Note to readers and viewers: The Anderson Cooper 360 series "Scientology: A History of Violence," which reported competing claims and denials about violence at the top of the Church of Scientology has attracted a number of complaints from senior members of the Church of Scientology (including Mr. Miscavige) and the Church of Scientology itself.
The series is now the subject of a letter of legal complaint in the United Kingdom. The complainants strongly dispute the allegations and the assertions made against them and covered in the course of the series by former members of the Church of Scientology.
Anderson Cooper | BIO
This week we begin a five-part investigation into allegations made by a number of former high ranking members of the Church of Scientology. The allegations are about physical abuse they say took place within the Sea Organization, the international management branch of the church.
These former members, many of whom dedicated their lives to Scientology, allege that the leader of the church, David Miscavige, has used physical violence against a number of Sea Organization members. The church adamantly denies these allegations, and back up their denials with numerous affidavits and testimonials defending Mr. Miscavige and attacking those who are speaking out.
Interestingly, the church spokesman, Tommy Davis, admits there was a history of violence in the Sea Organization, but the people he blames for it are those who are making the allegations against David Miscavige. He says they were demoted by Mr. Miscavige, and are bitter and disgruntled. Some of those making the allegations admit they did engage in violent acts, but say it was at the urging of Mr. Miscavige.
There is no real proof offered by either side, but viewers can make their own assessment. We have spent several months working on this series, and believe it is a fair look at the allegations and the counter claims made by the church.
I have already received a number of emails from church members complaining about the series, and accusing me of attacking the church, its beliefs, its membership, and its activities.
Given that the emails are all very similar in content, I assume this is some sort of organized email campaign. None of those writing the emails have seen the series, but I appreciate hearing from all concerned viewers, and I certainly understand any church member, of any religion, being concerned about the portrayal of their beliefs.
For the record, I just want to point out that this series is not about the beliefs or activities of the Church of Scientology. It is not about the religion or the vast majority of Scientologists. This series simply has to do with what some former high ranking church officials say went on within the upper management of the church, and what happened to them when they left the church.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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