BBC’s program Panorama spent weeks investigating Scientology, with reporter John Sweeney leading the report. Apparently at one point, Sweeney tired of a Scientology spokesman’s cult rhetoric and shouted at him — really, like a lot. It’s actually a natural urge many of us have to scream at these people, but Sweeney actually did it on camera. The BBC’s Panorama episode debuts today (5.14.07), but YouTube videos are circulating like mad, and Sweeney has a response on BBC for what he sees as Scientology’s classic PR-obfuscation of discrediting the source of any non-Scientology approved information about the organization. Of course, John Travolta is all over it, because he *matters*. Snip from Sweeney’s piece below, and YouTube videos/links from the episode and the meltdown after the jump:
The battleground is YouTube and Scientology’s weapon is a clip of me losing it in the “Mind Control” section of a gruesome exhibition.
Scientology has fought many battles to keep its secrets off the web, now they are using it to attack my investigation into them.
Scientology has prepared an attack video, and they have shown the Scientology v Sweeney shouting match to anyone who would watch it.
There is talk of 100,000 copies being released.
Scientology works. That is the message from celebs like John Travolta and Tom Cruise – who is, some say, keen on recruiting new Hollywood arrivals David and Victoria Beckham to what he calls his religion.
Others back the Church in various ways: Chief Superintendent Kevin Hurley of the City of London police helped open a new £20 million Scientology centre in London, and the authorities in the City of London have granted it cut-price rates.
If you are interested in becoming a TV journalist, it is a fine example of how not to do it. I look like an exploding tomato and shout like a jet engine … it makes me cringe
But start asking questions and you see a different face of Scientology.
While making our BBC Panorama film “Scientology and Me” I have been shouted at, spied on, had my hotel invaded at midnight, denounced as a “bigot” by star Scientologists, brain-washed – that is how it felt to me – in a mock up of a Nazi-style torture chamber and chased round the streets of Los Angeles by sinister strangers.
Back in Britain strangers have called on my neighbours, my mother-in-law’s house and someone spied on my wedding and fled the moment he was challenged.
BBC Panorama: “Scientology and Me” (embed disabled)
BBC reporter losing it (unedited) + BBC defense: