HBO blows lid off of Scientology; Cruise, Travolta should stay off Twitter for a while!

HBO caused a major stir on social media with Sunday night’s broadcast of “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” a blistering documentary about the Church of Scientology and its celebrity devotees.

People Magazine published a teaser for the film Sunday, which was first screened in January at the Sundance Film Festival.

Sensational in content but not in tone, Going Clear has been making headlines since its first screening at Sundance in January. It has also upset that secretive, combative and often embattled Church, which in a lengthy statement attacked the film as “insidious religious persecution by bullies toting cameras” and the ex-Scientologists who participated as “the usual collection of obsessive, disgruntled former Church members.”

Such invective from the Scientology crowd, which includes such luminaries as John Travolta and Tom Cruise, almost guaranteed a huge audience tuning in.

In a story published just minutes before the HBO debut, Director Alex Gibney told TheWrap that some of the Hollywood people interviewed in the film received physical and legal threats.

Spanky Taylor, a publicist for stars such as Johnny Depp and Edward Norton, told her story of having to escape a church building in Los Angeles after being physically restrained from leaving.

“I will tell you that the threats that have been visited on her have been particularly brutal,” Gibney said. “A major thing the church got by on for many years was intimidating people into silence, based on their threats of litigation and brutish psychological games.”

The hashtag #goingclear generated an online buzz, becoming one of the top trends on Twitter. Most Twitter users reacted predictably to the exposé.

Some were a bit concerned that the Church of Scientology might be listening in on their tweets.

And some felt validated by the film.

Maybe the IRS will look into Scientology’s tax status, if it’s not too busy targeting conservatives?


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