John Travolta said he hasn’t seen HBO’s scathing Scientology documentary, Going Clear, and has no intention of watching Alex Gibney’s film, which expands on the church’s numerous abuses detailed in Lawrence Wright’s similarly titled book.
Speaking with the Tampa Bay Times, Travolta said, “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. 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.”
Along with digging into the church’s history and its battle for tax-exempt status, Going Clear centers around the traumatic experiences of a number of ex-Scientologists, including Travolta’s former friend, Spanky Taylor, who said she was ordered to perform forced labor while her newborn received inadequate care. The film also examines Travolta and fellow celebrity Scientologist Tom Cruise’s relationships with the church, especially how it provides better treatment and services to members who can shell out large amounts of money.
In regards to the claims of mistreatment and abuse, however, Travolta said: “I haven’t experienced anything that the hearsay has [claimed], so why would I communicate something that wasn’t true for me? It wouldn’t make sense, nor would it for Tom, I imagine.”
The actor went on to note how Scientology has helped him through a number of difficult moments in his life, especially the sudden death of his son, Jett, in 2009. “I’ve helped so many people through hard times,” Travolta added. “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? That would be a crime to me, personally, to do that.”
While Going Clear is tough on Travolta, the film is even more critical of Cruise. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Gibney said: “For [Cruise] not to denounce, or at least investigate, what’s going on seems appalling to me. He gets a lot of money and a lot of privilege from a lot of fans, and the idea that allows the vulnerable to be preyed upon in his name seems reprehensible.”