Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Paul Haggis, Lawrence Wright react to Alex Gibney’s Emmys sweep for ‘Going Clear’


[Alex and Anne Gibney and Tom DeVocht at the Emmys last night]

What a night for Alex Gibney and his documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. Not only did the film win the Emmy for outstanding documentary, but Gibney also won Emmys for writing and for directing.

We brought you some of the scene last night at the awards ceremony in downtown Los Angeles. After the win, we asked people who took part in the film for their reactions to the awards sweep for Gibney.


Lawrence Wright was a winner himself. Not only was the movie based on his book, but he was one of the producers of the film and so he also wins an Emmy for the Outstanding Documentary nod, along with producer Kristen Vaurio, supervising producer Sara Bernstein and executive producers Sheila Nevins and Chris Wilson.

“I think Hollywood was taking stock of what is going on in its own community. It was a stand-up declaration on the part of the Television Academy,” Wright tells us.

Not only did Alex have excellent source material in Larry’s book, he also had tireless work from people like Vaurio, who peppered us with questions during production of the film, and chased down leads in order to find amazing archival footage.

“We’re so grateful to all the people who were courageous enough to share their stories with us,” she says.

Alex himself, like Kristen, chose to thank the people who appeared in the film — some of whom subsequently faced an increase in harassment by the Church of Scientology.

“The Emmys are a tribute to the brave witnesses who were willing to speak out to end human rights abuses in the church,” Alex tells us. “And I hope the sharp wings of the statue will finally prod the IRS to do the right thing: End the church’s tax exemption.”

We reached out to those people who were in the film. We’ll add their words as they come in. Paul Haggis got back to us right away. Here’s what he had to say…


“I’m thrilled for Alex and Lawrence. It’s a brave film and these awards are well deserved. I am also happy that some of the fear surrounding this organization and its adherents is lifting, especially in Hollywood, where, for the most part, questions are still whispered rather than spoken.”

Over at his blog, former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder had this to say: “Alex Gibney​ is a real champion of human rights — not because someone handed him a certificate that says so after he handed over some cash to them. He has the courage to stand up and speak out loudly about abuses and refuse to be bullied into silence. He is a national treasure who should be widely and uniformly lauded and supported.”

And Jason Beghe sent us this terse reply…


“I hope it helps.”

Sara Goldberg sent us these thoughts…


“For those of us telling our stories in the film, Alex Gibney brought all of our voices together and shined the light of truth on the dark side of Scientology. And now with the Emmy Awards of Best Doc, Director, and Writer, Hollywood has recognized and rightfully awarded this great work. Alex Gibney, Lawrence Wright, HBO and those involved in its production are heroes. As Jason Beghe said, “I hope it helps.” But more specifically, I hope this film reaches far and wide, warning others of the dangers – particularly that you could lose your family. I hope the added weight of Going Clear’s Emmys will get others in the cult of Scientology to wake up. I hope and pray I get my daughter and grand-daughter back in my life.”


Bonus photos from our tipsters

Yet another “Continental Ideal Narconon” opened yesterday, this time the Villa Victoria Estado De Mexico…




We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.

Tony Ortega’s upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…

Sept 15: Phoenix, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 555 N. Central Ave in downtown Phoenix, Cronkite Theater on 2nd floor, 5:30 pm, sponsored by ASU’s Barrett Honors College

Sept 23: Cleveland, Parma Heights Library, 7pm sponsored by Center for Inquiry – Northeast Ohio

Sept 24: Minneapolis, Grumpy’s Bar & Grill, 2801 Snelling Ave, Roseville, 7 pm, sponsored by Minnesota Atheists

Sept 27: Portland, Friendly House, 1737 NW 26th Ave, 12:45 pm, sponsored by Humanists of Portland

Sept 28: Seattle, Razzi’s Pizzeria, 7 pm, with Seattle Skeptics and Seattle Atheists

Sept 29: Vancouver, BC, Seven Dining Lounge, 7 pm

Oct 23: Sydney, Giant Dwarf Theatre (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)

Oct 25: Melbourne, venue secured (announcement coming later)

Oct 28: Adelaide (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)

Oct 30: Perth

Past dates: Santa Barbara (5/16), Hollywood (5/17), Orange County (5/17), San Diego (5/20), San Francisco (5/22), New York (6/11), Chicago (6/20), Toronto (6/22), Clearwater (6/28), Washington DC (7/12), Hartford (7/14), Denver (7/17), Dallas (7/20), Houston (7/22), San Antonio (7/24), Austin (7/25), Paris (7/29), London (8/4), Boston (8/24)


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 13, 2015 at 07:30

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT 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 mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email