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New Scientology Documentary Banned In UK For Fears Of Libel Claims

When it comes to the Scientologist movement, many are aware that, due to their money, power, and influence, it may not be the best idea to mess with the group for fear of libel claims and legal action.

A new Scientology documentary, which was due to be aired in Britain by Sky Atlantic, has now been banned for fears it will ruffle the wrong feathers.

The new film, directed by Alex Gibney, which claims that Scientology’s practices at their U.S. headquarters were abusive and violent, is shelved due to the fact that Northern Ireland is not subject to the 2013 Defamation Act.

John Travolta, A Scientologist himself, also slammed the new film, speaking to reporters about it, he said, “I’ve been so happy with my experience in the last 40 years…that I really don’t have anything to say that would shed light on (a documentary) so decidedly negative.”

The leaders of the Scientology Church have also condemned the film about them, saying it is, “‘one-sided, bigoted propaganda built on falsehoods’ and informed by former members –whom it calls ‘misfits.'”

In an official statement, the church noted, “The Church of Scientology will be entitled to seek the protection of both UK and Irish libel laws in the event that any false or defamatory content in this film is broadcast within these jurisdictions.”

Lawyer Paul Tweed, who was involved in previous discussion with UK publisher Transworld, said a statement.

“Any client of mine, whether a journalist or a high-profile personality, is entitled to protect their reputation against false allegations. In terms of Sky’s decision … they have to make absolutely certain that what they are broadcasting is not defamatory or untrue. If they have right on their side, they have nothing to fear.”

Gibney said about the banning of his film, and Scientologists in general.

“Scientologists are entitled to believe what they want to believe. And the IRS [Internal Revenue Service] website makes it clear anyone is entitled to start a religion without seeking IRS permission. To maintain the right to be tax-exempt, however, religions must fulfil certain requirements for charitable organisations. For example, they may not ‘serve the private interests of any individual’ and/or ‘the organisation’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.'”

[Image credit: hbo.com]