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Paul Haggis is ‘ashamed’ of Scientology past

18 hours ago

Paul Haggis -- the London, Ont.-born producer, writer, and director -- has a lot to be proud of. He has won countless awards for films like "Crash" and "Million Dollar Baby," he's happily married to former "Dallas" actress Deborah Renard, and you can practically go swimming in his ocean-blue eyes.

But the 59-year-old entertainment pro has been outspoken about one aspect of his life he regrets: his time devoted to Scientology. On Thursday night, the NBC news show "Rock Center With Brian Williams" called Haggis "the most famous Scientologist to leave the church and speak out about it," as the Oscar winner revealed more details about the 35 years he spent as an active member of the controversial religion that he considers a cult.

"I was ashamed of my own stupidity, of how I could have been so purposely blind for so many years," Haggis said after being asked why he chose to leave Scientology in 2009. The director revealed that he performed his own research, discovering reports of abuse, involuntary confinement, and child labour within the higher levels of Scientology. See also: Why was Katie Holmes in court?

At first he admits Scientology helped him, like "a good self-help book," but says his decision to leave was viewed as "a treasonous act." "If you have an enemy and they've declared themselves an enemy, that's a bad thing. But if you have a friend who then stabs you in the back, that's worse. And that's what they claim I did, and that's actually what I did," he said. "You've got these folks inside this fortress who won't look out and won't look at any criticism and can't bear the investigation, and they think everybody is against them. How would you describe that? It's a cult."

This was Haggis's first TV interview about his time with Scientology, but it's definitely not the first time the world has heard Haggis's personal thoughts on the religion. Most recently, he spoke out about reports of Tom Cruise's "wife-auditioning" and Cruise's short-lived relationship with actress Nazanin Boniadi before choosing to marry Katie Holmes.

"Naz was embarrassed by her unwitting involvement in this incident and never wanted it to come out, so I kept silent. However, I was deeply disturbed by how the highest-ranking members of a church could so easily justify using one of their members; how they so callously punished her and then so effectively silenced her when it was done. It wasn't just the threats; they actually made her feel ashamed, when all she had been was human and trusting," Haggis told Showbiz 411 in September.

Cruise, 50, holds the opposite opinion when it comes to Scientology. His involvement in the religion apparently led to his and Holmes's highly publicized divorce last year, in which Holmes was awarded custody of their 6-year-old daughter, Suri. Cruise's former wife Nicole Kidman, refuses to comment on Scientology out of respect for her children with Cruise. Nevertheless, their marriage is discussed in Pulitzer Prize-winner Lawrence Wright's upcoming book, "Going Clear," which seeks to examine Scientology's relationship with celebrities.

"Parenthood" actress Erika Christensen, meanwhile, spoke out recently in support of the beliefs of Scientology, which she shares with stars like Cruise, Kirstie Alley, Beck, and John Travolta.

"[People assume] we're some kind of closed group and we're just the Hollywood religion and we worship rabbits," Christensen said, having been raised by Scientologist parents. "If I had to sum it up, the goal of Scientology is giving the person back to themselves. Like, your own power of choice."

Whether or not there are rabbits involved, it seems like Hollywood cannot stop talking about this mysterious religion.

by Anonymousreply 1701/20/2013

A married couple on the prohram said when she became pregnant, Scientology told her to abort. When she refused the parents were separated from their daughter. The organization denies the charges, like they deny any negative truth against them, including the death of members.

by Anonymousreply 101/19/2013

Still fug.

by Anonymousreply 201/19/2013

What is Scientology's position on being gay?

by Anonymousreply 301/19/2013

Why would they tell them to do that, R1?

by Anonymousreply 401/19/2013

r1, it was punishment for not having the abortion. Since they left the wife's two relatives in Scientology won't speak with her fearing retribution.

by Anonymousreply 501/20/2013

See, this is the problem I have with $cientology. They are bullies and proud of it. In general, I don't give a shit what people believe in. But if you belong to an organization that practices things like retaliation by any means necessary, then I take issue with that. Not to mention they bilk the shit out of their members.

by Anonymousreply 601/20/2013

When this information about a Scientology is being exposed time and after time, how can they deny their practices? They've also denied one member was murdered at their Los Angeles headquarters.

by Anonymousreply 701/20/2013

Unfortunately, he's still proud of Crash.

by Anonymousreply 801/20/2013

I loved the New York Times review of the latest $cio book in today's paper, which ripped Haggis left and right for his hypocritical indolence over the years as he observed terrible things in the organization and did nothing, and how he's now all mouthy.

As the writer, Michael Kingsley, said:

"What finally pushed him (Haggis) over the edge, away from Scientology and out into the real world, was the church’s refusal to endorse gay marriage. Now, I’m for gay marriage. And Haggis has two gay daughters, so it’s understandable that he should feel particularly strongly about this issue. But some perspective, please: it’s like hanging on through the Moscow trials and then quitting the Communist Party because it won’t endorse . . . oh, I dunno — well, gay marriage."

I suppose the fact he was a believer kept his eyes and mouth shut, and there are worse motivations for finally leaving. But he carries a lot of baggage in the fight and I hope he's sorted things for himself, you know, to get "unclear."

by Anonymousreply 901/20/2013

They tried to do a test on me using a cheap looking black box which resembled an early 1980's games console. For a 'religion' trying to attract celebrities they have an awful, cheap image.

by Anonymousreply 1001/20/2013

I'd be more ashamed of what a shitty movie Crash was.

by Anonymousreply 1101/20/2013

Oh for Christ's sakes "Brokeback Mountain" LOST, get over it. Your "classic' is relegated to late night showings between Real Housewives re-runs on Bravo.

by Anonymousreply 1201/20/2013

[quote] is ‘ashamed’ of Scientology past

And he should be. My 10 year old niece knows it's a scam. Seriously. The subject came up at Thanksgiving and I told my relatives what Scientology is like. When I got to the part about the aliens and all that crazy shit, my niece laughed and laughed, The rest of the family thought I was making it all up. They thought I was being sarcastic or joking around

by Anonymousreply 1301/20/2013

[quote] What is Scientology's position on being gay?

they don't have any gays in Scientology. Just like Iran doesn't

by Anonymousreply 1401/20/2013

Scientology is a Tontine. The last living person belonging to the "church" get to keep all the assets.

by Anonymousreply 1501/20/2013

Because it is required that one love Sciento' above all else, gays can not be Sciento's. Scientology has always known that nothing trumps a stiff dick.

by Anonymousreply 1601/20/2013

Are you being serious R15? If so, how is it decided who gets to subscribe?

by Anonymousreply 1701/20/2013
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