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September 10, 2012

ABC News yanks 20/20 investigation of Tom Cruise and Scientology

ABC News yanks 20/20 investigation of Tom Cruise and Scientology

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Monday, September 10, 2012

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An investigation into Scientology and Tom Cruise which was set to air this past Friday on the American television program 20/20 was removed from broadcast by ABC News. This is not the first time that ABC News has pulled an investigation into Scientology from airing on 20/20.

ABC News headquarters in New York City, New York. (2008)
Image: Jim.henderson.

A press release published by ABC on Thursday announced the scheduled airing of the investigation. It described the program as “an in-depth look” by Elizabeth Vargas into the recent report on Tom Cruise and Scientology by journalist Maureen Orth for Vanity Fair in its October 2012 publication.

An analysis of the situation by Editor-in-Chief Tony Ortega of The Village Voice pointed out that in 2008, actor and former Scientologist Jason Beghe was interviewed by Elizabeth Vargas after he had flown to New York. Beghe recounted to Vargas his experiences within Scientology and his decision to cease activity in the organization.

However, this interview by Vargas was never shown on ABC.

Cquote1.svg ABC caved again, and this time much more publicly. Cquote2.svg

Editor-in-Chief Tony Ortega, The Village Voice

Ortega noted, “Then, Friday night, ABC caved again, and this time much more publicly.” He highlighted a television screenshot which displays clearly the description given by ABC for the 20/20 program scheduled for Friday: “20/20. New. ‘Lovestyles of the Rich and Famous; The Camera Never Lies’ Journalist Maureen Orth discusses her recent article in Vanity Fair on Scientology and actor Tom Cruise; celebrity”.

According to Ortega, this was to be a significant investigation into Scientology. It was going to cover topics including the recent divorce of actress Katie Holmes from Tom Cruise, the role of minors within the Scientology organization, material on Scientology’s chief David Miscavige, and controversy regarding the elite Scientology group known as the Sea Org. Ortega was himself interviewed as part of the investigation, which he was told would comprise an hour-long broadcast.

Cquote1.svg We just got word that both ABC 20/20 & Nightline have pulled the TV shows that were going to air tonight. Cquote2.svg

—Marc Headley

In addition to Ortega, former Scientologists Marc Headley and his wife Claire were interviewed by ABC News for the 20/20 piece which they were informed would be complemented by a news segment on Nightline. Claire told the camera of her two mandatory abortions she experienced while a member of the Sea Org in Scientology; Ortega reported that this interview moved the ABC television crew to tears.

Marc Headley confirmed that he had learned of the ABC News decision. In a post Friday to a legal fund webpage he set up to support his family with litigation costs from Scientology, he commented: “We just got word that both ABC 20/20 & Nightline have pulled the TV shows that were going to air tonight. It appears that someone at OSA is trying to sandbag the downstats over the next few weeks.” OSA is an abbreviation for the Office of Special Affairs — a department within Scientology which has been compared to an intelligence agency that handles legal affairs and public relations. Downstat refers to a negative impact on statistics gathered by Scientology members of the Sea Org due to critical investigations of the organization by the media.



Related news

  • “Women reveal accounts of forced abortion in Scientology” — Wikinews, June 15, 2010
  • “Blown for Good author discusses life inside international headquarters of Scientology” — Wikinews, November 13, 2009
  • “YouTube accounts of Scientology critics suspended” — Wikinews, April 18, 2008

Sister links

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Office of Special Affairs
  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg List of Guardian’s Office operations
  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Operation Freakout

Sources

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January 29, 2007

Beckham woos US as Disney Prince

Beckham woos US as Disney Prince – Wikinews, the free news source

Beckham woos US as Disney Prince

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Monday, January 29, 2007

David Beckham at Annie Leibovitz’s Disney photo shoot in Spain

David Beckham has been portrayed as a fairytale prince as part of a new promotion for Disney.

The footballer took on the role of Prince Philip from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty in photographs for a new advertising campaign for the company. In the specially commissioned shots, Beckham is shown in battle with a fire-breathing dragon.

The pictures were taken by America’s foremost celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz, in the former England captain’s current home of Spain, where he plays for football club Real Madrid.

Beckham described the experience as unique, saying: “I am the Prince and I am sort of slaying a dragon which is something I’ve never done before, obviously, and it’s a very exciting project.

“When I was called about it and asked to do it, I was very honoured and really looking forward to it especially with Annie doing the pictures. I think that she always takes great pictures of everybody and she’s always taken great pictures of me.”

The portrait was taken months before Beckham signed his multi-million deal with football club LA Galaxy. It is part of an advertising campaign that will be seen across America. The publicity has added further frenzy to Beckham’s high-profile arrival to the country, which is already being compared to that of the Beatles.

Leibovitz believes the 31-year-old footballer will grace Hollywood with more than just sporting skills.

“I think he would like to act and it was sort of a stepping-stone to that and I think he would actually make a great actor. He took it very seriously and when he wielded the sword on the horse, he really was very very serious about it and I love that.”

Although it is not clear what else may be in the Hollywood pipeline for David and Victoria Beckham, Los Angeles and the United States seem to have already embraced the celebrity pair. Waxworks of the couple have been unveiled at Madame Tussaud’s in New York, the Beckham’s have launched their own perfume and they recently acquired newly-wed Hollywood stars Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes as very close friends.

Sources

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