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Arts and Entertainment

Scientology Fires Back At 'Going Clear': More Lies Than Bill O'Reilly

"Scientology lights up the sky in Hollywood" (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Feeling the heat from the claims made in the exposé documentary Going Clear, the Church of Scientology has penned a 5-page letter claiming the film has "one major error every two minutes."The letter was sent to The Hollywood Reporter on Friday and is the latest, most direct salvo in their counter-campaign against director Alex Gibney's film. Ignoring a list of twenty questions submitted by THR, the letter (pdf), signed by Church spokeswoman Karin Pouw, instead goes through a bullet-pointed list of character attacks against the interview subjects and the filmmakers. "Rather than provide a response to each of these questions, which are part of Gibney's propaganda, I am going to take up the sources of these allegations so you understand their motivations to spread hatred, religious bigotry and lies," Pouw writes. "The inclusion of any one of these liars is enough to irrevocably taint the film as biased propaganda."

Scientology has gone on a massive media campaign ever since production was announced on the film. Ten days before its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival the Church took out full-page ads in the New York Times and L.A. Times, comparing the film to Rolling Stone's botched campus rape story. They started the "Freedom Media & Ethics" Twitter feed (thanks for the shoutout!) whose promoted tweets were impossible to miss. @FreedomEthics' tweets often linked to videos and pages hosted by their Freedom magazine that calls the film's sources a variety of names such as "A Violent Psychopath" or "The Harassment Suitor."

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Back to the letter: Pouw claims that "In two hours this film racks up more falsehoods, errors, embellished tales and blatant omissions than were committed by Rolling Stone, Brian Williams and Bill O'Reilly combined." Zing!

Pouw goes on to conclude that Lawrence Wright, the author of the Going Clear book, "is obviously suffering from an acute case of jealousy of [Scientology founder L. Ron] Hubbard and thus has tried to slander him out of spite." Hubbard, she notes, is an extremely prolific writer who has sold "hundreds of millions of copies" of his work, "something Wright could only wish to accomplish." No response yet from Lawrence Wright, who is gonna need some ice for that sick burn.

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