The revelation that the Will Smith-funded New Village Learning Academy will offer a uniquely Hubbardian curriculum came as little surprise to us last May, back when the star couldn't go a week without some new Scientology-related scandal consuming his painstakingly OT-free public persona. Finally, after taking a summer off, the NVLA controversy crept back into view last night when Smith attended the premiere for Lakeview Terrace, which he co-produced; despite his bodyguard's best efforts at suppertime interference, Smith confronted the issue head-on with Fox gossip Roger Friedman:
I told him I’d heard he’d given a press conference to the group called Anonymous, which protests Scientology.
“Not exactly a press conference, but I did talk to them,” he said. Mind you, Will had just gone to the buffet and was carrying a plate of food. [...] So, what’s the story? Is Will a Scientologist? “I am not,” he told me. The school is using one of Scientology's teaching tools, but Will said, “You can take different parts of things you like and put them all together.” This is similar to what he told the Anonymous people (who remain, I presume, unknown). In their recent press release, the group said, "We appreciate Will's interest in our efforts and his openness in speaking with us directly. It shows his concern both as a parent and educator. ... We will be keeping an eye on the situation to make sure that NVLA lives up to the goals Will Smith has for it, which include keeping the Church of Scientology out of the classrooms."
OK, fine — if it's good enough for Anonymous, then it's good enough for us. Come to think of it, "study technology" just sounds like a fancy euphemism for the basics underwriting "No Child Left Behind." We probably would have attributed it to "L.R. Hubbard" ourselves, given the choice.