"The Profit," directed by myself and produced by Patricia Greenway
29 Jan 2001
Peter Alexander

Title: The Profit: Scientology and Art
Author: kngpeter@aol.com (Kng Peter)

According to L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology founder and sole guru of it's GroupThink, the artists of society are it's dream makers, blazing a pathway for the rest of mankind, and are to be treasured and valued for their contribution. In practice, Scientology treats artists in a different fashion than advertised, as reflected in their actions against Courage Productions film "The Profit" over the last few months.

"The Profit," directed by myself and produced by Patricia Greenway, was filmed in the Tampa Bay area this summer. I can't tell you a lot about the film just yet except to say that some of the raw footage is amongst the most powerful and beautiful ever filmed. If you are interested, take a look at the web site (currently under construction) at www.theprofit.org. In any event, the film, in the universal opinion of those who have seen the dailies, appears to be a work of fine art.

I should also point out that it is a work of art produced and directed by two people, who in their spare time, are board members of the Lisa McPherson Trust, a watchdog group over the Scientologists.

Needless to say, the Scientologist hate Patricia and I and so, without ever actually knowing what the film we were making was about, the Scientologists attacked us.

They began on August 31, appearing at our filming location, passing out fliers to cast, crew members which intimated (they don't have the guts to come out and say anything-they just sneakily imply) that Patricia and I were neo-Nazis and Klu Klux Klan members. Our crew immediately brought us these fliers, and we all had a good laugh since I am half-Jewish. One of my friends pointed out that this made me the one and only Hebrew Knight of the Klu Klux Klan!

Within a few days the Scientologists sent no less than seven private investigators to spy upon us at another location. Some succeeded in video taping our cast while we filmed a scene on a dock. Our crew mooned them in response.

The Scientologists then began to take down the license numbers of our cast and crew, and followed several single women (brave souls these Scientologists) to their homes, attempting to intimidate them. The Scientologists found, to their chagrin, that even employees we had terminated for cause remained loyal to us. One such young lady testified in court that she considered the Scientologists visit to be a threat, and that she was frightened by them, but that since she knew about the evil of this group (not by her connection with us, but because they had previously destroyed a friend of hers) she was well prepared to deal with them.

Several days later the Scientologists showed up at our soundstage and gave a video tape to our crew members. The tape was labeled "seeing this tape could cost you your job!" Of course, our film crew immediately brought us this tape, which we all watched together, and again we enjoyed a good laugh (it included scenes of Patricia and I picketing the cult). The general consensus amongst the crew was that Patricia and I were much too kind to the Scientologists, and that we should step up the action!

Finally, one evening the Scientologists showed up at a motel where we were filming. A couple of local boys--big old rednecks with beers in their hands--said they would dearly love to go kick the Scientologists ass. (We restrained them.) At the same time, one of the members of our crew (who happens to be gay) mooned the Scientologists again, while he wore a t-shirt which said (on one side) "Xenu is my lover!" and (on the other side) "Save the body thetans." I marveled at the ability of this strange cult to bring together such disparate elements as beer totin' Good Old Boys and Gay Activists. Maybe there is some value to this cult after all, as they truly seem to have a unique power to create a Rainbow Coalition of just about every type of good natured person arrayed against them?

And then, as suddenly as they appeared, the Scientologists disappeared.

Then, just as suddenly, out of town agitators for the IATSE (stage hands) union showed up and threw up an illegal "organizing" picket line. (This is against the National Labor Relations Board rules.) Without ever once asking for a meeting with us, they struck our non-Union film and refused to let their (twelve) union members cross the picket line. Nine of the twelve union members were heartbroken, because they had all checked with their union prior to the start of filming, and had been given permission to work on our non-Union film. Some came to us in tears, but they all said they had to quit or they would never be allowed to work again at their chosen profession.

We wondered if there was a connection between the sudden union attack and the withdrawal of the Scientologists? We spoke to one reporter who believed that there might be such a connection. He indicated that he had evidence that a top union leader was connected to the Cleveland Mafia. He also said that he had evidence that one of the Scientology law firms had also represented a Mafia family, and that this might be the connection. We have no way of knowing whether this is true, because we try to spend our time creating art, and not digging up dirt on people, but it's an interesting idea.

In any event, the strike failed to stop the film, and we quickly resumed shooting after replacing the union crew members.

Towards the end of the filming, a local news reporter, Kelly Swope did a TV news piece on the strange doings of the Scientologists and the union. After airing the news piece, Kelly reported to us that she was continually followed by Scientology PI's and that the cult had bombarded her news editor with propaganda--all to no effect.

The Scientologists failed to stop the film from being shot, but after filming was complete they stooped to even lower, slimier tactics. An "anonymous" party sent our insurance carrier a letter, indicating that they were part of a "religion" which would create trouble for the insurance company. This letter was anonymous, because-of course-it is both a violation of Florida insurance regulations and a tort to interfere with or threaten a carrier to drop a client. The cult then followed up this anonymous letter with a package of public record court information-again targeted at the insurance company and designed to induce our carrier to drop us. Of course, neither the anonymous letter nor the information packet succeeded in it's goal.

Meanwhile, the "Foundation for Religious Tolerance"--a Scientology front group-- continued to contact our former crew members, attempting to get someone to gripe about their treatment during their employment with us. Naturally, several members of our crew (all of them interestingly, union people who had been forced to quit) contacted us after turning away the Scientologists empty handed.

The Scientologists also visited the owners of several locations at which we had filmed, trying to develop bad blood between us and the property owners. Again, they failed totally, as several property owners reported their actions to us.

While their attempts to stop "The Profit" so far appear to be the flat-footed, comic opera antics of a bunch of clowns, we believe that the more the Scientologists fail, the more desperately they will try to destroy us. As time goes by the attacks will become more desperate, more vicious, and more evil. By the time we are done, the true face of Scientology will be revealed: an evil cult that hates artists, and indeed, hates all those who practice free, creative expression.

I'll keep you posted on all this as we go: it should get very, very interesting.

Peter Alexander


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