Alex Gibney: Going Clear

Discussion in 'Media' started by DeathHamster, Nov 24, 2014.

  1. Vulture: HBO’s Scientology Exposé Going Clear Is Jaw-Dropping

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    The revelations in Alex Gibney’s new documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief won’t come as a huge surprise to anyone who’s read Lawrence Wright’s devastating, similarly titled book-length exposé. But a movie is a very different thing than a book, for better and for worse. There were numerous books about SeaWorld’s shady practices before Blackfish came around; there was tons of literature on climate change before An Inconvenient Truth came out. Raise your profile and you raise your stakes. This is something Gibney and Wright understand. It’s also something Scientology understands. That’s probably why they’ve been fighting back so vehemently against this film, which is opening in limited theatrical release this week and will show on HBO later this month. (It premiered at Sundance in January, with a heavily buzzed-about screening that saw festival volunteers forming a human chain around Gibney and his subjects afterward.)

    The cult is right to be scared. Going Clear is spectacular stuff. Literally. Scientology thrives on spectacle, and one big advantage the film has over the book is that it can show us footage of Scientology’s big “events,” which look like Nazi rallies crossed with Hollywood awards shows. It can also show us video footage of the church’s leaders dissembling and evading when confronted by reporters. Seeing is disbelieving: Watching this stuff, instead of merely reading about it, somehow makes Scientology both more ridiculous and more chilling.

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  2. The Wrong Guy Member

    The wife of Scientology's leader has allegedly been missing for 9 years, but HBO’s new documentary doesn't address it | Business Insider

    'Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief' review: Religion that lores Tom Cruise, John Travolta, other celebs | New York Daily News

    John Travolta Blackmailed Into Staying Closeted By Scientology, New Documentary Claims | NewNowNext

    The Challenges Of Making A Scientology Documentary, According To 'Going Clear' Director | LAist
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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    New Scientology Documentary ‘Going Clear’ Outs John Travolta. Again. | Queerty

    First paragraph:

    Not that this is remotely shocking news, but the new HBO documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief reportedly outs John Travolta for the sixth ninth fifteenth time. We’ve stopped counting.

    Last paragraph:

    It really makes us wonder though — how could coming out in today’s social and political landscape really be worse than living at the beck and call of Scientology? It seems like there must be more than meets the eye.
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  4. The Wrong Guy Member

    'Going Clear:' Scientology's Final Say | Hollywood Reporter

    As Alex Gibney's documentary Going Clear opens around the country, the Church of Scientology is making its final stand against the film in the form of a five-page letter to The Hollywood Reporter.

    The letter opens, "In two hours this film racks up more falsehoods, errors, embellished tales and blatant omissions than were committed by Rolling Stone, Brian Williams and Bill O'Reilly combined. By our calculation, the film on average includes at least one major error every two minutes."

    The letter, which can be read here, attempts to rip apart Gibney's sources in the film with ad hominem attacks, describing one as a wife beater, one as a violent psychopath and yet another as a home wrecker, but fails to tackle any major revelation in the film.

    THR initially reached out to the Church to request a viewing of the documentary with top Church officials, but Church spokeswoman Karin Pouw declined this offer. Instead, she asked for a list of questions about the film, which she would "be happy" to answer, so that's what THR sent: a list of twenty questions regarding specific allegations in Gibney's work, such as the claim that L. Ron Hubbard once said starting a religion is the easiest way to make money.

    Pouw's letter is the Church's blanket response to each of the film's claims, which include the following: Hubbard was involved with the occult; Hubbard once kidnapped his own daughter; Hubbard founded Scientology as a way to bolster his declining book sales; Scientology's secretive Sea Org was founded by Hubbard as a ploy to remain beyond the reach of the IRS, which was investigating him for tax evasion; Hubbard wrote a letter in 1947 to the Veterans Administration (now the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) in the wake of his World War II service, seeking out psychiatric help; the Church pays its members between $.06-$.40 an hour for labor services; the Church buys up expensive real estate property simply to maintain its tax exempt status, which requires a large portion of its earnings to be spent for the benefit its congregation; the Church blackmailed John Travolta with private information to keep him from leaving the Church; the Church enacts a draconian "Disconnection" policy, which mandates that Church members completely cut off anyone who leaves Scientology, including friends and family.

    Pouw's response letter wholly dismisses THR's questions: "The false allegations in Gibney's film are reflected in each of the questions you ask," Pouw writes. "Those questions bear no relationship to L. Ron Hubbard or to the Scientology religion. Rather than provide a response to each of these questions, which are part of Gibney's propaganda, I am going to take up the sources of these allegations so you understand their motivations to spread hatred, religious bigotry and lies. We are not trying to discredit these people. It is simply that Mr. Gibney is miscrediting them."

    Continued here (including a few cult site links):
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  5. I saw it this afternoon and it was fucking fantastic.
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  6. anon8109 Member

    How much of Scientology's attack video is true?

