Last week, at a ceremony in Beverly Hills, the Simon Wiesenthal Center gave Tom Cruise its annual Humanitarian Award. As we pointed out earlier, this did not go down well with people who wondered why such a famous pro-justice organization would give an award to a man almost synonymous with Scientology, a “church” that splits up families, relies on menial labor conducted under harsh conditions, and that is being investigated by the FBI, we hear, for those practices. One of the people stunned by the decision of the Simon Wiesenthal Center is Paulette Cooper, a Holocaust survivor and perhaps the most well known investigator of Scientology.
Her 1971 book, The Scandal of Scientology, was among the first to expose the organization’s bizarre beliefs and toxic practices. For this, she was the subject of an outrageous campaign of payback by Scientology. One plot, to get her arrested for issuing bomb threats that she didn’t make, was only uncovered when federal agents raided Scientology’s offices in 1977 and found evidence of the scheme against Cooper. Google her name for more details on the incredible harassment she survived. Earlier today, she sent me this statement she wanted made public. — Tony Ortega
On May 5th, Scientologist Tom Cruise was given a Humanitarian Award in LA by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Whaaatt?? Who will they award next? Mel Gibson for his anti-Semitic rants? Jews for Jesus for their great job converting Jews?
As a survivor of the Holocaust, and the author of a book titled The Scandal of Scientology — and subsequently the victim of a 15-year campaign by Scientology to try to destroy me for speaking out against them — I am shocked. How can a (Jewish) human rights organization, like SWC — supposedly dedicated to education about the Holocaust — give such an award in good conscience?
In my work many years ago exposing Scientology, I saw so many Jewish (and non-Jewish) families bankrupted, and destroyed, as Scientology members cut off from their families and their religion. I also witnessed (and was victim of) their “Fair Game Policy,” stating that “Enemies of Scientology” can be ” tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.”
I know of another group that also believed their enemies could be destroyed. As a result, my mother and father and most of my family died in Auschwitz.
According to the Scientologists, Tom Cruise has disseminated Scientology’s teachings to 1.1 billion people. While that figure, like so many of theirs, is patently ridiculous, he has reached a lot of people. And that has given Scientology respectability, acceptability, and a following that does no good for the Jewish people.
I hope those contributing to the SWC reconsider their values, just as the Wiesenthal Center has obviously reconsidered theirs.
Paulette Cooper Noble
Author of The Scandal of Scientology
Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he’s been writing about Scientology at several publications. Among his other stories about L. Ron Hubbard’s organization:
The Larry Wollersheim Saga — Scientology Finally Pays For Its Fraud
The Tory Bezazian (Christman) Story — How the Internet Saved A Scientologist From Herself
The Jason Beghe Defection — A Scientology Celebrity Goes Rogue
The Paul Haggis Ultimatum — The ‘Crash’ Director Tells Scientology to Shove It
The Marc Headley Escape — ‘Tom Cruise Told Me to Talk to a Bottle’
The Jefferson Hawkins Stipulation — Scientology’s former PR genius comes clean
The Daniel Montalvo Double-Cross — Scientology lures a young defector into a trap
A Church Myth Debunked — Scientology and Proposition 8
Daniel Montalvo Strikes Back — Scientology Hit with Stunning Child-Labor Lawsuits
When Scientologists Attack — The Marty Rathbun Intimidation
A Scientologist Excommunicated — The Michael Fairman SP Declaration
The Richard Leiby Operation — Investigating a reporter’s divorce to shut him up
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 12, 2011