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SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks, the series axed by Seven News

[Tom Cruise and his former publicist, Pat Kingsley]

In July 2020, the Australian Seven News network cancelled at the last minute a ten-part nightly news in-depth investigation of the Church of Scientology and its history of dirty tricks operations.

The series had been painstakingly put together by Seven News journalist Bryan Seymour, who has spent years exposing Scientology’s abuses and controversies.

The network put out a cryptic statement about why it had pulled the show, and we reported that two of the participants in the program, Leah Remini and Mike Rinder, believed the show had been axed as the result of pressure from two of the people portrayed in it, Scientology actor Tom Cruise and former Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis.

Remini and Rinder surmised that Cruise and Davis had used the influence of their friend billionaire Australian businessman James Packer, who has a close relationship with Kerry Stokes, chairman of Seven West Media, which owns the network.

In the weeks after the show was cancelled, we learned that the episodes were being leaked to the Internet, and we posted them here at the Underground Bunker, along with transcripts. Now, we’ve collected all ten links here so you can see them in order.

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Episode 1: ‘Leaving’

The first episode focuses on Paul Haggis, the Oscar-winning writer and director as well as Scientology defector and chief subject of the 2015 HBO movie ‘Going Clear,’ who has not given a public interview in a couple of years. In that time, he’s faced allegations of rape by publicist Haleigh Breest, who says that Haggis sexually assaulted her in 2013 at his Soho apartment after a film screening. Haggis says that the 2013 encounter was consensual. Seymour reminds us that when Haggis was featured in a 2011 New Yorker article about leaving Scientology, he predicted that within a couple of years he would be the subject of a scandal that would appear to have no connection to Scientology. Breest, the law firm representing her, and three additional women who came forward to accuse Haggis after Breest’s lawsuit became public have all denied having any connection to the church.

 

Episode 2: ‘Witness X’

Seymour reports on Scientology’s ‘Fair Game’ retaliation campaign against Haggis, who left the church in 2009 and was the subject of a 2011 New Yorker article and a 2015 HBO documentary. In 2010, at the same time that he was visiting the US and was being shown around Scientology facilities, Seymour has learned that spokesman Tommy Davis was also trying to dig up dirt on Haggis and was pressuring a former Screen Actors Guild employee to access Haggis’s private file. Seymour refers to the SAG employee as Witness X, and describes how she reached out to Paul’s ex-wife, actress Deborah Rennard, after the news of Haleigh Breest’s rape allegations against Haggis surfaced in 2018.

 

Episode 3: ‘Taken’

Seymour reports on the remarkable story of Tristan Silverman. A second generation Scientologist, she worked as an intern for director Paul Haggis when she was only 15. She later left Scientology, and she was surprised when Kathy O’Gorman, a longtime operative in Scientology’s secret police, the Office of Special Affairs, called her up and began asking about Haggis. Silverman then describes to Seymour how, after the call with O’Gorman, she was walking in broad daylight on a Manhattan street when some men in a van pulled up and tried to get her to come with them. She managed to get away, and now she’s convinced that OSA wanted her to cooperate in a smear campaign about Haggis by making a video denouncing him.

 

Episode 4: ‘The Star’

Seymour reports on another dirty op by Scientology’s spy wing, this one targeting Tom Cruise’s legendary publicist Pat Kingsley. You saw a similar story here at the Underground Bunker thanks to Leah Remini. And Seymour lays out the same narrative here, that in order to convince Kingsley to walk away quietly so Cruise could talk up Scientology during his press junkets, Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis assembled a “dirt file” on Kingsley.

 

Episode 5: ‘Always Attack’

Seymour examines Scientology’s mandate that it subject its perceived enemies to vicious attacks, in the case of Paul Haggis posting videos of his own sister denouncing him even more than a year after she had died of cancer. Seymour also dives into Scientology’s long history of elaborate attacks on the government and former members, including a recent escapee, Valerie Haney, who had to hide in the trunk of a car to escape one of the church’s secretive compounds.

 

Episode 6: ‘Dirty Tricks’

Seymour looks at the creepy stalking that Scientology hires private investigators to practice on former members and on journalists. That includes the visit that was made by a PI, caught on tape, when she attempted to “question” Paul Haggis’s daughter Lauren Haggis after she filmed an episode with Leah Remini. It’s straight out of L. Ron Hubbard’s playbook, and it’s great footage.

 

Episode 7: ‘Celebrity’

Seymour digs into the celebrities who are the public face of Scientology, explaining their dedication to it and what it is they hope to get out of it. And that includes the wonderful footage of Nancy Cartwright explaining that through Scientology she’s trying to become a god.

 

Episode 8: ‘Betrayal’

Seymour learns that Paul Haggis was writing a television series to portray Scientology’s history of spying and sabotage, but that he shared his secret plans with someone he shouldn’t have, former Scientology enforcer Marty Rathbun.

 

Episode 9: ‘Accused’

Seymour puts it to director Paul Haggis directly: Did he rape Haleigh Breest?

 

Episode 10: ‘The Reckoning’

Seymour wraps up what has been a stunning achievement in reporting and presentation.

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