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‘Going Clear’ premieres at Sundance, and we watched in awe with the celebs

GoingClearPosterTobey Maguire was sitting in the row behind us. Alec Baldwin was down near the front. Morgan Spurlock and Kathryn Bigelow had joined us in the green room with Alex Gibney and Lawrence Wright.

But the real stars of the show — the ones who provided an emotional wallop — were sitting around us as we watched Gibney’s documentary about Scientology, Going Clear, at its Sundance premiere.

There was Sara Goldberg, who had been forced by Scientology officials to make a choice between her son and her daughter because of the toxic “disconnection” policy. There was Spanky Taylor, who had been forced to rescue her infant daughter from filthy conditions at the cadet org and make a run for it. That daughter, Vanessa, was in attendance too. And so was Marc Headley, who doesn’t appear in the film but references are made to him, and as we were walking out of the theater, I could see that he was in tears.

“Finally, this is what we’ve been waiting for,” he told me.

Going Clear is not only the single best film or television show made about Scientology, it’s masterful storytelling and it packs a serious punch squarely at the people who have allowed the organization’s abuse to go along for so long.

Tom Cruise and John Travolta, you are now on notice.

Because Gibney’s film was based on Lawrence Wright’s epic 2013 book of the same name, we knew that it would have a strong Hollywood angle. But this is a punch to the gut that will be hard for the celebrities to dodge.

We hear from Marty Rathbun, for example, that when he was auditing Cruise, the actor was frustrated in his relationship with Nicole, and wished he knew what she was doing — he half-joked about wishing she was being wiretapped. Rathbun told church leader Miscavige about what Cruise had said, and Miscavige took it seriously — get it done, Miscavige said. Rathbun was also told to convince Isabella and Connor Cruise that their adoptive mother was a “suppressive person” to assure that Tom not only broke up with Nicole but ended up with the children.

UPDATE AND CORRECTION: We had heard the allegation by Marty Rathbun that Scientology tried to drive a wedge between Isabella and Connor and their mother, Nicole. But Rathbun pointed out that the wiretapping allegations are new and he’s right. He had told this numerous times to news organizations, but Gibney is the first to make it public.

There are numerous surprises here — including first-person accounts by Sara Northrup, L. Ron Hubbard’s second wife, read by an actress for the film — that have never been made public before. Also, many new photos and film footage that are amazing.

But for the most part, this is not new material. These are not secrets. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is that for two hours, Alex Gibney has put together a spellbinding tale about Hubbard, a madman who created “psychological folk art” as Wright called it, in order to deal with his own mental demons, and in the process roped in thousands of others.

We were spot on when we predicted the eight former Scientologists who were interviewed for the film — Jason Beghe, Tom DeVocht, Sara Goldberg, Paul Haggis, Marty Rathbun, Mike Rinder, Spanky Taylor and Hana Whitfield. And they are terrific and used to the best possible effect.

 
GibneyEightA

They were each great on film…

Your proprietor also gets considerable screen time, which we were very humbled about, and prepare for things to get really busy at this website!

All in all, a devastating portrayal of a totalitarian organization whose tax exemption should be under question, and whose celebrities need to be called out for their complicity. This will hit hard when it plays on HBO. We can hardly wait.

We have to rush now to join the HBO party being thrown for its documentary filmmakers. We will post many photos and videos tomorrow. In the meantime, thanks for keeping up the party here in the Bunker!

Some additional notes before we rush off…

— Really superb footage was found by Gibney’s team from all eras of Scientology. From film of the Sea Org on the Apollo, to Miscavige working in his office with Marty Rathbun, to extended cuts from the War Is Over announcement in 1993.

— The music in this movie has a kind of throwback 1950s science fiction feel to it in places — it’s eerie and unsettling, and it goes perfectly with the content.

— Jason Beghe and Paul Haggis could not have been better. They both cracked up the audience numerous times. These guys are accomplished and funny, and Haggis is so great when he’s trying to explain how he felt when he read the OT 3 materials — “What the FUCK?”

— Indies, your man Hubbard does not get a pass in this film. Larry Wright’s book hammered L. Ron, and so does Gibney’s film.

— There is so much packed into this two-hour film, but even Gibney get couldn’t everything in. There’s nothing about Shelly Miscavige and her disappearance, for example.

