MOL

California

Scientologists hold a ‘blackmail file’ on John Travolta to stop him leaving the faith, which includes ‘damaging material’ from his sessions with auditors at the church, it has been claimed.

A documentary investigating the religion and its secret California-based headquarters features a number of allegations about how members are threatened and tortured in prison-style camps and cut off from their family if they decide to leave Scientology.

Others belonging to the most senior order of the faith have been forced to play musical chairs to the sound of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody in a fight to secure a chair to stay in the church, it was claimed. The allegations featured in ‘Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief’, a documentary shown on HBO in America on Sunday evening.  The claims have been disputed by the Church of Scientology who has branded those who featured in the show - many former senior members - as ‘admitted’ liars and perjurers and ‘professional anti-Scientologists.’ Directed by Alex Gibney, Going Clear aimed to expose the secrets behind the mysterious faith followed by thousands of people including film stars John Travolta and Tom Cruise. It included interviews with former senior members and officials who made explosive claims about punishments endured by members and how followers have been manipulated.  These included descriptions of a ‘prison camp’, revealed by former member Sylvia ‘Spanky’ Taylor. People put into this camp are forced to do around 30 hours of hard labour, broken up by three hour rest breaks.  Spanky was once the point of contact between the Church and Travolta and said she was sent to this ‘prison camp’, known as the Rehabilitation Project Force which, she claims, is where members are ‘reindoctrinated.’

The documentary also claimed Scientology chiefs hold a ‘black PR package’ on Travolta, with all the disclosures he made during auditing sessions. During these sessions a trained auditor asked pointed questions such as ‘What are you willing for me to talk to others about?’

Travolta is said to have requested that his sessions were not filmed, but secret cameras were allegedly installed anyway.

As well as the claims about Travolta, former senior members of the faith told documentary makers about the various forms of punishment meted out by leaders.