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John Travolta happy with Scientology, won't see 'Going Clear' (w/video)

Actor John Travolta says he won’t see the film criticizing the Church of Scientology. Watching it would be a personal crime, he says.
Actor John Travolta says he won’t see the film criticizing the Church of Scientology. Watching it would be a personal crime, he says.
Published Apr. 8, 2015

John Travolta said Monday he hasn't viewed the HBO documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, currently shining an accusatory light on his church.

"No, I haven't," the star of Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction said in a telephone interview, "and I don't really care to."

Going Clear, is directed by Alex Gibney, and based on Lawrence Wright's similarly titled book alleging improprieties in Scientology, including physical abuse and blackmail using members' confessions against them. (Read our review at tbtim.es/fx4 )

Travolta's comments came during a telephone interview promoting his April 18 appearance at Capitol Theatre in Clearwater, for a premiere of his new film The Forger. The event is a fundraiser for the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Since its debut March 29 on HBO, Going Clear has renewed scrutiny of the church and calls from its critics for Travolta and Tom Cruise — Scientology's figurehead celebrities — to speak out against their church.

"I haven't experienced anything that the hearsay has (claimed), so why would I communicate something that wasn't true for me?" Travolta said. "It wouldn't make sense, nor would it for Tom, I imagine."

Travolta called Going Clear a product of "people who were disgruntled with their experiences" with Scientology, while the church "has been nothing but brilliant for me."

"I've been so happy with my (Scientology) experience in the last 40 years," he said, "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."

One turbulent time for Travolta was the 2009 death of his son, Jett, after a seizure while on holiday in the Bahamas.

"Oh, my god, I wouldn't have made it" without the church's assistance, Travolta said. "Honestly."

The two-time Oscar nominee claimed to have used Scientology to aid others in crisis, another reason he won't see Going Clear.

"I've helped so many people through hard times," Travolta said. "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."

Travolta, 61, keeps a primary residence in Ocala, often visiting Clearwater for Scientology training at the church's headquarters. Five days a week, when he isn't making a movie somewhere too far away to commute.

Contact Steve Persall at spersall@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall.

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