Your proprietor has been laid low by a virus right in the middle of all this intense publicity for Alex Gibney’s film, Going Clear. This is what we get for leaving the confines of the Bunker and interacting with germy human beings.
So we’re going to keep things short today, and trust our commenters to fill in by keeping an eye on all of the crazy press going on as we near the movie’s theatrical debut next week.
So we’ll start with yesterday’s Daily Beast article that took some people by surprise. In it, Mike Rinder and yours truly were quoted to say that Will Smith is not a Scientologist. We want to elaborate on that a little.
We have known for years that the dedicated Scientologist in the family was Will’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith. In 2008, the Smiths opened up a private school that used Scientology “Study Technology,” and also used ideas from Scientology “ethics.” The school was financed for three years by the Smiths, then struggled to bring in enough funding to continue, and it closed up in 2013.
We still have the only interview with the school’s first principal, Jacqueline Olivier, who told us about Will Smith enforcing the Scientology rules at the school.
But we had an excellent source very close to Will who told us that the actor was a dabbler who had an interest in all religions, “but belonged to none of them.” If Will enforced Scientology at the academy, it was an experiment he and his wife were trying seven years ago.
Rinder and your proprietor continue to monitor these kinds of things, and we each received new information that Will Smith’s fascination with Scientology is over. Our source on this is really very excellent, which is why we spoke so definitively to Marlow Stern, the Daily Beast reporter, whose story quoted us accurately throughout. We also believe that Jada has also ended her involvement.
We can already hear the questions. What about After Earth?. Well, After Earth was a very bad movie that made use of a lot of tired science fiction tropes, but Carnegie Mellon University professor Dave Touretzky pointed out that movie critics were quick to claim that there was a Scientology connection when he didn’t see one at all.
So, to sum up. Jada was really into the e-meter, and Will supported his wife’s interest by enforcing L. Ron Hubbard’s “technology” at their private school. But Will was only a dabbler, and today they’re both done with Scientology.
As for their kids — whoa, are they screwed up.
Moving on, we just wanted to make a minor observation, that the Hollywood Reporter could not have put a more confusing and ass-backwards headline on its story featuring a quote from us yesterday.
The observation we made was that to hardcore Sea Org members, the celebrities of Scientology aren’t really taken very seriously. And when Scientology leader David Miscavige anointed Tom Cruise in 2004 with a “freedom medal of valor” and named him the most important Scientologist in the world, many Sea Org members took it as a slap in the face. (We’ve talked to numerous people who were in the audience that night.)
However, even if Sea Org members have a complex relationship with Scientology’s celebrities, it was really misleading for The Hollywood Reporter to put this headline on the story, and leading with our quote: ‘Going Clear’ Filmmakers on How Scientology Sees Tom Cruise as “Useless”
No, that’s not what we said. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite of the film’s thrust, so it’s a shame to see that notion get turned around.
Finally, we appreciate all of the emails with links to a story that some of the tabs are pushing about a celebrity family member with some unusual claims: We’ll just say, please consider the source.
OK, back to the Nyquil. Thanks for the support!
Posted by Tony Ortega on March 5, 2015 at 07:00
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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