Scientology calls HBO's documentary 'false propaganda' and slams former member featured in film

Director Alex Gibney’s explosive new documentary on Scientology, which opened theatrically in limited release on Friday and airs on HBO March 29, alleges many things the church is not happy about.

One of the allegations in “Going Clear” comes from former member, Mike Rinder, who, in an on-camera interview, discusses an area at one of the Scientology compounds supposedly called “The Hole,” where disobedient members are allegedly sent as punishment.

In an email to Business Insider, the church denies such a place even exists:

“This is another tired, false and offensive allegation. The only ‘hole’ at the Church property being referred to is on the golf course. This again sources to the same small group of liars. This false propaganda was exposed as a lie in our video at freedommag.org/hbo/videos/exterminating-gibneys-propaganda.html.”

Goingclear05HBOMike Rinder in ‘Going Clear’

Rinder, who is prominently featured in Gibney’s film, even goes so far as to call Scientology’s leader, David Miscavige, a “sociopath.”

The church didn’t like that one, either, and in response slammed Rinder’s character, calling him a “tainted source.”

“The source for these allegations, and Gibney’s primary subject, Mike Rinder, is talking about himself. Mr. Gibney and now yourself, due to prejudice and bias, have obliged in revising history for self-admitted suborners of perjury, perjurers and obstructers of justice.

Mike Rinder admitted in a January deposition to the exact opposite of what he says to Mr. Gibney in the film and now to you. He’s also a tainted source because he’s admitted to being paid by law firms seeking to score a payday suing the Church. You should know that just today the Church won a decisive victory in the case Rinder and his attorney clients had been hoping to hit the jackpot on.

Rinder’s domestic abuse is documented by his ex-wife, brother, daughter and his ex-wife’s surgeon, and all of this would have been relevant to the film since Gibney shamelessly has Rinder lie about his ex-wife yet he didn’t ask her for comment or to sit for an interview, even when she was in New York to see him.

Alex Gibney and HBO cynically repackaged Mike Rinder into the poster boy for their new propaganda film. They flew Rinder around the country in five-star luxury to shill for their religious hatred, never mentioning that Rinder was expelled from his former religion for gross malfeasance. They hid that Mike Rinder can’t hold a job and his only source of income is payment for attacking Scientology. Gibney knew all this but relevant facts would have popped the phony bubble of legitimacy Gibney created around his ‘star.’

And, at a time when religious hatred is spreading through the world and inciting violence, it is also irresponsible to release any film about religion with someone so obsessed with inciting hatred as Mike Rinder, an admitted liar and suborner of perjury, a paid anti-religionist and a domestic abuser. http://www.freedommag.org/hbo/videos/mike-rinder.html

Mr. Miscavige has been successfully leading the Scientology religion for more than a quarter of a century during which the Scientology religion has expanded faster in the last 10 years than in its previous 50 years combined. Scientology parishioners worldwide hold him in the highest esteem for what he is doing for the religion.”

The one frequent Scientology rumour the film does not address is the alleged disappearance of Shelly Miscavige, wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige, over nine years ago.

Alex gibney lawrence wrightSonia Recchia/Getty Images for Sundance‘Going Clear’ director Alex Gibney (L) with author/producer Lawrence Wright (R) at the film’s Sundance premiere.

Gibney previously told us there just wasn’t enough time in the film to cover the story.

“At the end of the day, rather than doing stone skipping and covering as much as possible in a superficial way we chose to dig in on certain things,” explained the director.

But the Church of Scientology is adamant that Shelly Miscavige’s whereabouts are part of a “conspiracy theory” and that she is not, in fact, missing.

“The false allegation about Mrs. Miscavige was debunked by the Los Angeles Police Department in a statement two years ago. The police declared the rumour “unfounded” and she continues in the Church as she always has. The notion that Mrs. Miscavige is missing is a conspiracy theory among Alex Gibney and Lawrence Wright’s unsavory sources. The rumour has resulted in the disgraceful harassment of Mr. and Mrs. Miscavige. It is disgusting. The Church has made information available about Mr. Gibney’s film at www.freedommag.org/hbo.”

HBO and Mike Rinder did not immediately reply to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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