the Church of Scientology
since 1968
ALEX GIBNEY & HBOThe Prison of Propaganda

Letter to Sheila Nevins,
President, HBO Documentary Films,
February 24, 2015

February 24, 2015

Sheila Nevins
President, HBO Documentary Films

Re: HBO documentary on Scientology
False allegations from Marc Headley & his wife Claire

Dear Ms. Nevins:

In his HBO film on the Church of Scientology, Alex Gibney dishonestly lets co-producer Lawrence Wright promote absurd “human trafficking” and “exploitation of labor” allegations against the Church that no less than the federal courts have debunked years ago.

What Wright and Gibney fail to mention is that not only did a federal judge dismiss these allegations on summary judgment, plaintiffs Marc and Claire Headley were forced to pay the Church $42,000 in court costs. And, contrary to their hyperbole about being “imprisoned” while serving in the Church’s religious order, the judge found these embittered former Scientologists actually came and went as they pleased and enjoyed their time there. Even Claire Headley’s own parents say their story is nonsense let alone hundreds of other Church volunteers who work at the same facility.

But the truth disappoints Mr. Gibney and Mr. Wright. Conveniently, Mr. Gibney fails to note that Headley admitted under oath in the case to being a paid tabloid source about the Church.

By now, it should be obvious to you that when something contradicts their anti-Scientology agenda, Alex Gibney and Lawrence Wright want no part of it. So Mr. Gibney puts his friend Mr. Wright on camera to claim that this frivolous lawsuit that swiftly and rightfully met its death did so only because the Church is “protected” by legal religious loopholes. This shows the film’s utter and complete dishonesty.

Mr. Wright also disingenuously claims that he “stumbled across” an investigation on the Church when this so-called “investigation” was a non-starter cooked up by his sources as a publicity stunt to flank their failed litigation. The Headleys filed their lawsuit and fed it to media, while the handful of zealots they associate with made ridiculous complaints, all so they could claim the Church was being investigated. The real story is that these sources fell flat on their collective faces when the lawsuit was tossed, although not before Lawrence Wright repeated the numerous false and malicious allegations.

Neither Mr. Gibney nor Mr. Wright want to admit the allegations were found to be without merit when tested in federal court and affirmed unanimously by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Gibney even thanked Marc Headley after the Sundance premiere, both for his “help” and in reference to his long-defunct lawsuit.

I guess your producer and director must consider federal court decisions something silly and to be ignored. All of this information is available on-line. Mr. Gibney now states he got “the story we wanted,” which we don’t dispute knowing what a one-sided anti-religious hatchet job it turned out to be.

I enclose a white paper which totally undermines the credibility of Marc Headley and his wife: his thefts, violence, selling stories to the tabloids and their support of the cyber hate group Anonymous. Again, all materials are on the website and in the enclosed documentation.

You cannot hide from the truth and pretend that your film is anything but a one-sided exercise in religious bigotry that relies on lies.



Karin Pouw


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The Church of Scientology is committed to free speech. However, free speech is not a free pass to broadcast or publish false information. We have all seen what happens when facts are not checked or those being reported on are not given a chance to respond. The Church is taking a resolute stand against such actions—both on its own behalf and for others who either cannot or will not do so.