How Lawrence Wright Got It So Wrong

These videos were produced concurrently with the publishing of Lawrence Wright’s lengthy article ostensibly about the Church of Scientology in The New Yorker. They served to expose the rampant falsehoods, deception and underhanded tactics exercised by Wright in his writing of the piece. However, Wright made no attempt to rectify any of the obvious errors of both omission and commission in the book that followed.

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ALEX GIBNEY & HBOThe Prison of Propaganda
Watch the video on Alex Gibney’s “Going Clear” Film
Watch the video on Alex Gibney’s “Going Clear” Film

Statement Concerning “Going Clear” — Alex Gibney’s HBO Documentary

As the Church of Scientology stated in its New York Times ad on Alex Gibney’s HBO TV movie, free speech is not a free pass to broadcast or publish false information. More than two years after Alex Gibney, Lawrence Wright and HBO started secretly working on their film glorifying admitted liars expelled as long as three decades ago from the Church, the one-sided result is as dishonest as Gibney’s sources.

The Church has documented evidence that those featured in Gibney’s “Going Clear” film regurgitating their stale, discredited allegations are admitted perjurers, admitted liars and professional anti-Scientologists whose living depends on making false claims and statements. All have been gone so long from the Church they know nothing of it today. Gibney recently admitted that he intentionally chose disgruntled ex-Scientologists as his subjects, and that he purposely avoided engaging the Church for the two years he spent working on the film. He stated: “I focused on dissenters from the Church and only reached out to the church late in the process.”

Once Gibney “reached out” by informing the Church his film was done, he refused any information from the Church or to meet and interview 25 people who came to New York to see him on invitation from HBO’s lawyer. The result is made-for-TV propaganda manufactured through an entertainment company that has to pay theaters to show it.

Gibney’s TV show is filled with provable lies. Case in point: An allegation of illegal phone tapping which never happened. It’s one and only source was removed in disgrace more than a decade ago. Not a shred of evidence or corroboration has surfaced since Gibney knowingly and irresponsibly first aired this false allegation in January. Moreover, Gibney never even asked the Church about it. When the Church first heard he aired this allegation, there were immediate denials from the parties allegedly involved. All Gibney had was a claim made by a single individual whose record includes two arrests as well as admitting to perjury, obstruction of justice and serial lying under oath. This untrustworthy individual has been making up stories about the Church for years, but in all that time never previously said one word about this latest myth. It’s obvious he ran out of lies so he came up with a new one.

Still another lie involves Gibney’s so-called “clergy abuse” that started and ended in federal court before Gibney even shot a single talking head. A federal court tossed out the claims as meritless and ordered the plaintiffs (who are also Gibney sources) to pay the church $42,000 in court costs for bringing the frivolous action. A federal appeals court unanimously agreed, noting that they “enjoyed” their time in the Church.

Because of the lies and questions raised by the Church about the accuracy and fairness of Gibney’s film, producers in the United Kingdom were forced to add numerous disclaimers reflecting the discredited nature of the sources relied upon. One media outlet commented that it had never seen so many disclaimers added to a documentary. Among others, the disclaimers include a statement acknowledging the Church’s position that allegations made in Gibney’s film come solely from discredited former Scientologists with axes to grind including stating that at least one of them “has a history of making false allegations against the Church.”

The Church never sought special treatment from Gibney and HBO, only fair treatment. Gibney and HBO stonewalled 14 requests by the Church to offer relevant information, with more than 25 individuals with firsthand information eager to speak. Neither HBO nor Gibney ever answered the three dozen letters from the Church requesting an opportunity to respond or requesting correction of factual errors in the film. That Gibney, co-producer Lawrence Wright and HBO have intentionally covered up relevant facts discrediting their sources speaks volumes about their bigoted agendas and the bias they hold toward people of any faith that doesn’t carry their stamp of approval. It should be noted that Gibney is a propaganda filmmaker with an agenda, not a journalist interested in being fair or objective.

Gibney cherry-picked expelled, discredited former Scientologists to support his propaganda. Millions of parishioners worldwide who do represent it were intentionally ignored.

The biggest con about “Going Clear” is how much the film simply misrepresents what Scientology is. Anybody looking at would see the real picture. Scientology has seen greater expansion over the past decade than in the previous 50 years combined. Its 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups now brighten every part of the globe, while Scientology has opened more than 40 Ideal Churches spanning six continents since 2004 alone with its most recent in Basel, Switzerland, Bogotá, Columbia, Tokyo, Japan and Milano, Italy. Its humanitarian and social programs touch lives in 167 countries.

A Decade of Expansion: The Story HBO Ignored Watch the video

For more information on the true story of Scientology and the millions of people around the globe who benefit from its indiscriminate help, please visit

The Church of Scientology is committed to free speech. However, free speech is not a free pass to broadcast or publish false information. We have all seen what happens when facts are not checked or those being reported on are not given a chance to respond. The Church is taking a resolute stand against such actions—both on its own behalf and for others who either cannot or will not do so.