In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times this week, actor and Scientologist John Travolta said he he has not seen HBO’s explosive documentary about his religion, and has no plans to watch it any time soon.
Alex Gibney’s film Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which made its cable debut last month to over a million and a half viewers, makes incendiary accusations against the Church of Scientology and calls for celebrity adherents like Travolta and Tom Cruise to speak out.
“I haven’t experienced anything that the hearsay has (claimed), so why would I communicate something that wasn’t true for me?” Travolta explained to the Times. “It wouldn’t make sense, nor would it for Tom I imagine.”
One of the film’s most serious allegations is that the Church blackmails Travolta into staying a member by keeping a “black PR package” full of sensitive, potentially embarrassing information about the actor as leverage. Despite the charge, Travolta told the Times the Church “has been nothing but brilliant” for him.
“I’ve been so happy with my (Scientology) experience in the last 40 years that I really don’t have anything to say that would shed light on (a documentary) so decidedly negative,” the actor said.
He explained that the religion helped him deal with the loss of his 16-year-old son Jett, who died after hitting his head during a seizure on a family trip to the Bahamas in 2009.
“I’ve been brought through storms that were insurmountable, and (Scientology has) been so beautiful for me, that I can’t even imagine attacking it,” Travolta told the Times, maintaining he “wouldn’t have made it” if not for the church’s help.
“I’ve helped so many people through hard times,” he continued. “Loss of children, loved ones, physical illnesses. Through many tough, tough life situations I’ve used the technology to support them and help them. It’s always worked.”
“So, why would I even approach a negative perspective?” Travolta concluded. “That would be a crime to me, personally, to do that.”
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is available now on HBO Go and HBO On Demand.