Paul Haggis might not be writing a book about Scientology, but he might not need to after Lawrence Wright's 26-page story in the New Yorker about the director and his decades-long relationship with the religion.
It took us nearly a day to find the time to read the thing, so we won't bother to recap all the details at this point. (Vulture has a good Cliffs Notes version here.)
There's a lot of grist on Haggis, the church, founder L. Ron Hubbard, the religion's celebrity roots and everything else Scientology. The piece details Haggis' attraction to the religion and why he didn't question it for more than three decades (it was a combination of laziness and fear; he also assumed that others higher up than he had tested theories he didn't test).
There are details about celebrities including Tom Cruise and John Travolta; in one particularly bizarre story (denied by the actor), Travolta healed a wound on Marlon Brando's leg at a dinner party using Scientology principles.
But the three juiciest -- and by far the most charged -- allegations have nothing to do with the Haggis aspects of the story. They can be boiled down to three items:
a) That current church head David Miscavige has physically abused adherents
b) That the church engages in human trafficking and under- or unpaid labor, primarily through its Sea Org program at its Gold Base facility in Southern California
c) That the FBI is investigating the organization for alleged trafficking and child-labor violations
In a statement Tuesday, Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis responded to the piece, calling it a "stale article containing nothing but rehashed unfounded allegations" and citing another journalist's account that the FBI has closed the investigation into child labor law violations and human trafficking.