The Church of Scientology, the subject of a barrage of negative headlines in the last few weeks, is claiming that there really is no such thing as bad publicity.
The early months of 2008 have been tumultuous for the organisation, after prominent member and reported second-in-command Tom Cruise appeared on YouTube in a bizarre rant about the Church’s power and influence.
However, the group claims that, far from hindering their plans, the widespread publicity is actually aiding their recruitment and contact drive.
The Cruise video — in which the Top Gun star extols the virtues of the Church, saying that “[Scientologists] are the authorities on getting people off drugs, we are the authorities on the mind, we are the authorities on improving conditions, we can rehabilitate criminals, we can bring peace and unite cultures” — has been watched by millions of people worldwide on YouTube before it was pulled.
– Justice Latey, ruling in the High Court of London, quoted at What Judges Say About Scientology
Allegations have since been made that the Church had pressured YouTube’s owners Google in to removing the offending clip.
Despite this, however, the organisation has said that the coverage has contributed to unexpectedly high levels of interest in the organisation, particularly in its recruitment drive.
“These selective and out-of-context excerpts with the intent of creating both controversy and ridicule nevertheless resulted in people searching for and visiting Church of Scientology websites,” British Scientology spokesman Janet Laveau told The Guardian newspaper.
“Those wishing to find out the Church of Scientology’s views and to gain context of the video have the right to search official Church websites.”
Global anti-Scientology protests are planned for this Sunday, with groups expected to congregate in London, Los Angeles, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne.
Protestors claim that the group is a for-profit organisation and should lose its charitable tax exemption status.
Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, last week donated $10 million to the Church.