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Oscar snubs Alex Gibney’s Scientology documentary ‘Going Clear’ despite buzz


A day after Alex Gibney learned that he’d been nominated for an award by the Director’s Guild of America for his documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, his movie was left out of the nominations for Documentary Feature which were announced this morning for the 88th Academy Awards, to be presented in Los Angeles on February 28.

Besides the DGA nomination, Going Clear had been racking up an impressive list of other awards and nominations, and it had been HBO’s most-watched documentary in a decade. It had also enjoyed two separate theatrical runs, making it eligible for an Oscar nomination. But ultimately it was left out of the nominees, depriving Gibney of a chance for a second statuette. Previously, he had won for his 2007 film, Taxi to the Dark Side. He was also nominated for 2005’s Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.

This year’s nominees for Documentary Feature are: What Happened to Miss Simone?, directed by Liz Garbus; Cartel Land, Matthew Heineman; Amy, Asif Kapadia; The Look of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer; and Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, Evgeny Afineevsky.

In a recent interview, Gibney talked about the possibility of a sequel to Going Clear. We hope this disappointment doesn’t deter him.


Minnesota police chief has a change of heart

Chad Loewen, the police chief of Babbitt, Minnesota and the subject of our story on Tuesday, called to let us know that the city will not continue to teach the Scientology-backed Truth About Drugs classes. He also let us know that he had seen Alex Gibneyโ€™s documentary, Going Clear. โ€œI didnโ€™t know a lot of that stuff,โ€ he told us.

We’ve updated Tuesday’s story with this latest news.

Chris Shelton interviews Tim DeWall, part two

Meant to post this earlier. Please give it a look.



Bonus photos from our tipsters

Getting them young in Las Vegas…


Fly, certificate! Thank you, certificate!



3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on January 14, 2016 at 08:40

E-mail 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. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated 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 L.A. 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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | 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 | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | 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


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  • Acherontia

    What’s worse: these kids singing an unironic AMERICA FUCK YEAH jingle or the anti-psych/anti-drug pop song and dance routine kids?

    • Frodis73

      I just threw up a little.

  • Doc M

    Another reason to love Kirstie, she’s not drinking the kool-aid, she’s drinking too much Gin

    • ReallyMGM

      She just wants to be on the Celebrity Apprentice next season. She needs a paycheck.

    • Frodis73

      What a piece of fluff…plus who would even want to ask KA about any presidential candidate? If my angle was celebs, she’d be very low on the list of folks to get an opinion from.

      • Doc M

        Of course, she’s pretty irrelevant. but I thought it funny that someone would ask her opinion or she’d even voice it.

        • Frodis73

          I agree, it is very funny.

        • daisy

          She does not wait to be asked. She voiced that particular opinion a while ago.

        • beauty for ashes

          This makes me feel really bad for her kids. Talk about Mom embarrassment.
          Hey Mom were you on twitter talking about:
          a. your vagina
          b. conspiracy theories
          c. ?????????? WTF MOM!!!!

          • daisy

            Don’t want to be intrusive but still sending good thoughts and prayers Beauty. Hope you are getting traction on your problem. I think by now they are inured to her antics. They are also scientologists. Poor dears.

            • beauty for ashes

              Slow going but yes. MWAH!

          • Doc M

            Mom, please don;t leave your vibrator out!

    • Cedilla

      Hendricks or Tanqueray?

      • Doc M

        When she was asked that question, she responded Tanqueray because Hendrick’s guitar playing was too out there for her.

    • madame duran

      She doesn’t give any specifics of what she likes about Trump or even offer any critiques of him (e.g. his policies, his ideas). She only spews generalities about “waking the country up” (yeah, he’s waking Americans up alright…waking them up to seeing the benefit of OWNING A PASSPORT so that they can escape to Canada or elsewhere should Trump win the presidential election).

  • Cedilla

    Just in…
    Rolling Stone has civilianly deployed Shawn Peen into the Hollywoodlands to interview Oscar Snubs.
    By the time the city of Los Angeles has escaped it’s subtle, morning brume, we shall know why “Going Clear” was not nominated.

  • Lighthouse

    WHAT a pity about Oscar snubbing Going Clear! What a pity.

  • Lighthouse

    Good news about Babbitt, Minnesota being clued up about the fraud that is scn! Good work, indeed, QBird. We are indebted to you. And to you, Tony.

  • Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack

    It is late in the day and a thousand comments have been made. What could I say that hasn’t been said already?

