Scientology is not an organization that takes its detractors lying down. In fact, the cult is notorious for fighting with fire—or, more precisely, fighting fire with an inferno.
Of late, the church has been scrambling to fight back against negative press generated from Going Clear, an upcoming HBO documentary that exposes and eviscerates the church's shady practices (including its abuses against women). One way Scientology has retaliated? By purchasing a sponsored Google Ad to slam the film and its director, Alex Gibney.
The ad, which appears at the top of Google when searching for Going Clear, is a ruthless takedown that, ironically, only works to cement the case that Scientology is abusive and worthy of condemnation. Linked to the organization's in-house magazine Freedom, the ad is dedicated to “Exterminating Gibney’s Propaganda,” and goes so far as to tie Gibney's work on the film to his father's alleged participation in a covert CIA op. Says the nefarious narrator in a spot on Gibney and his father: "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."
Meanwhile, a flurry of tweets, tied to a fake account called "Freedom Media Ethics," have been ripping into Gibney and company with claims like "#AlexGibney’s phony ‘threats’ claim regarding #GoingClear shows he’s desperate.” It's all part and parcel for a church that has slandered its most vocal critics with attack-sites like "Who Is Michael Rinder" and "Who Is Marty Rathbun."
These counter-attacks are so out-there ridiculous, it's hard to take them seriously—or believe that anybody would. But that doesn't seem to be the point. Scientology's lie machine is more about keeping existing members entrapped and brainwashed than it is about preventing outsiders from adopting negative opinions. As The Daily Beast reported one critic saying: "The truth for the Scientologists who watch these videos will be what Scientology tells them."
And that's the most chilling part of all.