Did Kubrick's Daughter Shut Down A GoFundMe For Shelly Duvall Because Of Scientology?
Despite a distinguished career, Shelly Duvall will always be best-known for her work in The Shining, where she spends half the time screaming and wailing, thanks to Stanley Kubrick's direction. And it was Kubrick's daughter, Vivian, who recently tried to help out the actress following a recent interview with Dr. Phil.
During the interview appearance, Duvall, now 67, was unrecognizable and exhibited signs of psychosis. At one point, the conversation turned to Robin Williams, with whom she'd acted with in 1980's Popeye. She declared, "I loved Robin. He came up with the best jokes out of nowhere." She then revealed that she doesn't think he's dead. When pressed on the subject by Dr. Phil, Duvall said that she believes Williams is "shape-shifting" and added, inexplicably, that "Beatles escapes. Stones escapes."
When Dr. Phil asked her if she's "by yourself a lot," Duvall replies with, "Too much."
It was a heartbreaking thing to witness, and many assailed Dr. Phil for the November 18 episode (it has since been deleted from his website), claiming that he'd exploited her illness for entertainment. There was a particular focus on promo spots for the interview; the ads featured a collage of some of Duvall's more bizarre statements, intercut with dramatic music.
Several celebrities took to social media to criticize Dr. Phil (who, contrary to popular belief, actually does have a PhD in clinical psychology):
Among the critics was Vivian Kubrick, daughter of the legendary director:
As noted by The Hollywood Reporter, Kubrick, after seeing the episode, was moved to set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Duvall. The page's aim was to raise $100,000 for the actress.
The site, however, was disabled on Tuesday, and has since been removed from GoFundMe altogether (here's the cached version). Kubrick wrote a message on the page saying that all donations will be refunded. She also tweeted a message claiming that one of her reasons for disabling the site is that a large-sum donation may come into conflict with Duvall's government benefits, as well as her ties with the Screen Actors Guild.
The closure of the GoFundMe page was, perhaps, prompted by a number of commenters who were questioning Kubrick's motives. For one thing, members of the Kubrick family have long maintained that Vivian is deeply involved with the Church of Scientology. Vivian, who composed the score to her father's Full Metal Jacket, reportedly severed ties with the family ever since she'd joined the church about 16 years ago, according to the Daily Beast. Christiane Kubrick, Vivian's mother, told the Guardian in 2010 that she'd lost all touch with her daughter. "I've lost her. You know that? I used to keep all this a secret, as I was hoping it would go away. But now I've lost hope. She's gone," said Christiane.
Vivian's alleged ties with Scientology lead some people to question her motives with the GoFundMe page, largely because the church is noted for its opposition to psychiatric help. The church operates the "Psychiatry: An Industry of Death" museum on Sunset Boulevard. On its website, the church paints a decidedly negative picture of psychiatry:
Through its long and tragic history psychiatry has invented numerous "cures" which eventually proved destructive in the extreme. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, mentally troubled patients were literally subjected to torture devices. Next it was ice baths and insulin shock. Then electroconvulsive therapy that caused broken teeth and bones as well as loss of memory and regression into comatose states. Next, it was prefrontal lobotomies with an ice pick through the eye socket. Today it is drugs.
On Tony Ortega's Underground Bunker, journalist Mark Ebner was interviewed on his skepticism about the GoFundMe page. He noted that, on the GoFundMe page, Kubrick was listed as being in Clearwater, Florida, which is the home for the Flag Service Organization, which the church describes as its "spiritual headquarters.""What's weird is that no one—from Vanity Fair, to Entertainment Weekly, to the Hollywood Reporter—is asking the obvious question about her involvement in Scientology. Instead, they're promoting her GoFundMe page," said Ebner.
He added that he'd tried to get in touch with Kubrick about her intentions with the GoFundMe page, saying, "I was blocked and my questions were deleted. She needs to be transparent. $100,000 is a lot of loot."
There were also questions about Kubrick's claim that a large sum donation would conflict with Duvall's government benefits. According to GoFundMe, the donations are, for the most part, considered "personal gifts" and not as taxable income. As noted at Liberty Tax's website, the situation can get a bit tricky. Donations that aren't mean to elicit anything in return are considered to be "non-taxable gifts." Donations that may lead to income (such as, donations that are meant to help a music artist launch an album) may indeed be taxable in certain cases. Which is all to say that it's unclear if a GoFundMe donation would actually interfere with the benefits that Duvall is allegedly getting.
Responding to Kubrick's criticism of the interview, Drew Pinsky (who's no stranger to claims about exploitation), said that her reaction was misguided. "My reaction is that I'm disturbed by her reaction. I understand that she's uncomfortable with seeing Shelly Duvall with chronic mental illness. But that's her discomfort," Pinsky told Access Hollywood. "[Duvall] has all these delusions as evidence of a chronic psychotic illness of some type. But just because she has a brain disease doesn't mean we should treat her differently than if she had a disease of any other organ." He added, "[Duvall] wanted to do this interview. She consented to it."
Duvall, towards the end of her Dr. Phil episode, agreed to visit a psychiatric facility in Calabasas. She declined, however, to sign papers that would commit her to treatment. She later returned home to Texas. Her last acting role was in 2002's Manna from Heaven.
LAist sent messages to both Vivian Kubrick and the Church of Scientology, but we have not yet heard back from either party.