Home Uncategorized Barbara Walters Defends Scientology, Maybe Hoping to Get Tom Cruise Interview

Okay, I love old people. But maybe it’s time for Barbara Walters to wrap it up. Why wait til next May? She defended Scientology’s educational system on The View today. Sherri Shepherd jumps right in, and Barbara continues. Why? Radaronline.com, which picked this up originally, surmises Barbara is trying to get some kind of interview with Tom Cruise. If she really sticks to this, Walters is having her own Nixonian meltdown. When Shepherd says “Didn’t we have someone on who said she [had a bad time with with Scientology] Walters responds, “I’m not talking about that aspect of Scientology.” No, she’s only interested in the aspect that deals with celebrity interviews. Radar got Jenna Mascavige Hill to criticize Walter’s stand. www.radaronline.com. Frankly, I’m horrified. But this Walters showing her truest self. Watch the clip. Shepherd is very deft when dealing with this ancient mariner.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
26 replies to this post
  1. To be fair, it was Tony Ortega, not Radar, who got the Jenna Miscavige Hill response to Ms. Walters’ loopy defense of the indefensible. Thanks for keeping the cult’s feet to the fire, sir!

  2. Why are you refusing all comments on this piece? Can’t stand the heat from REAL journalists like Tony Ortega, eh? Could it be that you are RESTRICTING FREE SPEECH? Shame on you!

  3. What do I think? I think you should give credit to Tony Ortega for breaking this story. Jenna Miscavige Hill sent her message to Barbara Walters to Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker and he published it for her. Radaronline based their story on Tony Ortega’s story. Give credit where credit is due.

  4. There is a slight error in your article. Jenna Miscavige Hill spoke with Tony Ortega who posted it on his blog, The Underground Bunker. I am pleased you picked up the story and give it more publicity. TY for that. Please give credit where credit is due. (By the way, you have misspelled Jenna’s surname.)

  5. I think Radar got their info from Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker site. Happy to be corrected if I’m wrong. I also think Barbara Walters should be made to sit down with Jenna and any other person unfortunate enough to have been a child in Scientology, and actually *listen* to them.

  6. At the very least, if she was sincere in her comments and not just fishing for an interview, she demonstrated appalling research skills. You don’t have to do much investigation on Scientology schools, educational ‘study tech,’ or attitude towards education to know she was flat out wrong. If she wants to make herself appear to be a pandering fool in order to get celebrity friends that’s her business. But when she publicly endorses something that has hurt so many people , she owes a public apology.

  7. RadarOnline did not give Jenna Miscavige Hill the ability to criticize BW. It was Tony Ortega, and his blog. Those of us who are readers of his blog appreciate you picking up the story, and publicizing it. TY for that. BUT please give credit where credit is due.

  8. Roger, I could not agree with you more. What kind of softball interview would that be if she couldn’t even ask him the important questions about his life, Scientology, etc? After all, despite the fact that Cruise is a likable guy in many eyes, he is still the face of and in great support of a criminal organization. At this point, it is unconscionable that he has not only not distanced himself from the human rights abuses of this “church” but that has also not spoken out against them. I have lost a great deal of respect for the man.

    Also, may I respectfully request you please give credit where credit is due. Radar did not get Jenna Hill, the niece of David Miscavige (the leader of Scientology and best man at Cruise’s wedding to Katie Holmes), to do anything. Tony Ortega and The Underground Bunker was the source http://tonyortega.org/2013/09/20/jenna-hill-responds-to-barbara-walters-on-scientology-education/

    That’s where Radar got the scoop and they did give the proper credit. You may have missed it.

  9. Barbara Walters should be ashamed of herself for not getting to the root of the real story. If she were a real journalist, she would expose the cult and its criminal activity. Scientology and its crimes and human rights abuses are a much, much bigger story that tiny tom cruise and his massive “big being” ego. If Barbara bothered to do a little investigative journalism, she would find in scientology everything from child slavery (yes, many scientology kids are removed from school to work full time) to coerced abortions to murder, money laundering, fraud and forbidding families members to see one another or have any sort of contact whatsoever. L. Ron Hubbard’s space alien cult of Xenu the galactic overlord is not a religion, it is a criminal enterprise that pays no taxes and cries “religious bigot!” whenever someone attempts to expose it. Barbara, do five minutes of Googling. Even my ancient 97-year-old grandma and my innocent 9-year-old son know scientology is a cult and a scam. Get with it, Babs. Sheesh.

  10. Jeez, Roger, we are all aging, even you. There’s reporting about entertainment and them there is just be nasty and judgemental. I would think after all YOUR years in the business you would know the difference.

  11. Much ado about nothing. If Walters wants to interview Cruise, just ask him. If yes, fine. If no, move on to someone else. Nobody is that important anymore. By the way, you’re not getting any younger either, Roger, so enough with the ‘old people’ references. As the song goes, ‘We all lose our charms in the end’ (Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend). When your bosses decide to pack you off to the nearest rest home, make sure you’ve got a Harry Winston rock pile stashed away. “Square cut or pear shaped
    These rocks don’t lose their shape
    Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”

  12. Jenna Miscavige:

    “With all due respect, saying that Scientology has a very good education system is an incredibly ignorant and irresponsible thing to say on your platform and for that reason I feel that I have to say something about it.

    Without getting into the details of my childhood and the dangers of Scientology’s education system I will say this.

    The leader of Scientology, Tom Cruise’s best man, my uncle David Miscavige, is a high school dropout. What does that say about the value Scientology puts on education? Is this not what Jaden Smith is advocating?

    As Sherri Shepherd rightly pointed out, I myself was born into Scientology. And instead of being properly educated, I was indoctrinated into Scientology and made to do heavy labor daily from the age of six years old. I have no high school education, and college was never even a vague possibility for me until I escaped.

    Scientology values its “educational system” because of its ability to recruit new members into its ranks. I’m guessing it worked for Jaden Smith.

    I don’t know what propaganda you have seen or what your celebrity advocate friends have told you, but it’s time to look a little deeper. If you don’t want to know the truth (which I gather is the case from you saying you “don’t want to talk about Scientology”) then please refrain from praising a system you clearly know nothing about.

    Although Scientology’s educational system is one of its most disconcerting aspects because it involves children, it is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Scientology’s deception and abuse.”


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