— One of the things we try to do at this website is put a lot of disparate events and stories into a coherent narrative. And ‘Going Clear’ does this to great effect. It’s so important to see the entire arc of elements — from Hubbard to the Sea Org to the IRS to Tom Cruise — in a coherent whole, and Gibney succeeded beautifully.

 
UPDATE: We’re seeing that a lot of the press coverage is focused on the “Scientology broke up Tom and Nicole” thing, which is a bit disappointing. If that’s all you take away from this film — why a couple of movie stars broke up more than a decade ago — you’re really missing the impact of this movie.

But we think most people who actually sit through it will come away with two questions in their minds: Why does this organization still have tax exempt status, and when is Tom Cruise going to wake up?

 
——————–

 
Posted by Tony Ortega on January 25, 2015 at 20:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward

UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

 

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  • sugarplumfairy

    “…tom cruise and john travolta, you are now on notice…” About frking time..

    • Robert Eckert

      Are you bringing yourself up to present time? You missed a great party!

      • sugarplumfairy

        Had a busy weekend.. Thanks for letting me know.. I’ll try and catch up..

        • Robert Eckert

          Maybe just set to Best and read a screenful or two. Catching up entirely requires a Tony O level of speed reading.

  • Gerard Plourde

    “Your proprietor also gets considerable screen time, which we were very humbled about, and prepare for things to get really busy at this website!”

    Richly deserved screen time, Tony. Your work as well as that of Mark Bunker, Tory Christman and other laid the groundwork for Lawrence Wright’s book and now the HBO film.

  • F_Randy_Hullabaloo

    When do we hear about the armies of protesting Scientologists out side for the release of this terrible entheta? (Pin drop)

    • noseinabk

      Even with the COS smear campaign going on now, this is the most disturbing thing I’ve seen posted. Grotesque.

  • Theo Sismanides

    Oh, Tony, Tony! All those celebs attending…. (I guess those first names must be american celebs, am I wrong?) Well, Tony I’ve got news for you and them… Neither that film nor the church have the full version of what Scientology is all about.

    I, for one, have suffered as much as many others within the church (humiliation, defamation, incarceration with Security Guards, separation from my ex-wife) but I am soooo happy and grateful I got to know the Subject, not just its people. And certainly not any celebs…

    You amongst others are fond of celebs and names… that’s good Tony, that’s your life. And I have to admit you have done some service to the subject by presenting the world its bad (objectively) aspects but without the objectivity to admit that it’s humans who perpetrate those bad acts and it’s not the subject itself.

    The subject Tony you are not going to experience in any depth. I wish you one day to understand that. The subject is not for you as you always can give a twist to things. Be brave and come and interview ME, Mr. Tony Ortega. But before that you will get a reading assignment and some free wordclearing on anything you wouldn’t get.

    That bitter comment from me comes just because I was so disgusted reading your first paragraph about the celebs attending the event.

    I wish one day Mankind will have a chance to objective and freely decide on their own very existence. What are they? Who are they? Matter or Spirit? Let’s see how you could interview a spirit Mr. Ortega. Let’s walk on the wild side, will you?

    In any case, let me end up with something good in the sense you consider good: Some awareness can come out of this film especially for some high profile Scientologists like Tom Cruise and John Travolta. But with such attacks and no objectivity at all about the subject I am afraid this won’t happen. You have to understand Scientology, the subject, to understand its people. Not the church but the subject. Which is beyond a materialistic society like the American society. (sorry, I really couldn’t finish my comment by seeing the good but had to come back to my grievance that all is Matter to people today and Scientology should go down the chute all in one. Of course celebs were there… OMG! How important!)

    • noseinabk

      Get a grip Theo. You do know that Tony did not make this movie, nor does he pander to celebs. He is journalist who may have enjoyed the fact that a few celebs had an interest in watching a movie about a topic he has reported on for 20 years.
      Most do not care what sciontologist believe or practice. We do care about the abuses committed in the name of KSW and LRH.

      • Theo Sismanides

        If you do not care what scientology is all about you cannot see the abuses with an objective eye.

