Monday's intriguing people
Writer-director Paul Haggis is dishing the goods on Scientology in The New Yorker magazine.
February 7th, 2011
11:45 AM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Paul Haggis

The award-winning writer-director of “Crash” has given The New Yorker an interview detailing the inner workings of Scientology. A member for 35 years, Haggis broke with the church in 2009 after it refused to condemn Proposition 8, which made marriage an institution between only man and woman in California.

In his letter of resignation to spokesman Tommy Davis, Haggis wrote that he could not align himself with an organization that would back "that hate-filled legislation." He concluded, “Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent.”

Wael Ghonim

The Google executive in Egypt is expected to be released Monday afternoon after becoming an opposition spokesman against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. In a phone interview with CNN, Hazzem Ghonim said that he last spoke to his brother January 28.

Wael Ghonim has long used his Twitter page to voice his opposition. On January 27, he wrote: “Pray for #Egypt. Very worried as it seems that government is planning a war crime tomorrow against people. We are all ready to die."

Jerry Jones

The owner of the Dallas Cowboys set out to break an attendance record with Sunday’s Super Bowl. Unsuitable temporary seating quashed that, and some 400 ticket holders denied seats are expected to get a refund of triple the cost of the face value - $800 - of their ticket.

They were allowed in the stadium to watch the game on monitors or from standing platforms in each corner of the stadium, the NFL said.

"It was terribly mismanaged, and we're just beside ourselves," said an unnamed Pittsburgh Steelers fan between tears.

The NFL promised to look into the matter: "We regret the situation and inconvenience it may have caused."

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Filed under: California • Egypt • Gay and lesbian • Google • Human rights • Most Intriguing People • Movies • Pro football • Proposition 8 • Religion • Scientology • Showbiz • Sports • Super Bowl • Technology • Texas
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. Louanne

    This article is another thinly veiled tabloid piece repeating old and new rumors from people with an axe to grind with the Church of Scientology. The New Yorker author Lawrence Wright could not come up with a single line that has not been discarded as the work of fanatic anti-religionists a long time ago. This piece actually sheds a new light on him as a researcher and writer. How much does his obvious hate against religion taint his judgment? This piece has been written by someone with a deep-set hatred against religion and spirituality. Just like the Hollywood dude Haggis, who openly confesses that he makes a living putting his personal life traumata in movie scripts, Lawrence Wright lives his anti-religious hatred in writing one-track minded articles and books. The New Yorker, putting on tabloid colors for a moment, has allowed him to air his therapy sessions and that is their choice but one really has to ask: I don't really want to waste my time reading something like this.

    February 7, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      @Louanne / ll1980 / LouanneLee etc.
      If you don't want to waste your time reading it, stop pasting that garbage response into every user comments section on every site covering the story!

      February 7, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      @Louanne - what a scientology shill you are. And not a clever one at that.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      Tony, they prey on the uneducated. It's sad.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      Yes, apparently, that's why you fell for it.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      Oops, my apologies! Too hasty in my response!

      February 7, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • T Diddy

      Absolutely NOTHING better than South Park's scientology episode. What a complete bunch of freaks these people are!

      February 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Precious

      Paul Haggis is just publicly nursing a personal grudge and getting as much publicity from this is he can get. None of his allegations have been proven. We are validating his whining just because things didn't go his way. There's so much going on in the world that really needs our attention – not a single man who changed his mind about a religion. News in the US is largely hinged on gossip and sensation – and we kid ourselves that we know about the world through these little stories that have no bearing to our personal and national progress.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • SrNanny

      Scientology isn't a religion – it's a cult, which somehow was able to get religious status for tax purposes!

