"...it stunts your evolution."
April 21, 2008 5:35 PM   Subscribe

Former 'poster boy for Scientology,' Jason Beghe, OTV, Class V auditor, and seasoned character actor speaks out in a two hour interview about his experience as a celebrity in the CoS.

A week ago Mark Bunker, affectionately known as Wise Beard Man to the Anonymous movement, posted a teaser video on YouTube to an interview he conducted with character actor Jason Beghe (Monkey Shines, Thelma & Louise, numerous TV appearances) about his experience . Though he's not a household name, the move was seen as a major win by critics, since so far Jason is the highest-profile ex-scienotologist to come forward as a critic of the organization.

The teaser video was seen nearly 600,000 times before the video was abruptly taken down and Bunker's account was supsended by YouTube. YouTube claims Bunker's account was suspended due to two months-old DMCA complaints from Viacom regarding short Colbert Show clips that Bunker had posted on YouTube, and not due to any request by the Church of Scientology (tm).

Others, who have noticed Scientology's big adsense push on YouTube lately, are a bit skeptical of that claim.

Previously on Metafilter: Anon Protests : Seekrit Dox : Tom "Go to guns" Cruise
posted by brain cloud (37 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Currently on Beghe's Wikipedia entry:
"After leaving Scientology, Beghe contacted Andreas Heldal-Lund, founder of Operation Clambake, who convinced him to meet with Mark Bunker, a critic of Scientology known to the group Anonymous as 'wise beard man'. Heldal-Lund and Bunker went to Beghe's house, where Beghe participated in an interview about his experiences as a Scientologist. Bunker published a 3-minute portion of the 3-hour interview to YouTube in mid-April 2008, and in the video Beghe calls Scientology 'very dangerous for your spiritual, psychological, mental, emotional health and evolution'.

The video was taken down from YouTube on April 17, 2008 but was reposted by multiple other YouTube users shortly thereafter. By April 18, 2008, at least 45 users had reposted the video interview using their own YouTube accounts. Bunker's account was also cancelled on April 17, and he told FOX News that he thought this was due to copyright issues with previous videos he had uploaded. Bunker said that those issues had been resolved, and that YouTube should have given him time to prove that before pulling the Jason Beghe interview. Bunker believes that YouTube removed the Beghe interview after receiving pressure from Scientology. A representative for YouTube told FOX News 'There’s no conspiracy here.', but would not say whether Scientology pressured YouTube to remove the video, saying: 'We do not comment on individual videos.'

On April 21, 2008 Mark Bunker posted the video footage of the entire interview with Jason Beghe; as Bunker's YouTube account was suspended, the full interview footage was instead hosted on Vimeo and Blip.tv."
posted by ericb at 5:42 PM on April 21, 2008


Others, who have noticed Scientology's big adsense push on YouTube lately...

And elsewhere online, as per this recent MetaTalk thread: MetaFilter ad links to Scientology site.
posted by ericb at 5:44 PM on April 21, 2008


Well this will cause some pants-shitting at SeaOrg HQ. I wonder what kinds of plans they have in place for "celebrity defections"?
posted by Avenger at 5:48 PM on April 21, 2008


A representative for YouTube told FOX News 'There’s no conspiracy here.', but would not say whether Scientology pressured YouTube to remove the video, saying: 'We do not comment on individual videos.'

That would be a yes, then.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:48 PM on April 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


Oops, forgot to include in my post - the whole shenanigans neatly distilled in this Gawker post.
posted by brain cloud at 5:50 PM on April 21, 2008


I wonder what kinds of plans they have in place for "celebrity defections"?

I think it's called "Fair Game".
posted by cosmonik at 5:53 PM on April 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Scientology's big adsense push on YouTube

Presumably this was after the "every video is a rickroll" stunt....
posted by DU at 6:02 PM on April 21, 2008


Theta trap?
posted by mr_roboto at 6:13 PM on April 21, 2008


I read this and it really wasn't all that interesting, sadly. The details provided about the cult are minimal, it actually makes Scientology sound like a bit of scam but nothing too dangerous or worrisome. Maybe I was just expecting some really juicy stuff that isn't there.
posted by cell divide at 6:14 PM on April 21, 2008


Theta trap.
posted by kuatto at 6:20 PM on April 21, 2008


I find this information leaving me......unfulfilled. In a good way.
posted by Senator at 6:31 PM on April 21, 2008


No, the juicy stuff is all right here.
posted by neckro23 at 6:33 PM on April 21, 2008


I dont see the problem - scientology is an attention parasite and the less we give it the sooner it will go away. I say take their advertising money and let their ads sit there festering and rotting. No one here is stupid enough to click on it, right?
Right??
posted by mannequito at 6:52 PM on April 21, 2008


haha sorry I got thread-confused there; thought I was still on the advertising discussion!
posted by mannequito at 6:53 PM on April 21, 2008


re: neckro23's juicy stuff.

Wow. Parsing through all that, I had no idea that Scientology relied on quizes from Cosmo and MySpace as a way of analyzing their members.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:53 PM on April 21, 2008


scientology is an attention parasite and the less we give it the sooner it will go away.

