The premiere of the HBO documentary “Going Clear,” directed by Oscar-winner Alex Gibney, gave viewers a behind-the-scenes look at many of the intimidation tactics the Church of Scientology uses to silence its critics and enemies. Most notably, the movie delves into how Scientology strong-armed the IRS – via mass litigation and political pressure – to grant them status as a religion with an exemption from taxes. Now it appears the Scientologists are taking a similar approach in attacking the people behind the documentary.
Jigsaw Productions – Gibney’s production company – posted a photo on the company’s official Instagram account Monday showing the mass amount of letters the Church of Scientology has sent to their offices. The letters – addressed to Gibney and HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins – seem to list grievances with how the film portrays the controversial religion.
The caption on the Instagram post posits that one or a few people were responsible for the letters, based on the repetitive content. Read the caption below:
“Monday morning following the #HBO premiere of #GoingClear last night: reading through a FAT stack of letters from the Church of Scientology. Amusing at first until you realize they eerily echo the same language and claims, as if coming from a single mouthpiece…”
The original post has since been deleted and replaced with a new picture on Instagram and Twitter and a revised caption.
See the new post below:
— Jigsaw Productions (@JigsawProds) March 30, 2015
TheWrap obtained a response from the Church of Scientology to “Going Clear” which it published Monday. The statement denies all of the alleged lies and abuses portrayed in Gibney’s film.
“Alex Gibney is proving to be exactly like the sources in his film – no accusation is too irresponsible to make,” reads the statement. “It doesn’t matter if he lacks corroboration and proof, it’s all about promoting his movie.”
The church’s response in TheWrap also references letters – possibly the ones pictured in the Instagram account – sent to the filmmaker.
“Because Alex Gibney ran from any facts that got in the way of his preconceived story line and ignored all our efforts to communicate (over 40 letters and 25 people who requested to meet with Mr. Gibney), we have compiled the unvarnished truth in the form of video footage, court documents, publicly available records and testimonials by pertinent individuals and parishioners worldwide who do represent Scientology, and were intentionally ignored by Mr. Gibney and HBO. All of it 100% accurate. Alex Gibney spins this as 'smears.' We call it the truth he ignored.”
The statement features links to the information the church says Gibney "ignored."
“Going Clear” will re-air on HBO Monday at 8 p.m. EDT and is currently available on HBO Go.
*At the request of Jigsaw Productions, some information, including a photo of the original Instagram post, has been edited out of the original article for matters of legal sensitivity.