        In any case my comment was, and my viewpoint still is, that this society is a superficial, MEST (materialistic) oriented, c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y, and it happens that that is not just a scientology viewpoint. Many people share this viewpoint. So, I was disgusted by all those (unknown to the other side of the ocean, I live in Europe) celebs being there, doing nothing, but just watching “abuses”. Spectatorism…. That’s what this society is all about. Spectators. It’s good that a film was made, it would be better to want to know what Scientology is all about.

        So, Scientology is not just the bad practiced through human beings who happen to be suppressive but it’s also the good that can be found when one honestly deals with it. In that perspective no one is going to convince me that he/she knows what he/she is doing when the other side is never presented: the good side of scientology. I am open to an interview by Tony as he has done for many Independents. Unfortunately, what one can attain through action and practice and study cannot be attained through any interviews or videos or films. This is how life pays us back.

    • i-Betty

      Oh, Theo. I’m so sorry you’re still in the prison of scientology. We had hoped that you were starting to wake up for a while ๐Ÿ™

      Best to you.

  • Marie Claire Wolf

    Where is Shelly?

  • GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO TONY !!! I’s so glad they used Sarah’s story. I know her and she is a very truthful women ! Her story is so sad but all to true for what goes on inside $cientology and it hurts and destroys families , way too many of them. I have butterflies in my stomach like the first day of school awaiting the airing of the HBO Special. Tone, said the media after Sundance mainly focused on Tom Cruise and Nicole getting their divorce and that is bad. I’m making my bets that media is still a bit backed off until the HBO special comes out this March. Or may be to gun shy to print anything until after they see the special.

  • Arnie Lerma said that a Private Investigator named Tony Pellicano was raided a while back in Los Angeles. He tape recordings of Tom Cruise he was hired to do. Shouldn’t these be available through Freedom of Information Act too ?

  • alxj

    We do not need religious freedom
    What we need is freedom from religions i.e. no religions

    Religion is all about hidden motives, fund raising for questionable activities, brainwashing, sex crimes (pedophile priests), pretext for wars…etc. No worlds need any religion. We only need education to develop our ESP abilities which is sadly what this world has been missing for a long time.

    People only resort to religions simply because the ESP education has been missing in the current societies

    Forget about tax exemption, just ban all religions. Tom Cruise will eventually perish, he already causes a lot of embarrassment to the human race.

    • Eclipse-girl

      I call shenanigans.

      Anyone want to play, go ahead

      ESP Education? what a crock of BS. There has never been any scientific evidence of ESP.

      At the Bunker we are non denominational.
      We could care less about the beliefs of a person or an organization. We do care about the criminal activity.

      • alxj

        Do you understand what ESP means?

      • alxj

        Do you understand what ESP means?

      • alxj

        Do you understand what ESP means?

        • Eclipse-girl

          Edgar Cayce was a charlatan.

          And if you want to claim BS, go ahead but there is NO fact to it. Neither is their fact to Nostradamus. Just write some non specific BS and it will watch something in the future, at some time.

          If You had ESP or any other Psychic abilities why not try to get the $1 mill price from James Randi? Or is it because no one can ever demonstrate their “abilities” when a magician or a skeptic is present.

          • alxj

            What do you know about Edgar Cayce?

          • alxj

            To answer your questions:
            Eclipse-girl: If You had ESP or any other Psychic abilities why not try to get the $1
            mill price from James Randi? Or is it because no one can ever
            demonstrate their “abilities” when a magician or a skeptic is present.

            Actually I have seen somewhere that use psychic abilities to foretell lottery numbers and the accuracy rate is not bad but it includes numbers bigger than 58. Is James Randi still having a generous offer for game prize? Skeptics are negative, so best to stay away from them. Lottery players normally stay away from skeptics and negative people, it is just their habitual way to buy their tickets.

            Eclipse-girl: Why don’t you make your posts on current articles?

            If you can read between the lines of my original paragraphs and I hope you do, legislating to get the religion banned is one of the actions that need to be done so that all the criminal activities of the Church can be stopped.

            We have seen the 8 guys and other contributors put so much effort into it, say Wright’s brilliant quotes on Hubbard as a madman, black magician, the insanity of OT3, Shelly Miscavige disappearing…etc What is the next step? Well legislate to ban the church. My suggestions are just the nice fit as the next step of action

            But to have strong base to ban religions, I need to explain why by saying “Religion is all about hidden motives, fund raising for questionable activities, brainwashing, ….etc” and for most people who read the news and done their research, they will agree with me on that.

