the Church of Scientology
since 1968
ALEX GIBNEY & HBOThe Prison of Propaganda

Letter to Sheila Nevins,
President, HBO Documentary Films,
February 20, 2015

February 20, 2015

Sheila Nevins
President, HBO Documentary Films

Re: HBO documentary on Scientology
False allegations from Marty Rathbun

Dear Ms. Nevins:

HBO, Alex Gibney and your attorneys have now made the ridiculous claim to know everything there is to know about Marty Rathbun, principal source for your Church of Scientology film. If you did, you would never have allowed an admitted liar into a film so he could tell an even bigger lie.

It is despicable and mind-boggling that Mr. Gibney gave Rathbun a platform to accuse the Church of the illegal act of wiretapping a celebrity without noting that Rathbun had somehow “forgotten” to mention this incendiary allegation during his vitriolic six-year campaign in which he has accused the Church and its leadership of virtually everything short of assassinating Lincoln.

Normally, this would have been one giant red flag to any journalist as it should have been for HBO and Alex Gibney. By the numbers, Rathbun failed to mention this bogus allegation in no less than 1,300 vitriolic and dishonest blog posts, interviews with some 50 media outlets, in three self-published books he wrote, and in extensive interviews with your own producer, Lawrence Wright. Of course, Rathbun didn’t “forget” to mention it, because he made it up for Alex Gibney. For HBO and Mr. Gibney to use this allegation shows that you don’t care if what you air is true as long as it gets attention.

Airing this nonsense from a liar who in six years never once told this story makes a mockery out of the banner “An HBO Documentary.” It is proof positive that this film was and always has been bigoted propaganda in which facts don’t matter. We knew that when Mr. Gibney hid from us for more than two years because he knew we could instantly discredit Rathbun, his most “important” source willing to make any false, salacious allegation. Because it provided free publicity via the celebrity media, Rathbun’s lie was too “valuable” for Mr. Gibney to vet it, proving he has no journalistic standards whatsoever. You end up with a film that is discredited and corrupt.

If that were not enough, Mr. Gibney also includes a recycled 2010 CNN clip of another of Rathbun’s proven lies manufactured about “a beating every day” by the Church’s leader at the end of 2003. Mr. Gibney knew the Church had documented this allegation as false six years ago with video footage, still photographs, travel records, thousands of eyewitnesses and government records—published in magazines, on video, on the Internet and hand delivered to Mr. Wright. Despite the Church’s responding in great detail to this accusation, all of which is easily accessible, Gibney included it in his film but included no response from the Church. The reason: it undermines his preconceived, bigoted storyline.

Neither HBO nor Mr. Gibney wanted to speak to 25 people who came to New York to offer firsthand accounts in response to whatever allegations would have been alleged—individuals who knew Rathbun for years and could tell you from firsthand experience that he is a pathological liar extraordinaire. This included his former senior in the Church and his wife of 15 years as well as someone who worked in the same office and at the same level as Rathbun; also among the 25 were professionals and representatives with more than 20 years of experience dealing with Rathbun personally and cleaning up after Rathbun’s malfeasance. As it turns out, those present had information about every allegation I have now heard is in the film, but those people were apparently not relevant for you or Gibney to see, just as the other dozens of individuals who had direct knowledge of those allegations were not relevant. All this so Gibney could maintain his con that he asked for interviews—from people who did not have the information regarding the allegations.

Mr. Gibney refused to interview the individuals who were pertinent even though (1) they had first-person accounts of subjects discussed in his film and (2) both HBO’s and Mr. Gibney’s attorneys urged the Church to make them available. Mr. Gibney then backtracked, claiming he didn’t want to meet with them as he was worried the Church would “smear” his sources. In other words, Mr. Gibney wants to protect professional smear artists from having the truth exposed about them. This shows a clear agenda was at work.

So there can be no chance you or Mr. Gibney can avoid the truth, I have attached a white paper which has been readily available to you since it has been posted on-line. This information covers Rathbun’s lack of credibility. It should be carefully reviewed by you and at least one of your “160 attorneys,” as responsible journalism dictates one should cease avoiding the truth that’s right in front of one’s eyes.



Karin Pouw
Church of Scientology International


cc:  Alex Gibney
      Jigsaw Productions

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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.