Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

10/6/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The BBC's investigative TV show, Panorama, airs his new documentary

The journalist who became famous for exploding in an interview with Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis in 2007 takes another turn reporting on the inner workings of the organization through the eyes of former members. On September 28, journalist John Sweeney's "Secrets of Scientology" drew nearly 5 million viewers for the show Panorama on BBC1, making it the most popular show for the 9:00pm slot.

Journalist John Sweeney confronts someone following him while in America.

Journalist John Sweeney confronts someone following him while in America.

Highlights

By Randy Sly

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/6/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Sweeney, Scientology, Tommy Davis, L. Ron Hubbard, Mike Rinder


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - People in England seemingly can't get enough when it comes to revelations about Scientology. On September 28, journalist John Sweeney's "Secrets of Scientology" drew nearly 5 million viewers for the show Panorama on BBC1, making it the most popular show for the 9:00pm slot.

Sweeney had gained notoriety in 2007 when his first Panorama documentary on the subject, "Scientology & Me," contained an emotionally charged clash between the journalist and Tommy Davis, spokesman for the Church of Scientology. That segment of the show went viral on YouTube.

After the incident Sweeney acknowledge that he has lost control like "an exploding tomato" and apologized for his behavior.

Now, three years later, Sweeney re-visited the subject after Mike Rinder, who was a high-ranking leader in the group and accompanied Davis during that explosive first interview, left Scientology. Part of the new documentary focuses on Rinder's re-telling of what took place around the time of the first show as well as other inner workings of the organization.

During the interview, Rinder admitted that Sweeney had been followed - something he denied three years ago - and, in fact, he and Davis were involved. According to the Scientologist, Sweeney's activities were being regularly reported to the church's leader, David Miscavige.

The BBC sought confirmation of Rinder's statements from the Church of Scientology through their British law firm, Carter-Ruck, who rejected this new report of the 2007 events.

The documentary also features Amy Scobee, another former Scientologist and member of their elite Sea Organization, who is now speaking out about her experiences inside the organization.

When she first began to discuss her life inside the organization and criticize Miscavige, information about her private sex life, prior to her marriage, was sent to the St. Petersburg Times in Florida.

In a recent article on the BBC website, Sweeney reports that the church admitted to sending the material saying that it was not confidential and a part of an affidavit that Scobee had signed.

In the same article, he went on to say, " During our time in America for the latest Panorama, we were once again followed by people filming us, this time more openly than before.

"When we approached the people with cameras to ask them who they were with and what they were doing, they refused to answer our questions.

"That is why I was somewhat grateful to Scientology's UK lawyers at Carter-Ruck when they sent the BBC photographs of me hugging Amy Scobee at the end of a long and at times harrowing series of interviews about her experiences.

"The photographs were meant to demonstrate to my bosses at the BBC, once again, that I must be biased against the church as I was overly familiar with its critics.

"This was, oddly enough, welcome proof that the people who had been following and filming us in the States were indeed working for the Church of Scientology. As Mike Rinder had said, I was not being paranoid - I was being followed."

At this point, the documentary is not available on the BBC website or through YouTube for viewing in America.

-----

Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online (http://virginia.catholic.org). He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More Europe

Pope Francis Gives Direction to Charismatic Renewal and New Movements Watch

Image of Pope Francis at the last Pentecost Sunday Mass. Included in the massive crowd were members of the diverse ecclesial movements from around the world.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

On November 22, 2014, Pope Francis addressed a Congress sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Laity. It brought together new movements and communities in the Catholic Church - from across the globe. These movements are not only flourishing, but multiplying ... continue reading


If backed into a corner will Putin come out swinging? On the eve of Russia's great depression Europe braces for violent repercussions Watch

Image of Some analysts fear that Russia could default on its foreign debt, even worse, a depression may force Vladimir Putin to take an aggressive and expansionist stance in Europe.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The sharply declining price of a barrel of oil and the harsh sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe have created a perfect storm for Russia's weak economy. The ruble has fallen fast, and the financial crisis that faces Russia is quickly spiraling out of ... continue reading


Singing nun Sister Cristian Scucccia fulfills lifelong dream to meet Pope Francis Watch

Image of Sister Cristina is slated to perform at the Vatican's Christmas concert later this week, along with American punk singer Patti Smith.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Sister Cristina Scuccia, whose cover of Madonna's "Like a Virgin" has gathered more than four million views on YouTube, has fulfilled her longtime dream of meeting Pope Francis. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Meeting Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square, she ... continue reading


Sexual predator nabbed trying to lure teenage girls off social media sites Watch

Image of Prosecutor Mary McCarthy said Wood sent explicit pictures to girls and, in some cases, arranged to meet them. He had full sexual intercourse with five of the girls. Some of the offenses occurred while he was on bail.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Yeovil man, in Great Britain has been arrested on numerous sex charges. Twenty-year-old Jacob Wood is accused of grooming "vulnerable" teenage girls for sex through social media sites. Wood has been spared a prison sentence after a judge said it would not ... continue reading


'We may not live through these days': Is Mikhail Gorbachev warning that the crisis in Ukraine could turn into World War III? Watch

Image of Former leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, who has long been hailed as one of the leading architects in ending the Cold War is now warning that the world may be facing the potential of war if Russian and American leaders are unwilling to back down.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is no secret that relations between the United States-and its allies in Europe-and Russia have chilled to levels unseen since the end of the Cold War over the ongoing civil war in Ukraine. What is surprising is just who is issuing a warning about the potential ... continue reading


Plight of boat people worldwide addressed by United Nations Watch

Image of

By Katie Nguyen, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Governments must focus on saving lives rather than keeping foreigners out at a time when more people than ever are embarking on risky sea crossings in search of asylum or a better life, the United Nations said on Wednesday. GENEVA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - ... continue reading


Indian, Pakistani accept Nobel Peace Prizes Watch

Image of Both Malala Yousafzai, from Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi, from India accepted their Nobel Peace Prizes in Norway.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

India and Pakistan are longtime international rivals. This didn't prevent a Pakistani teenage advocate for women's education and an Indian child rights campaigner from receiving Nobel Peace Prizes. Both Malala Yousafzai, from Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi, ... continue reading


VATICAN AT RISK OF TOTAL DESTRUCTION as Islamic State smuggles dirty bomb into Europe Watch

Image of Vatican City may be a primary target for the Islamic State's dirty bomb.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A weapons maker for the Islamic State has posted a chilling warning to the world, claiming that a radioactive device, known as a "dirty bomb" has been successfully smuggled into Europe. This suggests that a radiological bombing could be imminent. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


'ISIS killers are monsters and cowards,' widow of slain British aid worker says Watch

Image of

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

The widow of a 44-year-old British aid worker David Haines, who was murdered by Islamic State extremists has denounced his killers "cowards." Dragana Haines, whose husband David was killed by the militants in a graphic video posted online last September, says she still ... continue reading


Has the Islamic State moved on to Russia? 16 dead in Islamist attack! Watch

Image of 16 people have died, and 21 more were injured during an attack in the capital of Chechnya by Islamic militants.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

At least 16 people are dead in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, following an early morning attack on a police checkpoint, media building and school by rebel gunmen. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The attack occurred at 1:00 a.m. (local time) on December 4, and ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 18th, 2014 Image

St. Rufus
December 18: Rufus and Zosimus were citizens of Antioch (or perhaps Philippi) ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter