The St. Petersburg Times is running a series on the Church of Scientology that has some pretty eye-popping allegations, particularly with regard to Church leader David Miscavige. For those who have long argued that the Church is a cult (most recently in Europe) the exposé will likely reinforce their views.
The newspaper reports bizarre and abusive conduct by Miscavige, including hitting high-ranking officials and forcing them to play a game of musical chairs (where the losers allegedly are banned from the Church).
The Los Angeles Times also has a story alleging rampant corruption in the Church.
The series on Scientology is something of a surprise. Many reporters that I have spoken with over the years are privately reluctant to do Scientology stories because of the Church’s aggressive reputation in responding to press. The Church has a history of suing critics and pursuing members who have joined the movement opposing Scientology. This has led to recent lawsuits ( and here) and complaints. Recently, Scientology also was barred from making edits on Wikipedia because of what it viewed as a pattern of misleading or false changes on sites referencing the Church.
For the first part of the three-part series, click here.
For the second part of the three-part series, click here.