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:
You know that school Will Smith opened up in Calabasas? The one people are saying is a big front to indoctrinate children into the ways of Scientology? Well, we here at Defamer hate to pass judgment without at least a tiny bit of research. That's why I spent a few minutes skimming the New Village Academy's website. Surprisingly, there were no classes called "Worshiping Overlord Xenu" or "Releasing Your Inner Engram." But they do really stress building robots. In fact, the Educational Philosophy section of the site mentions robots no less than 4 times!
As we noted last month, the New Village Academy is a private school in Calabasas set to open its doors Sept. 3, founded by Will Smith and wife/appearances-upholder Jada Pinkett Smith. It has become a source of much controversy for having several Scientologists on its staff, who espouse a number of L. Ron Hubbard-advanced learning concepts in the curriculum: among them, the meaninglessly designated "study technology" programme for effective and complete child mind-absorption. The Smiths—still not public with their Scientology affiliations—claim to only be committed to creating "an ideal educational environment." But Carnegie Mellon University professor David S. Touretzky, who has dissected study technology like a rusty E-meter and found it to be about as useful, warns parents away from this particular learning institution, lest they want to find themselves helping with homework essays entitled, "What I Did on My Billion-Years of Servitude Vacation." From the LAT: