PAUL HAGGIS REACTS TO SCIENTOLOGY STORY
You couldn’t escape it if you tried. Where ever you went, whoever you talked to, and whenever you were on Twitter and/or Facebook for the last few weeks, The New Yorker piece on Paul Haggis and the inner workings of Scientology has been the topic of discussion.
The USA Today asked Haggis about the story at a Vanity Fair Oscar party Tuesday night and the Oscar-winning director says he stands by it.
Haggis, who was a member of the Church of Scientology for over 30 years, disbanded from the religion in 2009 after the church refused to publicly denounce Proposition 8 (we learn in the piece that one of his daughters is gay). The author of the piece, Lawrence Wright, then takes us inside the church through Haggis’ eyes to reveal bizarre behavior and questionable methods by the church’s top brass on its members leading Haggis at the end of the story to say “I was in a cult for thirty-four years.”
In the USA Today story, Haggis admits he didn’t intend for The New Yorker piece to be about Scientology.
“I didn’t mean to do it,” he said. “It was an accident. (Writer) Larry Wright calls me, and I’m editing my movie, and they said they want to do a profile of me in The New Yorker. And I go ‘Oh, me? A profile? The New Yorker? Oh, OK.’ I don’t even think it’s about Scientology. So he interviews me for a day and at the end of the day he says, ‘So, Scientology.’ And I go, ‘Oh that’s what this is about.’ ”
Haggis agreed to a short question-and-answer session. “So I talk to him for a half an hour, I say a few things that worked for me, a few things that didn’t work for me or upset me. And he said, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow.’ I said, ‘Tomorrow?’ ” Haggis’ voice feigns surprise. “How long are you going to take on this? And he said, ‘I don’t know, seven, eight, 10 months.’ And he did.”
Haggis says he also got a call from his daughters.
“Two of my daughters called me after the article (came out), because they said a couple of things (in the article) were hard to hear,” said Haggis. The article questions basic tenets of Scientology, describes the religion’s leadership and dives into Haggis’ personal history as an emotionally distant father.
“I told them: ‘Yeah, it was really hard to read those things, but it was the truth. And never be afraid to speak the truth.’ So I tried to teach my kids that — so I should learn that myself.”