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scientologyThe Ex-Files is perhaps the latest critique of the Church of Scientology by ex-members themselves that was produced after the 2007 BBC Panaroma series, Scientology and Me, where reporter John Sweeney went to the US to investigate whether the church was becoming more mainstream. Sweeney’s programme gained controversy before and during filming due to unresolved differences on content and approach between his production team and church members who did not want detractors to be interviewed or included in the documentary. The scale of the controversy intensified when the church released a 40 second clip of video footage showing the segment of a screaming argument between John Sweeney and Scientologist Tommy Davis regarding Sweeney’s use of the word “cult” to describe the Church of Scientology. In the argument, Davis pushed Sweeney’s buttons that resulted in him losing his temper.
The interview that Sweeney is referring to is the conversation between him and critic Shawn Lonsdale. Despite the lobbying of British MPs by the Church of Scientology for the documentary to be scrapped, airing of Scientology and Me went ahead to garner the highest ratings for Panorama.

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