            Your next question is:
            Eclipse-girl: Why wait until a new one is posted before you post on an old post?

            It all depends on how I feel about the subject. Some site posts from Tony just do not interest me to post at all. But my point is very clear that just ban the religion because it causes way too much trouble, too many crimes go undetected and not even considered but the Church is still kicking around.

          • alxj

            To answer your questions:
            Eclipse-girl: If You had ESP or any other Psychic abilities why not try to get the $1
            mill price from James Randi? Or is it because no one can ever demonstrate their “abilities” when a magician or a skeptic is present.

            Actually I have seen somewhere that use psychic abilities to foretell lottery numbers and the accuracy rate is not bad but it includes numbers bigger than 58. Is James Randi still having a generous offer for game prize? Skeptics are negative, so best to stay away from them. Lottery players normally stay away from skeptics and negative people, it is just their habitual way to buy their tickets.

            Eclipse-girl: Why don’t you make your posts on current articles?

            If you can read between the lines of my original paragraphs and I hope you do, legislating to get the religion banned is one of the actions that need to be done so that all the criminal activities of the Church can be stopped.

            We have seen the 8 guys and other contributors put so much effort into it, say Wright’s brilliant quotes on Hubbard as a madman, black magician, the insanity of OT3, Shelly Miscavige disappearing…etc What is the next step? Well legislate to ban the church. My suggestions are just the nice fit as the next step of action

            But to have strong base to ban religions, I need to explain why by saying
            “Religion is all about hidden motives, fund raising for questionable activities, brainwashing, ….etc” and for most people who read the news and done their research, they will agree with me on that.

            Your next question is:
            Eclipse-girl: Why wait until a new one is posted before you post on an old post?

            It all depends on how I feel about the subject. Some site posts from Tony just do not interest me to post at all. But my point is very clear that just ban the religion because it causes way too much trouble, too many crimes go undetected and not even considered but the Church is still kicking around.

          • alxj

            To answer your questions:
            Eclipse-girl: If You had ESP or any other Psychic abilities why not try to get the $1
            mill price from James Randi? Or is it because no one can ever demonstrate
            their “abilities” when a magician or a skeptic is present.

            Actually I have seen somewhere that use psychic abilities to foretell lottery numbers and the accuracy rate is not bad but it includes numbers bigger than 58. Is James Randi still having a generous offer for game prize? Skeptics are negative, so best to stay away from them. Lottery players normally stay away from skeptics and negative people, it is just their habitual way to buy their tickets.

            Eclipse-girl: Why don’t you make your posts on current articles?

            If you can read between the lines of my original paragraphs and I hope you do, legislating to get the religion banned is one of the actions that need to be done so that all the criminal activities of the Church can be stopped.

            We have seen the 8 guys and other contributors put so much effort into it, say Wright’s brilliant quotes on Hubbard as a madman, black magician, the insanity of OT3, Shelly Miscavige disappearing…etc What is the next step? Well legislate to ban the church. My suggestions are just the nice fit as the next step of action

            But to have strong base to ban religions, I need to explain why by saying
            “Religion is all about hidden motives, fund raising for questionable activities,
            brainwashing, ….etc” and for most people who read the news and done their research, they will agree with me on that.

            Your next question is:
            Eclipse-girl: Why wait until a new one is posted before you post on an old post?

            It all depends on how I feel about the subject. Some site posts from Tony just do not interest me to post at all. But my point is very clear that just ban the religion because it causes way too much trouble, too many crimes go undetected and not even considered but the Church is still kicking around.

            • Eclipse-girl

              so you can’t stand it when everyone else tells you that Cayce was a charlatan and that if you can’t demonstrate your powers when their is a skeptic you probably don’t really have those powers.

              Thanks for playing

  • Ardent

    To all Bunkerites: with this sudden wave of mainstream attention we had better be ready and keen-eyed for the Trolls and nut-cases that will swarm in like roaches. Excelsior! ( and cheers!)
    Prepare your ‘Ignore Tech’.

  • PickAnotherID

    As welcome, and exciting, as Sundance was, I don’t think the real impact of this documentary will hit until it’s shown on HBO in March.

