Alex Gibney claims to be a documentarian…
But Alex Gibney’s idea of a documentary on the Church of Scientology?
Start with a book written by his buddy Lawrence Wright.
Disregard that the book was filled with unsubstantiated innuendo, unsupported rumors, and allegations so outrageous a federal judge dismissed them as baseless.
Ignore the fact that the main source for the book was this man Marty Rathbun—leader of a tiny failed cult whose members had all been expelled from the Church for discreditable activities.
Then spend two years in secret turning that book into a film… and never once present any allegations to the Church.
And to ensure that the media would consider it tweet-worthy, give it a Hollywood touch; try to find some big names, and what Alex Gibney came up with was...
But Paul Haggis isn't the king of the silver screen that Alex Gibney would have you believe. Just ask his sister, and long-time writing partner, Kathy.
He was a charming little boy and as he grew up he was a charming teenager and he used that charm to con people.
Paul is a born con artist. That’s what he is.
All con artists are charming.
That’s how they get people to believe them.
Paul was never a Scientologist.
Not from the beginning. He was never a Scientologist.
Paul hung around the outskirts of Scientology – the fringe of Scientology.
He used our church. He has used our humanitarian efforts in order to glorify himself in order to build his career.
Understand that when Paul came to Hollywood, he had nothing.
Paul got his first jobs through Scientologists.
Paul came and hung out at our Celebrity Centre where there were writers who were already working.
A very dear friend of mine gave Paul his first job.
I was there, I heard the conversations at the time, of Paul, you know, very cleverly wheedling his way into a job so that he could get onto a prime time show.
And then once Paul got onto that prime time show, he managed to find a clever way to dump that writer and move onto another television series and get a solo credit.
That’s how Paul got his first solo credits.
He got them off of the backs of writers and other celebrities at Celebrity Center.
Paul’s career was starting on the downslide.
Paul had two movies that did well, back-to-back, accidentally.
But after those two films were made, he couldn’t follow it up with anything on his own that was successful.
Everything he did after that, on his own, failed.
And has continued to fail.
He is a desperate man right now, because his last film was declared by the UK papers as one of the worst films of the year.
So Paul’s career was on the downslide when Lawrence Wright came into the picture.
I asked my husband to go have a word with Paul and find out if he was talking about our family to the press and if he was talking about Scientology to the press.
And when he did, Paul started to tell this whole tale about how Lawrence Wright came to his house and asked him for an interview, and he thought that Lawrence wanted to interview him because he wanted to do a profile on him for the New Yorker, but Lawrence Wright instead said that he wanted to talk about Scientology.
And Paul said, “Well, why do you want to talk about Scientology. I didn’t realize that that’s what you wanted.”
And he said, “Well, why else would we be interested in you?”
So then Paul looked at my husband and said, “So I had no choice if I wanted a profile in the New Yorker.”
That right there, I think, hopefully, will give people an idea of the kind of individual we are talking about.
Wright’s article was soon turned into a rambling 365-page diatribe against the Church of Scientology.
The same book Alex Gibney put to film, without checking a word of its accuracy.
I went through this book and I can speak to about 25 points in the first chapter alone as being pure fiction.
Lawrence Wright talks about Paul having to ‘walk down this lonely road’ in order to, you know, to go to school and, as if he was in the middle of nowhere in this dust-bowl town.
Paul never walked anywhere in his life. I can promise you.
My mother, who doted on him, drove him everywhere in her Mercedes Benz.
So Paul was not this pathetic creature that Lawrence Wright tries to paint him to be in the beginning of the book.
So you cannot in all honesty present this film as a documentary based on so many blatant lies.
This is a tale of two writers – of avarice and ambition… to forward their own careers, to forward their own ambitions.
There’s a worldwide interest in Scientology.
There’s very little interest in Paul Haggis.
But if you manage to combine his name with Scientology, all of a sudden you have the attention of the press.
I had a conversation with one of his former teachers.
And she enquired after the family and after Paul and myself and were we still close and I said, “No we are not close anymore,” and I explained to her why and the kind of lies that he was telling about our Church... and she said to me, “Well, you know that he is a chronic liar don’t you?”
And of course I knew, but this is a nun who knew many years ago when he was probably 7 years old, 8 years old at the time.
Paul has destroyed our family.
He destroyed our family many years ago.
Because he used every opportunity he could to malign the reputations of people who were getting in his way.
As Paul’s career became more and more important to him, he was willing to sacrifice each and every one of us – and did – in order to line his own pockets.
I have been standing up against Paul for two decades.
He can’t do this and he has to know that it is not okay to destroy the reputations of good and decent people on the altar of his ambitions.
That's Paul Haggis, Hollywood hypocrite.
A man who destroys families… a common theme among Alex Gibney's sources.
Remember this guy – the leader of that tiny failed cult?
Shut the fuck up.
He put a fist in his wife’s face right before he abandoned her.
Now he tears other families apart.
You’ll also meet those this man calls his “posse”: His minion, Mike Rinder – this guy deserted his children, broke into his elderly ailing mother’s apartment, and ruthlessly beat up his estranged wife.
He breaks up other people’s families, too.
Then there’s the thief who stole from his wife’s grandmother – on his wedding day no less – he walked out on his wife, as well.
And another Alex Gibney source, the drama queen who began a secret affair with one of her business clients, destroyed her marriage and turned her two children against her husband.
You’ll also meet the lady with a dark past who conspired to murder her own father.
And the expelled home wrecker who abandoned her husband, daughter and daughter’s baby child to join her drug-abusing son in attempting to destroy their former religion.
But Alex Gibney isn’t revealing who his prize “sources” really are.
And for obvious reasons.
I think we got the story that we wanted.
It’s not the truth. It’s Alex Gibney. On HBO.