The Panorama special shown yesterday on BBC1, The Secrets of Scientology, was a long-awaited grudge match. Three years ago, reporter John Sweeney filmed an investigation into the cult for the flagship programme. Entitled Scientology and Me, it was an in-depth exposé into the cult and its practises.
It didn’t go too well. Or it succeeded spectactularly.
As Sweeney recounts, the two handlers ‘assigned’ to him by the Co$ – Tommy Davis and Mike Rinder – used aggressive psychological tactics to provoke Sweeney, famously, into an explosive outburst. This regrettable and frankly embarrassing incident was gleefully plastered all over YouTube by brainwashed cult members – aka Clams, Ronbots or Hubbardites – and gullible supporters.
That was 2007.
Now he’s back, and this time he has personnel. A surprise whistleblower has crossed the floor to spill the beans on the pretend church, and thus armed, John Sweeney takes up the cudgels once more.
If you live in the UK, you can see the bloodbath (oops; spoilers) here on the BBC i-Player. Alternatively, if you want a copy you can cut out and keep, it’s available for free download here. I’ve got mine.
If none of that pushes your bigot button, or you just can’t be arsed, here’s the first fifteen minutes courtesy of YouTube:
Legitimate religion or dangerous cult? Is there even a distinction? You decide.