John Travolta Defends Scientology Against Harshly Critical HBO Documentary ‘Going Clear’

HBO recently aired a documentary exposing the physical and mental abuse that occurs within the Church of Scientology called Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. A week after its release, famous Scientologist John Travolta has spoken out and defended Scientology as best he can.

Travolta spoke to the Tampa Bay Times in a phone interview about Going Clear and admitted he hadn’t seen the documentary on Scientology yet and claimed he didn’t want to. The actor then attempted to defend Scientology by giving his own personal account of how the religion helped him, and how Scientology had been nothing but a positive influence on his life.

“I haven’t experienced anything that the hearsay has [claimed], so why would I communicate something that wasn’t true for me? It wouldn’t make sense, nor would it for Tom [Cruise], I imagine. I’ve been so happy with my [Scientology] experience in the last 40 years that I really don’t have anything to say that would shed light on [a film] so decidedly negative.”

Travolta continued to defend Scientology by accusing the film of only representing former members of the church who were “disgruntled with their experiences” in the religion. His only defense of Scientology beyond that was to insist that the church has been “nothing but brilliant” for him.

“I’ve been brought through storms that were insurmountable, and [Scientology has] been so beautiful for me, that I can’t even imagine attacking it.”

According to the Huffington Post, Going Clear mentioned both John Travolta and Tom Cruise as powerful members of the Church of Scientology. Their celebrity status has helped build Scientology’s notoriety.

But the real focus of the documentary was the accounts of Lawrence Wright, who wrote a book about Scientology in 2013, and Alex Gibny, who directed the film. They both accused Scientology of serious mental and physical abuse against members. While Wright and Gibney haven’t yet responded to Travolta’s defense of Scientology, they have criticized both him and Tom Cruise for not addressing the frequent accusations of abuse within the religion.

“By now there is a well-documented record of abuses in the Church of Scientology, yet Cruise and Travolta have never spoken out about them,” Gibney told Variety. “By not speaking out, it’s a kind of an endorsement and I think that’s why we’re right and properly critical.”

Another notable celebrity recently spoke out to defend Scientology as well, but it might not be who you expect.

[Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images]