told you I could not, in good conscience, be a member of an organization where gay-bashing was tolerated.
In that first conversation, back at the end of October of last year, you told me you were horrified, that you would get to the bottom of it and “heads would roll.” You promised action. Ten months passed. No action was forthcoming. The best you offered was a weak and carefully worded press release, which praised the church’s human rights record and took no responsibility. Even that, you decided not to publish.
The church’s refusal to denounce the actions of these bigots, hypocrites and homophobes is cowardly. I can think of no other word. Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent.
He also called them out on the cult’s disconnection policy as well as their dishonest denials of the policy:
I was shocked. We all know this policy exists. I didn’t have to search for verification – I didn’t have to look any further than my own home.
You might recall that my wife was ordered to disconnect from her parents because of something absolutely trivial they supposedly did twenty-five years ago when they resigned from the church. This is a lovely retired couple, never said a negative word about Scientology to me or anyone else I know – hardly raving maniacs or enemies of the church. In fact it was they who introduced my wife to Scientology.
Although it caused her terrible personal pain, my wife broke off all contact with them. I refused to do so. I’ve never been good at following orders, especially when I find them morally reprehensible.
For a year and a half, despite her protestations, my wife did not speak to her parents and they had limited access to their grandchild. It was a terrible time. […] To see you lie so easily, I am afraid I had to ask myself: what else are you lying about?
Haggis then called $cientology out on the cult’s “Fair Game” policy in which the they viciously attack their critics:
How dare you use private information in order to label someone an “adulteress?” You took Amy Scobee’s most intimate admissions about her sexual life and passed them onto the press and then smeared them all over the pages your newsletter! I do not know the woman, but no matter what she said or did, this is the woman who joined the Sea Org at 16! She ran the entire celebrity center network, and was a loyal senior executive of the church for what, 20 years? You want to rebut her accusations, do it, and do it in the strongest terms possible – but that kind of character assassination is unconscionable.
So, I am now painfully aware that you might see this an attack and just as easily use things I have confessed over the years to smear my name. Well, luckily I have never held myself up to be anyone’s role model.
The great majority of Scientologists I know are good people who are genuinely interested in improving conditions on this planet and helping others. I have to believe that if they knew what I now know, they too would be horrified. But I know how easy it was for me to defend our organization and dismiss our critics, without ever truly looking at what was being said; I did it for thirty-five years. And so, after writing this letter, I am fully aware that some of my friends may choose to no longer associate with me, or in some cases work with me. I will always take their calls, as I always took yours. However, I have finally come to the conclusion that I can no longer be a part of this group. Frankly, I had to look no further than your refusal to denounce the church’s anti-gay stance, and the indefensible actions, and inactions, of those who condone this behavior within the organization. I am only ashamed that I waited this many months to act. I hereby resign my membership in the Church of Scientology.
Haggis specifically cited a series of articles in the St. Petersburg Times, showing just how effective a tool the internet has become in combatting $cientology’s misinformation. The St. Petersburg Times went even further by chronicling $cientology’s official responses to their articles (in writing as well as audio) and a host of background information about the cult.