I was reading an article on the BBC website previewing an upcoming, and second, Panorama programme on Scientology [BBC1 Tues 28 Sept 9pm and thereafter on iPlayer].
In 2007, John Sweeney was the interviewer on the first programme.
He said in the article,
“I never meant to shout.
Strangers had been on my tail. Scientologist Tommy Davis and his colleague Mike Rinder - my handlers - had been on my case, day in and day out.
They had taken me to an exhibit called 'Psychiatry: Industry of Death' on Hollywood Boulevard, where a Scientologist told me psychiatrists set up the Holocaust. I feared I was being brain-washed.
And then I lost it - big time.”
“Shortly after that programme, Scientology & Me, aired in 2007, I received a tip-off that Mike Rinder had left the church.
Three years on and my old adversary came to me to shed some light on what had been going on behind the scenes in the days leading up to my infamous meltdown and screaming session in Los Angeles.
Now an independent Scientologist, Mike is critical of the church and of its leader David Miscavige, who was actor Tom Cruise's best man at his wedding to Katie Holmes.
Mike, 55, wanted to meet and talk about his life in the church, which he was a part of from the age of six.
He began by telling me about the moment when he decided to get out: "I knew as I was walking out - that was the last time I would ever talk to my wife, my children, the rest of my family. I couldn't take it anymore. When I left I felt I had been freed."
Mike was subjected to what the church calls disconnection. His wife, daughter, son, brother and mother have cut him out of their lives.”
In the 2020 interview, Rinder acknowledges that Sweeney had been followed by members of the Church/cult [choose whichever word with which you are most comfortable] of Scientology, actions which were denied in 2007 and again now.
Sweeney talked to several former members of the Church/cult and again he was followed and filmed.
Where do Carter-Ruck come into this?
They are the lawyers of Scientology UK and they, Carter-Ruck, deny that Sweeney was followed in 2007 but they also sent to the BBC photographs of Sweeney hugging ex-member, Amy Scobee at the end of what Sweeney describes as “a long and at times harrowing series of interviews about her experiences” for the upcoming programme.
Sweeney claims that this was done to show BBC bosses that he was biased against Scientology. For his part, Sweeney is pleased because the fact of having photographs means that the Church/cult of Scientology were following him.
“Where there’s brass there’s muck”
I can never remember which way round this saying goes!