      February 7, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • long-time-scientologist

      You just wish it would all go away huh Precious. Well, it isn't going to go away. The crimes of David Miscavige and the abuses of staff and public need to be addressed. People need to be warned about the dangers lurking behind the beautiful (false) PR the church disseminates to the public and its members. It took me a long time, but I finally wized up. You should too. This article was spot-on. The truth hurts. Trying to brush it off isn't going to help you. Wake up. Look at what is happening and confront the fact that you've been tricked and lied to. It's a hard pill to swallow, but in the long run you'll be better off.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • durb in ak

      Louanne "one really has to ask: I don't really want to waste my time reading something like this."

      woow, I mean, I think we all knew scientologists must check their brain at the door, but my goodness, I didn't suspect this level of stupidity. The church of scientology believes a pedophile drug addict is a prophet, for crying out loud. Out of all the religious cults around the world, scientology has to be the most backwards and hypocritical. When I hear interviews from scientologists I actually throw up a little in my mouth. Louanne, you made me throw up on my keyboard. If scientology teaches you to ignore facts, why not just ignore articles that bash your faith in the filthy, child molesting prophet, hubbard? Seriously, do us all a favor.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • MePicaElPico

      I gotta hand it to Wright…he's smart. He simply repackaged a bunch of existing malicious lies and is selling them back to the same public who created them in the first place. Sad…but a clever money-making tactic.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • durb in ak

      srnanny, all religions are cults. Some are just more obvious than others. Scientology hasn't been around as long as most of the others. We have all become accustomed to the more familiar cults, but make no mistake, they are all cults. They all disagree with science. I'm sure you disregard the flying spaghetti monster, but if you can explain why a flying spaghetti monster is harder to believe than a man rising from the dead, I'm all ears. Scientology believes the prophet hubbard, who molested children on his cruise around the world had the answers to life. Christianity, who believes the prophet jesus was the son of God who created everything, is also responsible for countless children being molested. It's all a cult.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      scientology is a cult. Plain and simple. After living in Clearwater, Fl for 6 years I can say that anyone who defends that "church" is uneducated or brainwashed.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • TK

      Like John said, Louanne, then don't waste your time reading it-no one is making you. And don’t be so thinned-skinned about a topic most folks don’t think is all that earth shattering, compared to the Egyptian revolution and Australia's current natural disasters . Scientologists can believe what they want. This is America, and religious freedom has pretty much been a core value since the late 1600’s. Of course there have been a few hiccups in modern times, like far-right Fundamentalist Christians and Islamic Extremists thinking their way is the only holy and true way and they must forced it down everyone’s throat or die trying. But I digress. So what if the writer put his own slant on his piece? It's the New Yorker, not the Associated Press. To hear you say it, he’s a religious racist because he dared write something negative about Scientology. Lighten up, Louanne. The average New Yorker reader can likely discern that the author just wrote about one man's reasons for doing something. They also can figure out there is more than one side of the story and explore the other side, if they choose to do so. As a suggestion, why don’t you and your community stop being so defensive and just go about your business believing what you want to? The way some of you folks are so quick to defend such minute challenges to your faith makes me think you might not be all that sold on it.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robin Bray

      A 'religion" made by a third rate sci-fi author. Losers and ignorant fools.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Ah Louanne so how much are you paid by the church??? Given the hyperlink to your name is scientologymyths oh yeah it is plain to see you are with the church. LOL.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Ah, Louanne, why are you so vehemently defending a religion that was set up as a bar bet?

      February 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      a crack pot cult... waiting for ZULU to come down and direct them on how to get more money out of everyone

      February 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • nobikiniatoll

      The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

      February 7, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Google News : "new yorker wright" : All New Articles:

      Just for a laugh count how many times you see the "This article is another thinly veiled tabloid piece repeating old and new rumors from people with an axe to grind...." comment from the Louanne Brigade.

      Note they can not actually discuss the article itself, as to members of the cult it is considered "Entheta" and will "Enturbulate" them. (You can easily Google the meaning of Hubbard's many made-up words).

      February 7, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnFranCo

      "The subject of the alleged investigation was recently raised in a lawsuit by the same individuals who are the sources for the article and the complaint was resoundingly dismissed by a Federal District Court Judge."