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  7. Anonymous Member

    After watching the entire video, I think that it's a given that the church of scientology lie factory only creates and produces lies, so there is nothing in the cult's attack video that is true.
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  8. 287

    From NYTimes:

    Gratuitous embellishment?

    Review: Alex Gibney Takes On Scientology in ‘Going Clear’



    "For some reason, Mr. Gibney gratuitously pumps up one such story — that of Sylvia Taylor, called Spanky, who says she had to flee with her baby — with a brief, dramatic re-creation.

    If ever a documentary didn’t need embellishment it’s this one. Mr. Hubbard was an outsize, fascinating figure: what other science-fiction writer — the author of apparently more than 1,000 published books — can lay claim to starting a worldwide religion? "
  9. 00anon00 Member

    Is that a good thing?
  10. Gratuitous pumped up embellishment?
  11. Disambiguation Global Moderator

    Communicator- duplicate post deleted.
  12. Thanks. It was a mistake because I have no idea what I duped. :)
  13. Marketplace: 'Going Clear' explores the finances of Scientology

    Audio at link.

    Produced by Eliza Mills, Interview by Lizzie O'Leary
    Friday, March 13, 2015 - 14:38

    Marketplace's Lizzie O'Leary speaks to filmmaker Alex Gibney and author-producer Lawrence Wright about their HBO documentary, "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief."

    "Going Clear" opens in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York on Friday, March 13, with a broadcast release on HBO on March 29th.

    More information about the Scientology response to the film is available at the Church of Scientology Freedom Magazine website.

    Listen to the full interview with Alex Gibney and Lawrence Wright in the player above.

    Featured in: Marketplace Weekend for Friday, March 13, 2015
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  14. Incredulicide Member

    LOL at one point in the audio (Waybacked) she says to Alex and Lawrence "go ahead and identify yourselves because you sound very alike."
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  15. Sounds like the NYTimes reviewer thought it marred an otherwise well done documentary.
  16. RightOn Member

    I think it would be great if Gibney includes the creepy bell tones from that protest at Gold Base way back when.
    If that doesn't say cult, I don't know what would.
  17. The Wrong Guy Member

    Bart & Fleming: On Alex Gibney’s HBO Scientology Documentary & Tom Cruise | Deadline

    By Peter Bart and Mike Fleming Jr.


    I must tell you this Alex Gibney-directed documentary left me gobsmacked. It is bold and gutsy, given the history of the church as a litigious enterprise. And an HBO showcase means people will see it way more than they do most docus launched at Sundance. Fueled by Lawrence Wright’s book and the on camera appearances of several former members who once held high posts in the church hierarchy, it paints Scientology as a whole cloth invention by a prolific science fiction writer who, per his ex-wife, succeeded in selling it as a belief system as a way to make money. It reveals L. Ron Hubbard as a teller of tall tales of his own wartime exploits that are worse than what got Brian Williams suspended, and depicts his lifelong mission as a quest to get the IRS off his back (the film says that for most of his life he was on the run from the IRS) by having Scientology declared a religion that would not have to pay taxes. What his successor David Miscavige is alleged to have done with the financial clout gained when the IRS gave in — it is suggested the agency capitulated to erase thousands of lawsuits filed directly against individual IRS staffers — is unconscionable. Miscavige comes off in the film as textbook megalomaniac, ruthless in abusing and manipulating staff to maintain control and exploit celebrity members. While Scientology has billions of tax-free real estate investments worldwide, the docu claims it pays member workers 40 cents an hour or less. The docu also charges Miscavige consolidated his iron grip by locking his leaders in trailers for exercises in cruelty that sound right out of Guantanamo Bay.


    As for Paramount, the studio has the right to ignore the whole controversy, which it likely will. Avoidance therapy was always a favored tactic of studio marketers. On the other hand, Paramount has always been tough with Tom. At the start of the Mission franchise, when Tom’s salary demands were deemed excessive, the studio flatly said ‘no’ and, when CAA dug in, Sumner Redstone summarily fired him. The studio refused to sign on to a deal where its star would make millions before it saw any profits. That was a fight over money. If Tom Cruise’s ‘religion’ makes him a financial liability, he can always be ‘fired’ once again. That’s a sobering reality that may impact his thinking.
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  18. The Wrong Guy Member

    Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief | Movie Reviews | Rotten Tomatoes

    "It isn't about questioning a belief system but rather those who would manipulate and exploit it."
    - Robert Levin, amNewYork

    "If Going Clear were a Hollywood thriller, I'd complain that it's too over-the-top. But this is real life, which is mind-blowing, and as a documentary, it's disturbingly good."
    - Melissa Maerz, Entertainment Weekly

    "Consider "Going Clear" an audit for the former leaders and most prominent members of the Church of Scientology, now willing to come forward and allege abuse, intimidation, and brainwashing."
    - Brian Tallerico,

    "The cult is right to be scared. Going Clear is spectacular stuff. Literally."
    - Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine/Vulture

    "Will likely pop some eyes among those only casually acquainted with the church's bizarre workings."
    - Kurt Loder, Reason Online

    "This impeccably assembled and argued film represents a brave, timely intervention into debates around the organization that have been simmering for some time."
    - Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter

    "It doesn't add a lot to what was known about the church, but it puts it all in a compact format that hits Scientology squarely in the thetans."
    - Kyle Smith, New York Post

    "There is a sense of latent awakening that Gibney manages to capture, and that's the most compelling part about 'Going Clear.' That dawning realization will be spreading soon enough, and that's clearly what terrifies the leadership of Scientology the most."
    - Katie Walsh, The Playlist

    More here:
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  19. anon8109 Member

    Of the 19 movie reviews on RottenTomatoes 17 are positive.