    The Oscar nomination– I went to two websites yesterday that were handicapping the nominees. Neither mentioned Going Clear as one of their predictions. One of the websites had a sixth “dark horse” nominee and it wasn’t Going Clear either. So, they knew something I didn’t know.

    First, it is possible that the other documentaries are better than Alex Gibney’s. I haven’t seen them.

    Second it is possible that the other documentaries are about causes even more noble than ripping Scientology. Let’s face it. While Scientology is a horrible blight on humanity there are things closer to the hearts of most people.

    But I think it is the third. The Academy Awards are there primarily to promote the film industry. A film that tears John and Tom to ribbons does the antithesis of that. And if Alex Gibney will go after those two, who else will he, or someone else, go after in the future to support their cause and win honours?

    I was in San Francisco but have driven down the coast. Today in Central California I visited the Hearst mansion, a vineyard and…. (drum roll please) Creston, the place where Hubbard croaked. Photos will be put up when I return to Toronto.

    • MaxSpaceman

      Heart mansion you mean is really The Hearst Castle, in San Luis Obispo. In’it ?

      • Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack

        The spell check must have changed Hearst to Heart. I have been there a few times. I am about twenty miles from it right now.

        • MaxSpaceman

          Meepthorp, I love that place. And San Louis Obispo (for some reason, I’m not sure.)

          • Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack

            I am in SLO right now. Headed for SF in an hour or so. They have an advanced civilization here. Hubbard was arrested here for passing bum cheques and eventually died here. It could be the most suppressive city in the world.

    • Dave Reams

      Did Going Clear ever have a theatrical release? Isn’t that a prerequisite for Oscar elegibility?

      • Kay

        Yes it did. It was shown in a limited release during 2015.

    • Dave Reams

      Did you collect any clam shells from the beach at Creston? They contain molecules from Hubbard’s ashes that were dumped into the sea there – sorta like body thetans : )

  • Kay

    I just logged on and all I can say is nuts to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Nuts to the “Arts” nuts to the “Sciences”….a pox on both your houses !!

  • MaxSpaceman

    Thank Meepthorp — for Babbit MN — that the citizens of that balmy burgh are

    Free of Sceintology.

    Scientol Oh! Gee! — gonzo. Gedouddah-heah.

  • Robert Eckert

    Is YouTube borked for other people or is it just me?

    • It’s fine for me, except they wiped out my viewing history, which fucking sucks!!

      • Robert Eckert

        Looks like this to me:

        • dafuq?!? i’ve had pages look like that before……how did i resolve that? i cannot recall……update flash and try it on another browser if you haven’t already……

          i hope they haven’t wiped out your history!!!

          • Robert Eckert

            Internet Exploder shows it to me normally and the history is all there: on Google Chrome the page is still weird and when I click on some of the blue links I get to messages saying “this has been deleted from your history” which is evidently untrue, so maybe your history still exists and will show back up when YouTube patches whatever it is that they did last night.

            • I went to Chrome (I use FF) and nope, my history is gone there too ๐Ÿ™ Fuck!!!

  • Most disappointing headline EVER! (Sorry!)

    Donald Trump, Ted Cruz exchange shots in Republican debate

    (I was expecting literal shots.)

  • Ronn S.

    Sucks for Gibney and everyone involved. I’m betting there is more to this story.

    • EmilyC

      I’m not one to make unfounded claims, but I found this strange as well. I live in Hollywood, and *everyone* I know has seen it, including several people who are in the film industry. The number of times that someone would say “Hey, have you seen that documentary Going Clear?” without having any clue that I was part of the critic community was astounding. They were just bringing it up because they’d seen it and thought it was interesting. If that was happening to me regularly, I’m sure it made a huge splash around here.

      I kinda wonder if Scientology’s presence in Hollywood/Los Angeles had an impact on how people voted. I’m not sure how it would make a difference, and I certainly don’t think Scientology has the ability to impact the voting process directly through threats/manipulation/promises etc (there are just too many people who get a vote), but it certainly is weird.

    • Intergalactic Walrus

      This it? Same sign, kinda?

        • Intergalactic Walrus

          I’ve been out all day and haven’t seen anything CO$-wise. Can you tell me what the CO$ joke was on Daily Show? Did I miss something?

