The Church of Scientology scored another victory on Google's YouTube, where administrators suspended the account of the church critic who recently posted a video interview with actor and former Scientologist Jason Beghe. The effect of the suspension is to break embedded copies of the video on sites like Gawker and to help muffle Beghe's criticism of the cult as financially and emotionally exploitive. At the moment, one other copy of the interview exists on YouTube, uploaded yesterday, but it's unclear how long that copy will live. After the jump, Gawker's own copy of the Beghe video, a video posted to YouTube about the account suspension, and comments from a tipster who thinks the suspension will be as temporary as YouTube's January yanking of Tom Cruise's Scientology indoctrination video.
Scientology critic and Xenu TV founder Mark Bunker's "xenutv1" account is no longer accessible on YouTube, and that's because it was suspended by the video-sharing service, according to an email tipster and to this slightly creepy video posted to YouTube under the account "xenutruth9:"
The email tipster wrote:
Beghe is believed to be the first celebrity Scientologist to go public with criticism of the church. The three-minute video that's been made public was part of a longer interview shot by Scientology critics Andreas Heldal-Lund and Bunker, according to the Village Voice. "Scientology is destructive and a ripoff and... is very, very dangerous for your spiritual, psychological, mental [and] emotional health and evolution," Beghe said at the start of the video. "I think it stunts your evolution."
In his subsequent interview with the Voice, Beghe went on to say he is trying to educate other people about Scientology. Beghe estimated he spent close to $1 million on Scientology, including $1,000 per hour on "auditing" sessions that lasted for weeks and were needed to move up the church hierarchy, where the actor eventually reached "OT V."
Beghe also detailed the role of celebrities like Cruise in the church. He said Scientologists can clear their record of negative marks by recruiting a celebrity and that he came to believe many celebrities were in the church mainly for the perks. At the same time, many Scientologists gossip about celebrities using information from supposedly confidential auditing sessions, which Beghe said were secretly videotaped.
In the video below - the one yanked from YouTube - Beghe says that "the further up the [church hierarchy] you go, the worse you get," losing your inner self and developing a false sense of elation. This description, and subsequent imitation, of upper-level Scientologists bears more than passing resemblance to Cruise, alleged to be the church's defacto second-in-command.
YouTube has to follow certain protocols when handling allegations of copyright infringement in order to maintain internet "safe harbor" protection under modern copyright law. As such, observers tended to see its temporary removal of the Cruise Scientology recruiting video earlier this year as a necessary legal maneuver rather than censorship or harmful clumsiness.
It's harder to see where YouTube is coming from with this account suspension. The owner of the account is one of the two producers of the video, so a copyright claim seems implausible.