Scientology's "Lunacy" Leads to Attack on Paul Haggis's Oscar Win, Humanitarianism

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We noted last week how insane was the attack by Scientology's propaganda organ, Freedom magazine, in its parody of issue of The New Yorker and writer Lawrence Wright. We also pointed out how, in a related video, Scientology's slander-mongers took their best shot at director Paul Haggis, subject of Wright's epic 24,000-word article, which described Haggis's disaffection with Scientology and his high-profile defection in 2009.

Earlier this evening, screenwriter Skip Press offered his own thoughts about Haggis's career and the stupidity of Scientology's attack. It's a fascinating read, and contains several key nuggets of pure gold.

Press describes how he and Haggis, in the late 1970s, were part of a Scientology writers' group. Press says he watched as his talented friend paid his dues, writing for shows like Welcome Back, Kotter and The Facts of Life -- a path Press himself was wary of.

But eventually, Haggis's hard work in the trenches paid off as he began to write award-winning movies like Million-Dollar Baby and Crash.

"It was astonishing - the aspiring screenwriter I'd once been asked to help was completely at the top of the game," Press writes.

By then, Press himself was out of Scientology, and he admits that while he was thrilled for the success of his old friend, he was also concerned that Scientology would try to make hay from Haggis's success.

I knew Scientology would use his Oscar win to tout the glories of Hubbard thought. The only other person who had ever won an Oscar while in Scientology was Bert Salzman for the short Angel and Big Joe in 1975.

But he points out that Scientology never got that chance -- just as Haggis was winning his big awards, he was becoming disillusioned with Scientology.

And, when Haggis spilled his guts to Wright for the New Yorker article, Press says he knew what would happen: Scientology would go on the attack...

I would have been amazed that they tried to denigrate his Best Picture Oscar win, or his amazing track record in Hollywood, even the fact that he's been spending a lot of time and money building a hospital in Haiti lately but then, I know Scientology all too well -- they're capable of any lunacy.

What Scientology didn't point out, Press says, was Haggis's long track record of humanitarianism, including his contributions to help build a hospital and cholera clinic in Haiti and a free high school there. Instead, the Freedom attack included making it sound like some critical whining over Haggis's Crash Best Picture somehow invalidated everything the writer and director has ever done.

As Scientology did its best to degrade Haggis' career, citing the disappointing box office of his latest movie, they failed to note how the rest of the world views Paul Haggis. For example, he's to receive the Golden Eye Award, a lifetime achievement honor, from the Zurich Film Festival, which will also present a retrospective of Haggis' career as a director and screenwriter, screening several of his films.

Press's article has many more details about his background with Haggis, and it's a fine read. Please go look at the entire article.

Last week, as the inane horror of the Freedom propaganda was being digested by various media outlets, we noticed quite a few 'net pundits predicting that Scientology had made a huge mistake denigrating a director of Haggis's stature with its slimy attacks -- and that Hollywood, which has for so long put up with Scientology and its celebrities, might finally begin to reconsider its relationship with such a vindictive organization. Press's broadside might be a first salvo in that battle.

The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
#12: Tommy Davis (and other hapless church executives)
#13: Janet Reitman (and other journalists)
#14: Tory Christman (and other noisy ex-Scientologists)
#15: Andreas Heldal-Lund (and other old time church critics)
#16: Marc and Claire Headley, escapees of the church's HQ
#17: Jefferson Hawkins, the man behind the TV volcano
#18: Amy Scobee, former Sea Org executive
#19: The Squirrel Busters (and the church's other thugs and goons)
#20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and other media figures)
#21: Kendrick Moxon, attorney for the church
#22: Jamie DeWolf (and other L. Ron Hubbard family members)
#23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church)
#24: David Touretzky (and other academics)
#25: Xenu, galactic overlord | @VoiceTonyO | Facebook: Tony Ortega

See all of our recent Scientology coverage at the Voice

Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared

Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications. Among his other stories about L. Ron Hubbard's organization:

