HBO's radical and revealing documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, recently aired to near-universal critical and public acclaim. Vehemently challenging the Church's nefarious underpinnings and much publicized 'bully-tactics,' Going Clear has ruffled more than a few feathers in its wake, but renowned Church member John Travolta has said he doesn't "really care" about the hard-to-swallow truths the doc has forced us to confront.
Travolta, who's remained a Scientologist since 1975, was recently asked by the Tampa Bay Times what he thought about Going Clear. As it turns out, the actor hasn't yet seen it, but still disagrees with its agenda.
A Church of Censorship
This doesn't seem wholly surprising, considering the documentary itself revealed that celebrity members of the organization are actively shielded from any negative press the Church receives. Oscar-winning writer Paul Haggis even admitted he was explicitly instructed by Scientologists not to read or listen to 'blacklisted' sources of critical opinion.
Despite the fact Travolta hasn't yet seen Going Clear, he maintains that he himself hasn't witnessed anything like the relentless harassment and physical abuse the documentary exposes within the Church:
I haven’t experienced anything that the hearsay has [claimed], so why would I communicate something that wasn’t true for me? It wouldn’t make sense, nor would it for Tom, I imagine.
The 'Tom' he refers to Tom Cruise; another public member of the religion that's been accused of 'cultish' practices. Cruise himself is yet to comment on Going Clear.
"Why would I even approach a negative perspective?"
Travolta went on, stressing the emotional support the Church has provided for him personally:
I’ve been so happy with my experience in the last 40 years that I really don’t have anything to say that would shed light on [a documentary] so decidedly negative. I’ve been brought through storms that were insurmountable, and [Scientology has] been so beautiful for me, that I can’t even imagine attacking it.
Loss of children, loved ones, physical illnesses. Through many tough, tough life situations I’ve used the technology to support them and help them. It’s always worked. So, why would I even approach a negative perspective?
Travolta believes that the documentary was made by "people who were disgruntled with their experiences," which, in early April, is already a front-runner for the biggest understatement of the year. The documentary featured 'disgruntled' ex-members of the Church who had been physically abused by members of the organization, whose children had been flagrantly neglected by the Church's woefully unequipped childcare facilities, and who've been vindictively and mercilessly harassed by Scientology's 'hired muscle;' hired muscle who themselves appeared in Going Clear, admitting to their complicity in Scientology's illegal activities.
One of those so-called 'disgruntled' ex-believers is Spanky Taylor, a friend of Travolta who claims the Hollywood star turned his back on her by refusing to help her escape an abusive situation within the Church. His public allegiance to Scientology isn't so surprising in light of the blackmail-ripe file of harmful private information the Church holds above Travolta's head, the existence of which was also uncovered by Going Clear.
Twitter Speaks Out
If one thing's certain, it's that Going Clear has been getting everyone (apart from Tom Cruise) talking, eliciting a varied array of responses on Twitter:
Personally, I'm disappointed that both Travolta and Cruise have refused to even open a dialogue about Going Clear's claims, with their silence only seeming to implicate them further in Scientology's increasingly suspicious activities.
By refusing to confront the issue, they turn their back on those ex-members of the Church who summoned the bravery to speak out. Clarity is worthless when your eyes are shut.