    The complaint from the two negative reviews was that the film didn't dig deeper into the cult.
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  20. The Wrong Guy Member

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  21. Indiewire - Thompson on Hollywood:

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    "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief" (HBO) - Criticwire: A-; Metacritic: 82; Festivals include: Sundance 2015
    $(est.) 60,000 in 3 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $(est.) 20,000

    With its cable showings in two weeks, this is going to have little theatrical play. But the grosses here-- led by an estimated $40,000-plus at the Arclight Hollywood, just west of the Church of Scientology's world headquarters -- show the strong interest in the subject that was evident at its Sundance premiere. The church seems to be doing all it can to bring more attention to the film with so many full page ads denouncing it.

    The upbeat reaction could enhance the film's long term awards chances. But the Oscar-qualifying run pulling audiences should reinforce the fact that theaters still play a significant role. While the New York Times accorded the movie much attention and a review, The Los Angeles Times did not review it, nor did HBO take out an ad, which makes the LA gross even more potent. The LA Times will likely cover the doc when it comes to HBO on March 29.

    What comes next: HBO may not be interested in expanding to more theaters, though these grosses could yield bookings.

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  22. anon8109 Member

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  23. anon8109 Member

    I like how Gibney doesn't beat around the bush and points out the Scientology corporation's lies in their response.

    He also describes "fair game", something you rarely see mentioned in US mainstream news. If there is a news story about ":fair game" they usually call it "harassment". But using the company's own terminology for "fair game" is a powerful condemnation.
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  24. Karen#1
    Silver Meritorious Patron[IMG]


    We loved it.

    There is much to say about it, but I want to *percolate* on it for a day or 2.
    One thing I am going to say right now.

    The IRS tax exemption gave them unbelievable power ~~ the full force of the 1st amendment ~~ the freedom to be *brutal* and call it "religious discipline" and so on and "Going Clear" shows this is great depth. Including how Hubbard did everything he could to avoid paying his fair share of Tax, setting the pace for the organization to do everything it could to avoid paying taxes even while it ran and operated like a business.

    But this *tax exemption" is a 2 edged sword. I am of the opinion that their feet will be held to the fire more and more as they spend money *NOT to the public benefit* and flaunt scammy real estate acquisitions and abuse innurement and all the rules and regulations that a charity is supposed to uphold.

    So Tax exemption got them where they are today and Tax exemption will be their undoing.
    Who would have thought 10 years ago that folk like Alex Gibney and Larry Wright would call for the revoking of the Cult's Tax exemption? It is almost a battle cry in 2015. Whew.
  25. anon8109 Member

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  26. The Wrong Guy Member

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  27. anon8109 Member

    I reported a few of these to YouTube and let them know that they were sprouting up like mushrooms.
    It looks like YouTube listened and deleted a bunch of them, though new ones are already starting to pop up.
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  28. DeathHamster Member

    They look like the spam crap that shows up for any trending movie, rather than a CoS op.
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  29. Los Angeles Magazine: Going Clear Isn’t the Controversial Scientology Documentary People Were Anticipating. It’s Better

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    We hear from a mother—who initially believed that Scientology would enable her to save the world—who had to rescue her sick, fly-ridden, urine-soaked infant from the Church child care center before literally running into a friend’s waiting car. Another mother tells about her adult daughter “disconnecting” from her after being instructed to do so by the Church.

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  30. The Wrong Guy Member

    Ranking Scientology’s Going Clear Smear Videos By Watchability

    By Vince Mancini, Uproxx

    Yesterday I told you about the Church of Scientology’s attempts to discredit anyone, especially former Scientologists, who appeared in Alex Gibney’s Going Clear, in advance of its television premiere March 29th on HBO. The latest was an open letter to the Hollywood Reporter with a person-by-person takedown of every former Scientologist who appeared in the film or the Lawrence Wright book on which it was based. The letter included links to church-produced videos with awesome titles like “Mike Rinder: The Wife Beater,” “Marc Headley: The Soulless Sellout,” and “Sara Goldberg: The Home Wrecker.”

    Stupidly, at the time, I hadn’t watched those videos. I since have, and I can report that they’re comedy gold. As BoingBoing described them, “Scientology Goes Full Tim & Eric.” Here, I rank them all, from least to most watchable.

    Continued with open comments here:
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