The Larry Wollersheim Saga -- Scientology Finally Pays For Its Fraud
The Tory Bezazian (Christman) Story -- How the Internet Saved A Scientologist From Herself
The Jason Beghe Defection -- A Scientology Celebrity Goes Rogue
The Robert Cipriano Case -- A Hellacious Example of Fair Game
The Paul Haggis Ultimatum -- The 'Crash' Director Tells Scientology to Shove It
The Marc Headley Escape -- 'Tom Cruise Told Me to Talk to a Bottle'
The Aaron Saxton Accusation -- Australia turns up the heat on Scientology
The Jefferson Hawkins Stipulation -- Scientology's former PR genius comes clean
The Daniel Montalvo Double-Cross -- Scientology lures a young defector into a trap
A Church Myth Debunked -- Scientology and Proposition 8
Daniel Montalvo Strikes Back -- Scientology Hit with Stunning Child-Labor Lawsuits
When Scientologists Attack -- The Marty Rathbun Intimidation
A Scientologist Excommunicated -- The Michael Fairman SP Declaration
The Richard Leiby Operation -- Investigating a reporter's divorce to shut him up
The Hugh Urban Investigation -- An academic takes a harsh look at Scientology's past
Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh -- A precedent for a Scientology-Branch Davidian link
Janet Reitman's Inside Scientology -- A masterful telling of Scientology's history
The Western Spy Network Revealed? -- Marty Rathbun ups the ante on David Miscavige
Scientology's Enemies List -- Are You On It?
Inside Inside Scientology -- An interview with author Janet Reitman
Scientology and the Nation of Islam -- Holy Doctrinal Mashup, Batman!
Scientologists -- How Many of Them Are There, Anyway?
Roger Weller's Wild Ride -- Scientology When it was Hip
The Marc Headley Infiltration -- A Scientology Spying Operation Revealed
Placido Domingo Jr: Scientology's Retaliation is "Scary and Pathetic"
An Interview with Nancy Many, Former Scientology Spy
The Paulien Lombard Confession -- A Scientology Spy Comes Clean
The Deputy Benjamin Ring Hard Sell -- Scientology wants your 401K
The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology -- the whole series!
The Squirrel Busters Busted -- Unmasking the Scientology PI in Charge
Tommy Davis, Scientology spokesman, secretly recorded discussing 'disconnection'
Scientology internal document says its Office of Special Affairs will 'handle' the Village Voice

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Thanks for posting this, Tony. We needed a good piece on Haggis. He deserves it.

Rabid Robot
Rabid Robot

Speaking of Haiti I bet scientology would like to forget this incident

Yeah the one where the minister ellen of scientology took irradiated water and started distributing it among the people!

Hows that for a touch assist!.

tsk tsk tsk...


That was a great piece. I confess, I'm not such a fan of Haggis' work myself, but he seems like a thoroughly decent person, and his charitable work (real, not for press) is extremely admirable.


I'm sure you could find many others like Skip Press who hate all things Scientology and L Ron Hubbard. And in spite of the fact you have been told many times that the antics and insane acts of the Scientology organization are done SOLELY at the direction of one David Miscavige...a certifiable nutter that conned his way to the helm of the organization and rules through blackmail, extortion and fear, you and the Skip Presses of the world will continue to refuse to make that distinction.

Skip's been milking his brief affiliation with the subject and seeks to leverage that one noteworthy thing in his life I suspect, in a last-ditch effort to achieve something...anything. And like all others feeding off the Scientology train-wreck teat in order to sell subscriptions, or a book, or increase web traffic...whatever momentary value you may enjoy, it will soon fade, along with your names. From my perspective it's hard to tell what is more pathetic, the Scientology train wreck or the vultures salivating from afar.

Dan Courtney
Dan Courtney

The infantile nature of these attempted character assassinations leads me to believe that Miscavige has so thoroughly surrounded himself with “yes men” that it is impossible for him to grasp how badly he has bungled the Haggis defection. Then again, he could just be an idiot.


Skip Press's article is superb! Thank you, Tony! 

I love this part of Skips's Essay about Paul's APJ project in Haiti:

"When they are done they will have between 2500 and 3000 students, who also get what might be their only meal of the day. And what’s your charity, Scientology?"

Perhaps when the $cilon apologists show up on this thread, someone can ask them about $cientology and "charity."  


That's very funny, filled with generalities (you must be a "Suppressive Person" per Hubbard), and misses the fact that I've been a writer helping other writers and selling books around the world for a few decades. But hey, have fun behind that cowardly $cientology nym, you're secure in your delusion, right? 


Most will not celebrate the ultimate fall of the "church".  Most will celebrate that there will be no more disconnections, forced abortions, RPF camps, people losing thier life savings in order to get over "the bridge".  I personally could care less if you believe that the earth was around 75 billion years ago, or any of the other documented falsehoods that hubbard wrote, but I do care about human rights.


I am no fan of Lloyd 'Skip' Press the person but it is important to distinguish between the work of a person and the personality when giving credit where credit is due.

Skip wrote a terrific article about Paul Haggis and all you can do is post as a scientologist using fair game.  You are still on the wrong side of the fence and it's time to hop off and move on up the line and out the exit door.

Educate yourself. Miscavige was a young teenager when Skip joined Scientology and as one of many familiar with those days before the tiny terror took his reign, he is not alone in his observations that Hubbard started this retribution mess and David Miscavige just carried on with it.