    If you think the Cof$ is unhappy with a live audience in one theater watching it, wait until several million viewers with DVR’s watch it. Then rewatch it. Then rewatch it again and start taking notes. Notes that turn into letters to Congress critters demanding to know why this pile of slime calling itself a “church” is tax exempt? I suspect around then Miscavige’s staff, and liver, are not going to be happy to be around him.

    So I’ll have a brew to celebrate the premier, but I think I’ll wait until March for the party.

  • Tom Reynolds

    This movie will fail and Scientology will win (as always), because when you are in the right, and pure, then victory is always sure to follow! God bless David Miscavige and the yeomans work he does for Mankind!!

    • noseinabk

      Haha! Great Sarcasm!

    • Rita Gregory

      March 16th, HBO, please watch and find out for yourself. Why do you think you’re not allowed to watch or read certain things? Because it will enturbulate you right out the door. Just blow.

    • i-Betty

      Hilarious! Heehee, thanks ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Shanester

    *delete

    • i-Betty

      I’ve just read this from top to bottom, enjoying many links I’d missed before, and laughing so much at your sense of humour. Your writing is EPIC, and your comment curating skills are second to none.

      THANK YOU!

      • Shanester

        ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Jenny Daniels
    • Free Minds, Free Hearts

      Thank you Shane!!!

    • Qbird

      oh thank you for this Shanester – I had missed quite a bit & am using your links, just now, to catch up proper-like. Wow baby!!! So good of you to write this all out.

      Pretty wonderful, you are, every which way…. again, tks.
      back to following the links ~

    • FromPolandWithLove

      Shanester I’m under great impression of Your work:). Bunket Team should be extremly grateful:)

  • Rob

    Some people will do and say just about about anything to make a buck off of a movie.

    • noseinabk

      Some people will only post in the older comment section sine they have no valid point to make.

    • i-Betty

      Oh, Rob ๐Ÿ™‚ Really? It’s too late to halt the avalanche, but good effort, nevertheless.

      • Rob

        The avalanche of ignorance? Oh. I
        noticed that a long time ago!

        • i-Betty

          That’s an utter nonsense. You might not agree with what you learn here but the worldwide Bunker community is widely accepted as one of the most knowledgeable and experienced in terms of Scientology as the specialist subject. We have exes and indies here. We have Tony Ortega, Jon Atack, Marc and Claire Headley, Karen de la Carriere, Jeff Augustine, Matt Pesch, Samantha Domingo, Pete Griffiths, Mark Bunker, Skip Press, Jefferson Hawkins, Bruce Hines, just some who come to mind; all using the Bunker to comment or speak out.

          ‘Ignorance’ is certainly lacking here in great quantity.

          • Rob

            I guess I just can’t be bothered to bash other people’s religions.

            • i-Betty

              What about other people’s cults? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Arne Havgaard

    First an important statement:
    I find Scientology is a horrifying system amongst other “religions” – make no mistake about that!

    In Denmark Scientology tries to market them selves as a religion though not being aproved they have tried. They aplicated for aproval in 1973, 1984 … and again 1997 – tax evation amongst other issues are most likely causes … my guess are that they never will be approved.

    But more interestingly:
    What is the actual difference between “religions” based on figures from folklore thousand of years ago or “religions” e.g. invented in “our” time except, maybe age?

    I guess all the “alternatively thinking” people burnt, imprisoned or otherwise corrected in the middle ages didยดnt find “religions” worshipping any thing but money, power and themselves …

    So this is very much about going “clear” and prisons of belief – which prison … your choise or?

    • i-Betty

      In any other religion you are told about its practices and beliefs at entry level, as it were. In the cult of Scientology you are made to wait years and spend up to half a million dollars before learning what it is all about: stupid space aliens and the fact their souls are clinging to you in the billions. And, look! You need rather a lot more money to exorcise those space aliens.

      There has never been a single ‘clear’.

  • Jesse Garrison

    Does this mean we might get Downtown Clearwater back? They turned it into a ghost town……

    • aquaclara

      I have high hopes…..

  • noseinabk

    For some great commentary and links, please sort the comments to Best.

    • i-Betty

      You rock ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Cece

    (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));
    Post by Cece Marie Smith.

  • Nat-lificent

    test