The problem is that when you don't pay attention to Scientology, it's able to get on with the intimidating people and trying to kill them and ruining their lives much more easily.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:57 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


What I want to know is, what are Jason Beghe's crimes? What's he so afraid of, what has he done?
posted by Meatbomb at 7:19 PM on April 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


But if you DO click on the Scientology ads, isn't that when Google (and more importantly the individual websites) get paid BY Scientology? So wouldn't a campaign to encourage clicking on Scientology Ads on Anti-Scientology websites actually channel money AWAY from the C.O.S. and TO their detractors? Or isn't that the way Google Adsense works anymore?
posted by wendell at 7:34 PM on April 21, 2008


i have an operating thetan. in my pants.
posted by quonsar at 8:09 PM on April 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


Someone stupid enough to get sucked into Scientology still isn't interesting when he comes out the other end, either.
posted by mrnutty at 8:10 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Someone stupid enough to get sucked into Scientology still isn't interesting when he comes out the other end, either.

I could only take about five minutes of it. Dude loves to hear himself talk.

The kind of empty, but what passes as "smart sounding," introspective stuff he was spouting was eerily reminiscent of the famous Tom Cruise P.R. video for the Church of Scientology.
posted by jayder at 8:23 PM on April 21, 2008


I'm confused, brain cloud; in your post you seem to suggest that there is a link between Scientology's advertising on Google and YouTube (a Google property) pulling the critical video. But the RadarOnline post you linked doesn't suggest any such connection. Is there some other reason you think there would be?

(I used to work at Google as an engineer in the advertising part of the company. While I know nothing at all about this specific case, I feel pretty confident that Google would not let any advertiser pressure Youtube into removing video on the strength of the ad business.)
posted by Nelson at 8:32 PM on April 21, 2008


i have an operating thetan. in my pants.

then maybe you should clear your pants or something
posted by Mikey-San at 8:33 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


It sounds like I'm the only one, but I find him oddly charming in this interview. In kind of a trying too hard kind of way.
posted by emperor.seamus at 9:08 PM on April 21, 2008


Also, it's really interesting seeing how he's still partly stuck in the mindset, the language he uses is still definitely scientology speak, it's interesting to see the distinction between when he's deliberately doing it to prove a point and when it just sort of slips out.
posted by emperor.seamus at 9:11 PM on April 21, 2008


He sounds great when other people are writing his words for him, but kind of empty in this interview.
posted by Huck500 at 9:11 PM on April 21, 2008


well it seems at least two of us like him. I thoroughly enjoyed that and will probably watch it again.
posted by dawson at 9:25 PM on April 21, 2008


I think what's interesting about this video is that he had ponied up an amazing amount of time, energy, and money into a belief system he later found out to be false. What the video really shows is him in the midst of completely rebuilding his identity from the ground up, complete with a lot of long winded, existential "Who am I" sort of monologues, and weirdly out of place, side-track angry rants.

I sounded a lot like him for a couple of years when I stopped going to church after being a lifelong member (and to the friends who had to listen to me then, I'm so sorry.) Here's to hoping he finds what he's looking for.

(Although, I'm secretly unhappy at the dearth of dirty laundry in this interview.)
posted by coiled at 10:13 PM on April 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Is there a transcript somewhere? I don't have two hours to waste on the Church of Scientology.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:38 PM on April 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


He bought into it so fully and quickly that there is not much of a story to hear. The guy is a gullible moron and a flighty actor who desperately wanted to feel special. That's all there is to it.
posted by autodidact at 6:11 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I work for Scientologists, although their business is completely unrelated to Scientology. It's very interesting to hear the examples of Orgspeak that I had never identified as such. I have nothing but compassion for this man -- he says right out that he had always felt empty, always wondered who he was, and that Scientology gave him the answers he was looking for, if only for a time (and a hefty!! fee).

Cults don't prosper because of those of us who feel comfortable in our skins. I don't think it's easy to dismiss this guy or his experience -- too many people out there are rudderless, and the CoS is only too happy to steer their ship.
posted by chihiro at 8:42 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I dont see the problem - scientology is an attention parasite and the less we give it the sooner it will go away.

That's absurd. Scientology is perfectly capable of keeping itself going, through, you know advertising and marketing. If no one criticized it, the only thing that would happen would be for it to be able to present itself to the world however it pleases. Attacks and ridicule are what keep it from being more popular.
posted by delmoi at 10:33 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


First the guy isn't stupid, and neither are most people who get conned. Cons play to your emotions in an unethical way, and Scientology is the kind of con that is most insidious because it feeds off virtues. It attracts people who seek understanding and traps those that are willing to trust in other people. This guy had a desire for self-actualization, and didn't feel like he was doing it on his own. The people he trusted told him that Scientology was the way.

In fact I think his smarts got him out. He never lost his ability to rationally appraise his situation. He explains he was initially sold because the introduced him to meditation. This was useful, and seemed to verify their claims. While it took 10 years, he was smart enough to realize that the Scientologist had little else to offer. He was also smart enough to not cut-off all of his outside sources of support, which Scientology encourages.
posted by betaray at 11:46 AM on April 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


then maybe you should clear your pants or something

CLEAR = MURDER!

Brought to you by the Council for Pro-Thetan-Life.

posted by quin at 2:28 PM on April 22, 2008


then maybe you should clear your pants or something

Didn't he already try that a few weeks ago on a plane next to some sleeping woman?
posted by bwg at 5:04 PM on April 22, 2008


Class V auditor

Class B actor

Just kidding. Monkey Shines is more entertaining than you'd think. Plus, he looks like a sexier Charles Grodin. That's right, like Charles Grodin, but even sexier.
posted by Locative at 12:38 AM on April 23, 2008


Last night on ABC's Nightline: Niece of Scientology Leader Shares Her Story. Part 1, Part 2 & her website ExScientologyKids.com.
posted by scalefree at 9:45 AM on April 25, 2008


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