          • I record this everyday but we’re a day behind in the UK so I’ll post it later…. incidentally I found that I had some info on Hodkin & Co in one of my blog drafts… I can’t remember why at the moment… here are the pics

            • Intergalactic Walrus

              I just found this on WWP:

              “… I see that the likely address is not a home but the registered address for several entities:

              42-44 Copthorne Road

              Felbridge, East Grinstead

              West Sussex RH19 2NS

              CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY (ENGLAND AND WALES) Active 03235420


              CRIMINON UNITED KINGDOM Active 04801751

              HORIZONS NEW PUBLISHING LTD Active 07845896

              NARCONON TRUST Active 05546835


              UK BUILDINGS AND LAND LTD Active 07670465”

            • wonder if there was a specific reason for the protest… hopefully we’ll find out in due course

            • Intergalactic Walrus
            • Juicer77

              Walrus, I am wondering why they want current photos of this man? I have been eyeing this planned February Anonymous action with some trepidation. Just don’t want anybody to do anything stupid, act in a criminal manner (including stalking) or get themselves hurt.
              ETA: upon rereading, I’m guessing they wanted current photos for the East Grinstead protest, so they would know if they spotted the right guy.

            • Intergalactic Walrus

              Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. It seems that he shows up at protests and they want to know if/when he’s there. And since the original request for pics was posted back in 2009, I don’t think anything nefarious was intended.

            • Juicer77

              Ok, TY.

          • Dave Reams

            The joke was that Trevor Noah was talking about “The greatest document of all times” – The United States Constitution – while Dianetics came up ‘by accident’ in the background.

            Another running joke of this segment was the labelling of Trump’s birther attacks on Cruz as “Battlefield Birth”. See for yourself starting around minute 5:56


            • Intergalactic Walrus


    • Xenu is my Homeboy

      There are no photos in the article. Is it beyond Hodkin to phone a journalist at the paper and give them a “story”? Not really.

      • Juicer77

        He wouldn’t include the disembodied thetan bit – too close to OTIII material. Possibly added by an editor? Good thought, though.

        • Xenu is my Homeboy

          If I remember correctly, there were some comments yesterday, either on this article or yesterdays, from John M. I would not be surprised if this is linked to him being in E.G.

          • Intergalactic Walrus

            Looks like John McGhee is the guy holding the flag in the photo below. It was taken Thursday.

            ETA: It was posted on Instagram 19 hours ago.
            PHOTO CAPTION – “Scientology protest?” #pirateman #scientology #standardthursday

          • Juicer77

            Someone posted a photo, and yep – that’s our Irishman!

    • Captain MustSavage

      Free the thetans – endless lulz in that banner. I don’t know if Scientology is looking, but, the cat seems to be out of the bag about dead space alien souls being the cause all human ills. Love the deadpan style of the east grindstead online as they outline the story.

    • aquaclara

      Nice. Wish I could have been there.

  • Juicer77

    (f5) O/T while waiting for a new post… after such a tough week, could not resist sharing this – one of the rescue cats in her new home. She found a lap! This is why we do rescue work. :))))))

    • Draco

      Aah… blissed out contentment.

    • John McGhee

      Cute as f##k! Glad she found a home and some staff ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Newiga

    Hi Bunkeroos! Just wanted to stop by quickly and say hi! Miss Lovely and I are having fun! F5

    • Juicer77

      Oooooo – gorgeous! You got your nails “did”, too! Great to see you. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Newiga

        Yeah.. The sand wears out any polish pretty quickly though! The food here is amazing btw.! A paradise for someone who can’t get enough of spicy seafood. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Draco

      Don’t work too hard!

  • burythenuts

    Well I am just pleased as can be about our Minnesota Chief!
    That is awesome.

  • Ann Ashley

    The headlines of this article are sure to please Scientology across the board:
    “Oscars snubs Alex Gibney’s Scientology documentary…” ? And then:

    “…depriving Gibney of a chance for a second statuette” ?

    Really, Tony? What were you thinking? Good grief.

  • Ann Ashley

    Great news regarding Chad Loewen, the police chief of Babbitt, Minnesota. You did good, Tony.

    • Scream Nevermore

      I like a man who can admit when he’s made a mistake – good for him!

  • RGN

    Ridiculous not to consider Going Clear.

  • DJ

    Simple equation; in New York and Hollywood money talks. Finance intitutions can extort and bankrupt the entire world without copping more than a shrug, because they are still an enormous future money pipeline. Tom Cruise, a long-haul Hollywood player who has reportedly generated over 10 billion box office dollars, is not someone to piss off or de-power if the whole embarrassing cult-puppet thing can be avoided. Bad reputations, even by shadow of association, are bad for business.