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

Letter to Sheila Nevins,
President, HBO Documentary Films

December 24, 2014

Sheila Nevins
President, HBO Documentary Films

Re: HBO documentary on Scientology, pure anti-Scientology propaganda

Dear Ms. Nevins:

We received the reply from HBO’s counsel. We are glad both HBO’s and Mr. Gibney’s counsel have finally admitted what you should have acknowledged when you started two years ago—that HBO needs to consider materials, evidence and eyewitness statements from individuals who dispute what Mr. Gibney’s sources are claiming.

Our position on this is clear:

1) HBO says that the Church claims certain aspects of Lawrence Wright’s book and film are inaccurate. No, the Church has documented proof that certain parts are inaccurate. That should cause you concern and at least give you a little pause.

2) HBO questions how we can make an assertion regarding the film without having seen it.

That is precisely our point. HBO acknowledges basing the film on Lawrence Wright’s book, which is littered with hundreds of documentable falsehoods and could not be released in the UK, Canada and Ireland. We have repeatedly said that we would like to know what allegations Gibney is including in his film to avoid guessing which of the hundreds of falsehoods we have to correct with you.

For two years HBO and Mr. Gibney have ducked the Church, won’t provide us with any allegations and have kept secret the on-camera sources. There could be no other reason than to keep the Church from providing appropriate and relevant information that contradicts the allegations.

Mr. Gibney, Lawrence Wright and HBO produced this film in secret for two years. No doubt a greater courtesy was extended to the anti-Scientologist sources you are using. We don’t seek special treatment—only equal treatment.

3) Unbelievably, HBO also says if we have specific evidence to back up our assertions, or individuals with first-hand knowledge who were personally involved and are willing to share their experiences, then HBO encourages us to make them available immediately. As I write this, HBO has yet to tell us what experiences are relevant. We have been asking to meet for over six weeks, but HBO will not provide any substance as to what allegations Gibney plans to include in his program.

If you want to continue this absurd guessing game of asking for anybody who has “specific evidence” or “first-hand knowledge” to answer allegations you won’t even disclose, then we can bring people who know about every false allegation in Lawrence Wright’s book. We would suggest you have a conference center since it is highly unlikely a conference room will fit the number of people we will bring to you.

Make no mistake: HBO’s letter proves that HBO has been drinking the proverbial Kool-Aid of a handful of zealots led by Marty Rathbun, an admitted suborner of perjury. How could HBO not want to hear from the numerous people who have personal experience with him, his co-conspirator Mike Rinder, as well as the likes of Jason Beghe and Paul Haggis? If you don’t, then you are just doing this for propaganda.

The most telling sentence in HBO’s letter is the statement: “Both case-law and history are replete with examples where individuals denied accusations or that certain events had taken place, only to have it later be proven that the denials were false.”

History is likewise replete with examples of individuals who made accusations only to have them later proven false. Ask Rolling Stone about the University of Virginia, New York magazine about a multimillionaire high school student, or Alex Gibney about Lance Armstrong.

And we have case law you can’t imagine. Case law concerning allegations made about the Church and its leader by “former members” (always promoting themselves as “high-ranking” or “number two” and so forth) which have been so heavily discredited that it’s going to give you another problem. Meaning, now that you’ve provided the Church the invitation to present the material to you, we will further prove that you conducted no due diligence whatsoever.

We will be in New York after the Holidays and will contact you for a meeting.



Karin Pouw


cc: Richard Plepler, Chairman and CEO, Home Box Office, Inc.

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.