      February 7, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sherri

      What kind of 'religion' makes you pay to get higher knowledge? Says you can't tell anyone else what you know or it will kill them? Anyone who can't see through that is a nut case. What kind of religion tells you you can't talk to your family if they don't agree with your religion? Or that if you disagree with it, you are a subversive and can't be spoken to? THAT is a cult. What kind of religion posts guards outside houses so you can't leave? Or chases you down and runs you off the road?

      February 14, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeanne

    Haggis and the New Yorker should know full well that a Church can't formally come out for or against political issues. Plus, isn't this 2011? Didn't this happen 2 years ago? Is this actually viewed as news?

    February 7, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Medicine Man

      Your reading and comprehension skills are showing...

      This isn't a story about the resignation, it's a story about Haggis talking to the New Yorker and the publication is current, not years old.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      @Jeanne - of course a church can speak out for and against political issues. We have a secular society, but churches are certainly free to make statements about laws they support or oppose, whether on the issue of abortion, gay rights and marriage, etc.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • ObjectiveReporting

      You Scientology Office of Special Affairs internet handlers probably wishing this wasn't news.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • T3chsupport

      Since when? Churches are involved in politics all the time.
      ALL the time.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      WISH YOU WOULD STOP USING THE WORD CHURCH IT IS NOT A CHURCH OR A RELIGION IT IS A CRIMINAL ORGANISATION

      February 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Michael O'Rourke

    I agree with Paul Haggis. California's proposition 8 is just plain wrong and the Church of Scientology is a thought control organization,but I'm still for it if it helps people.

    February 7, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • long-time-scientologist

      I'd stay away from the official Church of Scientology at all costs. Cause believe me, it'll cost you in many ways! If you want to know more, just find some freezone Scientologist or visit the ex-scientologist message board for in-depth stories of the nightmare it has been for many.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jennifer

    As soon as you post anything slightly negative about the great cult of Scientology, the true believers are out in force to protect it. More than anything, that shows it's a cult. How long will it be before the lawyers are called in to threaten and sabre-rattle and do everything else their lawyers do. So, bring it on, scientrolls. You amuse me to no end.

    February 7, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      The same thing happens when you question any religion. So you are saying all religions are cults.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      Jake:
      I have not been to the Protestant Church, that I grew up attending, in over 10 years. They haven't even called me. They could care less that I questioned everything they taught me. They do not hire lawyers to harass me and while I was a member they did not charge me.
      How much do you pay for useless audits? Actually they are not entirely useless, they will use the information they gather about you against you if you try to leave. That is some scary cult behavior. I'd run for my life if I were you.

      February 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Louanne

    Uh, I am being followed! Flattering. Hey John, how's going?

    February 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      No, it's just that your ludicrous posts really stand out.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Follow? Hardly.

      If the cultists who constantly post under the "Louanne" username dared to ever read what it is they are commenting on they would see why every man and his dog knows that scientology is an abusive scam created by a fraud.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louanne

      I answered you.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • kado

      Louanne, whoever or whatever you are: Either contribute intelligently, or go away.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnFranCo

      Why so angry, John? Take a look at this excerpt from the Telegraph:

      "The subject of the alleged investigation was recently raised in a lawsuit by the same individuals who are the sources for the article and the complaint was resoundingly dismissed by a Federal District Court Judge."

      Cheers.

      February 7, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dawn O.

