Going Clear by Lawrence Wright

Going Clear by Lawrence Wright

Author:Lawrence Wright
Language: eng
Format: mobi, epub, pdf
ISBN: 9780385350273
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Published: 2013-01-17T05:00:00+00:00

THE TIME STORY WAS a turning point in the church’s history. The embarrassment for Scientology celebrities undercut the church’s strategy of making the religion appear to be a spiritual refuge for the show-business elite. One of the chief appeals of the religion to prospective recruits was the perceived network that Scientology provided its members, especially in Hollywood, awarding them an advantage in a ruthlessly competitive industry. With the Time article, affiliation with the church became an embarrassing liability.

Tom Cruise was one of the stars who appeared to be backing away from Scientology.2 He stopped moving up the Bridge. He and Nicole adopted two children, Isabella and Connor, and began spending more time in Sydney, Kidman’s hometown, where she could be close to her family. He hired a powerful publicist, Pat Kingsley, who was able to enforce rigid control over the content of the interviews the star granted. Although his affiliation with Scientology was generally known, there was no more fuel for the media mill. He seemed to be putting as much distance between himself and the church as possible.

The church began to plot its counterattack. The Cult Awareness Network, besieged by more than fifty lawsuits brought by Scientologists, went bankrupt in 1996. An individual Scientologist purchased its name and assets at auction. Soon after that, the reorganized Cult Awareness Network sent out a brochure lauding the Church of Scientology for its efforts to “increase happiness and improve conditions for oneself and others.” The church also began a $3 million campaign against Time, placing full-page ads every day in USA Today for twelve weeks, charging that the magazine had “supported” Adolf Hitler, for instance, by naming him the 1938 “Man of the Year” because of his dominance in European affairs. A lengthy supplement was placed in USA Today titled “The Story That Time Couldn’t Tell: Who Really Controls the News at Time—and Why,” in which the church claimed that Time was actually under the sway of the pharmaceutical industry—specifically, Eli Lilly and Company, the maker of Prozac. The church had charged that Prozac caused people to commit mass murder and suicide. The Time article was the drug company’s revenge, the church alleged.3

Rathbun directed the ferocious legal assault on Time and oversaw the team of private detectives probing into Behar’s private life. The church, employing what was reported to be an annual litigation budget of $20 million and a team of more than a hundred lawyers to handle the suits already in the courts, filed a $416 million libel action against Time Warner, the parent company of the magazine, and Behar. Because the church is regarded under American law as a “public figure,” Scientology’s lawyers had to prove not only that the magazine’s allegations were wrong but also that Behar acted with “actual malice”—a legal term meaning that he knowingly published information he knew to be false, or that he recklessly disregarded the facts, because he intended to damage the church. Although there was no convincing evidence proving that the facts were


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