Ask those who were around during the days you seem to be ignoring, when Hubbard was an abusive lunatic running his Sea Org. Ask the living adults, who were once children on the Apollo, what it was like to be chained in the bowels of the ship, neglected and mentally abused because Hubbard didn't like children being children.  Ask the young or elderly or overweight Sea Org members about being overboarded on the ship despite some not knowing how to swim, despite no one deserving such cruel punishment. Ask those who witnessed these things. Ask the old timer ex members, like Hana Whitfield, who not only witnesssed these things but have admitted to being too fearful of L Ron Hubbard to question his orders or speak out at the time.... 

Wake up, buddy. You can take a person out of a cult but you can't always get the cult out of a person. Recovery is a process, not an event and while each of us carries baggage, the load is supposed to get lighter, not heavier. I don't trash Hubbard's science fiction just because I don't like Hubbard .It is important to separate the work from the person. I ignore commenting on the science fiction despite an old tendency to want to trash it. This is my process out of the cult mind set. You need to locate yours.

So Skip may have issues as a person, and an ego not unlike Hubbard at times, but he did not harm people like Hubbard did. The evidence is available all over the internet and I suggest you get up and start LOOKING.

Skip's article on Paul Haggis is a very good one and much needed during this time of Scientology's delayed and bizarre fair game attack on him, the author of the story and the publication that printed it.


"the antics and insane acts of the Scientology organization are done SOLELY at the direction of one David Miscavige".

Axiom-addict - I challenge you to come back here and tell us about the antics and insane acts that took place in the 60s and 70s in Scientology.

How about Operation Freakout, the attempt to drive author Paulette Cooper mad? Was that David Miscavige?

How about Operation Snow White, the largest ever infiltration of the US Government? Was that David Miscavige?

What about the policies on Disconnection and Fair Game? Miscavige as well I assume?

Who created the RPF?

Who wrote all the lies about LRH's early years and "achievements" before he wrote Dianetics? Who lied about his war record? Who lied about his illnesses? Was that David Miscavige?

Who falsely claimed that Dianetics could cure a range of physical illnesses including cancer (by audting out conception and mitosis)?

Who introduced Security Checking with questions such as "Have you ever practiced homosexuality?" and "Have you ever had unkind thoughts about L. Ron Hubbard?"

Who introduced Knowledge Reports? Who wrote the list of punishable "Misdemeanors," "Crimes" and "High Crimes"?

Who was in charge of Scientology in 1963 when the Australian government (who again are taking the lead in this in present time) accused Scientology of blackmail and extortion?

Who was in charge of Scientology in 1968 when British Minister of Health, Kenneth Robinson said in the House of Commons that the Church of Scientology was "so objectionable that it would be right to take all steps to curb its growth"?


A Scientology publication titled "Freedom" conducted a libel campaign, beginning in 1968. According to this newsletter, Kenneth Robinson was responsible for creating "death  camps" to which innocent people were being kidnapped to be killed or maimed at will. Robinson successfully sued for libel, prompting a total retraction and substantial damages. Sound familiar?

Yes Axiom-addict, we have been told MANY times that David Miscavige is the source of all the antics and insanity of the CofS. However, we don't believe that simply because it is just not true!

The above examples are a mere tiny fraction of the evidence available of the appalling way in which the Church of Scientology behaved prior to the arrival of David Miscavige.

Please actually research this period in Scientology history, and do NOT assume that simply by repeating the same mantra "It's all Dave, it's all Dave, Ron is good, Ron is good" we will eventually just give up the mountain of evidence and believe it.


I think the initial problem was finding the right brand of canned asparagus.

"This is not precision. This is Radio Shack stuff."

Note: "Pot" = Potentiometer, a variable resistor most of us know as a "Volume Control."

Would you buy the Brooklyn Bridge? How about the Wheatstone Bridge?

The real beauty of PostGrad work is in the footnotes:

Close your eyes. Visualize your nervous system being physically grounded to the Earth, with your electrical connection going all the way to the center of the Earth. Hugging a tree is the most effective way of doing this.

Now watch this video:

"It is now a derogatory label to call someone a Scientologist":

A quick "How To" for you newbies out there:

The infant child Scientology was born with ghastly birth defects. In part, it was due to the cold war zeitgeist:

Collect 'em all!:

In part, the problem was methodology:

Burn after reading:

But the fundamental problem of Scientology is this:

Scientology doesn't work within the boundaries of consensus reality:

And now, some Slack™:


These "attempted" and executed character assasinations by Freedum Mag have been going on since it's inception. Hubbard ordered it that way.

Old OT7
Old OT7

Yep, "charity," DuckBenway.  And we all know why you put it in quotes.  That's because there are no charitable organizations within the cult!  Never have been and never will be.  Their front groups give checks to other front groups to give the illusion that the wog world recognizes them as such.  Every single entity within the cult is used for recruitment or black ops.  It's that simple.

Pam Ellis
Pam Ellis

I remember when the Haiti disaster first happened and scientology volunteer ministers showed up...they were good about distributing items OTHER groups paid for and brought.Even Travolta's flight to Haiti had issues of keeping some important people off (like people with medical knowledge) to get more volunteers with bright yellow jackets there instead.Travolta used his own money for the costs of the flight...the cult paid nadda as far as anyone has been able to prove.

At one point, I wondered about the yellow jackets, but when your number one concern is PR and not actually helping people...being easily seen in photos makes a lot of sense.


Thank you, Sid, for laying it out so clearly.

"Your needle is floating."

Just kidding : )


This looks like spam... just saying, Rob. Maybe another cup of coffee is needed?


Indeed, the big change in Freedumb, is that we can all read it because of the web, rather than it being just an in-cult rag.

Old OT7
Old OT7

Of course, right on the money, Pam!  And that's all the Volunteer Vultures do.  At ground zero on 9/11, they actually blocked professional mental health workers from reaching those affected.  They figured their "touch assists" would restore perfect health to all concerned.  In this case, you can see how dangerous they really are. 


his "wife" is in cahoots w/ Miss Cavige.

betcha this Never Spa In This Town again will make him flee this cult if he hasn't quietly done so already.


Dear Duck Benway—first off, pass me that bottle of ether you're Bogarting.

I hope you watch and critique my little collection of videos.

I do think the Marvin the Martian analogy works on many levels. I must figure out what his Tarot card would be. Probably something of Swords or its ilk.


Then allow me to reiterate: If you have not seen this video yet, please do. It shows the blatant practice of intimidation whenever a spokes-person of Scientology is on camera. And the story of Lisa McPherson points directly to the inherent flaws of Scientology Auditing Tech:


No problem. You mean well and thats what counts!


FYI, Robin,

The OSA bots who visit and post here would never read anything linked here in the comments section. Its rare if they read a comment, lol. They are scripted on what to say in response to the article and comments and, as Tony provided recent evidence of, forwarned to not anything becaue it's read 'squirrel' or entheta'.

Their superiors would not read in full anything linked. even if clicked out of curiosity.

I appreciate your enthusiasm but it's still off topic to post such stuff and tends to derail readers off the article and comments about it.


My hope was that some OSA tool would accidently check out the links. Sorry for my seemingly hostile netiquette.

The first two videos spend 20 minutes showing us the innards of a circa 1980ish E-meter. If you know anything concerning electronics, this pair of videos is extraordinarily educational. The link to the Wheatstone Bridge Wiki post was to explain the underlying principle behind the e-meter. The "Agent" notes that the e-meter that sold for $700 in 1980 was based on outdated technology and is essentially a $30 ohmmeter with cans and a fancy box made with slave labor.

I noted Clerk Maxwell as that photo points to the "Nefestis Machine" in Thomas Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49". I think Pynchon is making a reference to the brainwashing tech of Scientology. As a great deal of CoL49 points to MKULTRA—the CIA's exploration of new brainwashing techniques particularly those utilizing an exciting new drug called "LSD"—I think the connection is meaningful, if obviously a touch crazy. I then gave an example of a wiccan flavored bit of self-hypnosis, followed by a video of a Quaternion unfolding. Quaternions are expanded fractals that demonstrate the inherent complexity of physical manifestation.

The next two videos by "Agent", who previously showed us the innards of a LRH era E-meter, explain how Scientology Tech is based on hypnosis and keeping those being audited in a constant state of low-level hypnosis. The video that follows shows a bunch of kids playing with an e-meter and making fun of it. I point to "Fate" magazine as a perfect example of the Sci-Fi roots of "New Age" mentality and marketing, something that L. Ron Hubbard was right in the middle of when Scientology first appeared.

When I speak of the "Methodology" Of Scientology, I am pointing to the influence of Crowley on Hubbard. The document that I recommend that you burn after reading is Crowley's "Master Therion."

The Fundamental problem with Scientology is summed up in the Bryant Gumbel "Public Eye" broadcast concerning the death of Lisa McPherson. Pretty much everything you really need to know about Scientology and why it must be shut down can be seen in this video.

The reactions of the representatives of Scientology in this video tell you all you really need to know about what the tech does to those who use it.

And the final three are strictly for entertainment purposes only.

Hope that "Clears" things up : )


AND be able to comment on it's content any way we well damn please!

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