    So gratifying to see Scientology is still being exposed for the fraudulent, life-destroying, money-laundering cult that it is.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jane

    First of all, this was in the news a long time ago. Why the rehash? Secondly, as far as I know, churches don't regularly back legislation. Doesn't that invalidate their protected statuses as religious organizations? CNN gets dumber and dumber.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      Did you read the article? The Church (Cult) of Scientology was listed in San Diego as a contributor to Prop 8.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      Give it a rest, you transparent shill.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • ObjectiveReporting

      Scientology has invalidated it's status as a religion by it's actions in the past 50 years;practicing medicine without a license, charging people for life-improvement courses, human slavery.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • beef

      I wouldn't call this a rehash at all. I think this is the first real interview Haggis has done since leaving. It usually takes people a while after they leave cults to wake up and have the courage to begin speaking about their experiences. Why we protest dot net is a great place to go to learn about Scientology's history of abuses and current efforts to expose their fraud. Also, you-tube is full of videos of interviews with ex members and global protests. WHAT ARE YOUR CRIMES!

      February 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Pedro

    I agree with Jeanne, this is very old news. Also, the FBI hasn't confirmed that there is a pending investigation. It all sounds like a slow news day to me.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave B

      I agree. Have worked for the Church for 35 years (and at the top levels) and didn't see what Wright is talking about–he never met with .
      Have seen a lot of energy right from the top on Human Rights Eduction and Drug Education programs.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • ObjectiveReporting

      You're a Scientololgy Office of Special Affairs internet handler agreeing with a Scientology Office of Special Affairs internet handler?

      February 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • ObjectiveReporting

      You might agree with her because you're a Scientology Office of Special Affairs agent or one of their sock-puupets.

      February 7, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Help!

    Has the mothership arrived?

    February 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jeanne

    Hi Tony, Medicine Man and Jennifer. My point is the New Yorker presents nothing new. The St. Peterburg times went around and interviewed the former Scientology execs who were themselves the ones guilty of everything they were claiming was wrong with Scientology. As far as I'm concerned it was just a flank for a legal case that lost, and if anyone should be investigated it's them. I am surprised you didn't read between the lines and see this. There's a fascinating article on it here: http://www.freedommag.org/special-reports/cnn/a-liar-is-a-coward-a-perjurer-is-a-criminal.html I am not impressed by Lawrence Wright's journalistic ethics or his unwillingness to dig for the real story. It's very disappointing and makes me wonder about the other stories he covered.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      The only thing fascinating about the article is the degree of hypocrisy.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      to quote freedom magazine is a joke its like asking a serial killer not to do it anymore please

      February 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Louanne

    Uh oh, now I am several people. Am I behind every bush too then? Dude, seriously, we have to talk. I am an individual (not sure about "you" though) and I have thoughts and opinion. Whatever personal attack your response is does not cover up the fact that you are trying to avoid the issue.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • ObjectiveReporting

      Uhmm, not those are sock-puppets actually, the OSA must have had an orgasm when they discovered sock-puppets, right up their deceptive alley, so tp speak.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      no your not several people but you are a victim and a victim of a dangerous and evil cult

      February 7, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tom

    I'll bet that Enron - sorry, I meant El Ron (got my schemers mixed up) - is smiling in his dust and wondering why.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Crista

    If Paul Haggis's only beef with the Church of Scientology was over Prop 8 why is he making such a big deal about this tell-all interview? Sounds like he just wants some more publicity for himself. Does he have a new movie coming out that he needs to promote? How about leaving religion and personal beliefs out of the headlines and focus on something that is news worthy?

    February 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      It is news worthy. It was a fascinating article. You should try reading it. It may open up your eyes.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • ObjectiveReporting

      If Tommy Davis, your spokesman, said Scientology is not motivated by critics or bad press then why are you OSA internet handlers swarming every article that mentions this story?

      February 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. T Diddy

    I'm pretty sure scientologists are muslims in disguise...could be the other way around too

    February 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joe

    In America you may believe in whatever you like. You may also promote those beliefs, no matter how ridiculous or forlorn they may be. I truly pity those who spend this life in a fantasy. What a waste.

    February 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • A_Watcher

      it's not an issue of beliefs. It's when they are used as an excuse to hurt people that becomes a problem. And Scientology is being accused of repeated, systematic abuse.

      February 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
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