If you can believe it, John Travolta was not one of the 1.7 million people who watched the premiere of HBO’s documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.
“No I haven’t [seen it],” the 61-year-old actor told the Tampa Bay Times, “and I don’t really care to.”
The two-hour exposé on the Church of Scientology hardly portrays the cult-like religion in a favorable light. Among the accusations are that its members are subjected to physical and emotional abuse. The documentary also suggests that the reason many high-profile participants, like Travolta, have stayed is because they have been essentially blackmailed into doing so thanks to years of “auditing,” which are basically therapy sessions in which that person confides their deep dark secrets. For Travolta, the church would have 40 years of dirt on him.
“I haven’t experienced anything that the hearsay has [claimed], so why would I communicate something that wasn’t true for me?” Travolta said. “It wouldn’t make sense, nor would it for Tom, I imagine.”
Tom would be Scientology’s other most famous face, Tom Cruise. The documentary alleged that the church was behind the search for the Mission Impossible star’s new girlfriend after his divorce from Nicole Kidman, which was reportedly orchestrated by them as well (the actor has denied this).
Travolta claimed those former members who participated in Going Clear — including director Paul Haggis, his former close friend Spanky Taylor, and Marty Rathbun, who was basically the church’s second-in-command — were “people who were disgruntled with their experiences” with Scientology, while the church “has been nothing but brilliant for me.”
The actor, who stars in FX’s highly anticipated show American Crime Story, primarily lives in Ocala, Florida, and trains at the church’s headquarters in Clearwater five days a week according to the paper.
“I’ve been so happy with my [Scientology] 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,” he explained. “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.”
One “storm” was in 2009 when his son Jett died suddenly at the age of 16 from a seizure. Without the church’s help, Travolta said he “wouldn’t have made it… honestly.”
“I’ve helped so many people through hard times,” he continued. “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? That would be a crime to me, personally, to do that.”
Director Alex Gibney previously told Business Insider he hoped his movie would open Cruise and Travolta’s eyes to what is really going on inside the church.
“I think one of the reasons we’re trying to turn the spotlight on them is not to victimize them but to say you really have a responsibility,” Gibney revealed. “You’re given an enormous amount of wealth as a movie star and with that comes a certain amount of responsibility, particularly when people are joining an organization because of you. If the popular opinion begins to swing that way, I think you can see a change with them.”
Cruise has yet to speak out on the documentary, but we imagine his quotes would mirror Travolta’s word for word.
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