Hollywood’s Casual Endorsement of Hate Speech Sets a New Low

“Everybody knows…”

Is there any more destructive concept in the English language?

As the old saying goes, “A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.”

Photo by BCFC/Shutterstock.com

And in the age of social media and its neverending supernova of in-your-face content, who has time to actually vet the truth about something someone has said? If something gets repeated often enough, it becomes “true” because, well, “everybody knows that’s the story with [insert person or group’s name here].”

I was reminded of all this while trying to enjoy the 2023 Golden Globes. Having lived in Los Angeles for 20 years and having worked in the entertainment industry for much of that time, I understand fully the need to keep that kind of presentation entertaining and to feed social media’s ravenous desire for the next viral soundbite. So inevitably there are going to be jokes made at the expense of some of the world’s most well-known and powerful entertainers.

I have absolutely had it with Hollywood and the media’s unbelievably casual acceptance of outright hate speech.

But during this broadcast, the host made such a low, offensive and cheap jab at my church and my religion that there were audible gasps in the audience. This wasn’t a good-natured joshing of an individual, all in good fun. This was straight up, bigoted hate speech, parroting demonstrably false and inflammatory allegations made by someone who has built her entire career and identity around making up lies about Scientology.

Imagine what it’s like to watch something that should be lighthearted, innocuous fun, only to be suckerpunched with hate speech, directed at your church, your friends, your family, and your personal beliefs—hate speech that has no place in modern public discourse.

I can hear the critics now: “Lighten up.” “Award show hosts make fun of everyone.” “Don’t take this stuff so seriously.” Tell that to the members of my church who’ve been physically attacked and even killed as a direct result of this exact brand of bigoted speech targeting my church and my religion.

I’m not a snowflake. I don’t believe that words are violence. And I’m personally a free speech absolutist. I think you have the right to say whatever you want. But you should also be held accountable in the court of public opinion for the results, and you sure as hell shouldn’t be supported and used as a source for “legitimate” news stories that are supposed to be free of bias and bigotry.

We’ve experienced it firsthand and we can call B.S. the moment we hear or see it.

This five-minute video says it better than I ever could. It’s all laid out there in black and white. It takes a lot to get me angry these days, thanks in no small part to my 20 years of practicing Scientology. But I have absolutely had it with Hollywood and the media’s unbelievably casual acceptance of outright hate speech, provably false lies, and agenda-driven bigotry that surrounds coverage of my church.

If the Church of Scientology even remotely resembled what anti-Scientologists suggest, it would have never lasted this long, let alone be thriving and expanding like never before. Copying and pasting the same tired lies and distortions ad nauseam for literally decades with zero attempt at unbiased, open-minded investigation is lazy at best and criminally negligent at worst. It contributes to a culture of “everybody knows about Scientology and Scientologists” that propagates complete fabrications, distortions, and anything other than the actual truth about my religion and my church.

None of that affects how Scientologists feel about our church and our religion because we’ve experienced it firsthand and we can call B.S. the moment we hear or see it.

But what about that one person who is really struggling? Maybe with drug addiction. Maybe they’re having a hard time learning something. Maybe they’re having their human rights trampled on. That person would find life-changing and life-affirming solutions in Scientology, but what if he or she is afraid to even look because “everybody knows…”?

Scientology is expanding and flourishing like never before in its history. We are reaching hundreds of millions of people with a message of real hope and real solutions. And yet, how many more lives could be saved, how much potential truly fulfilled, how much societal and personal ruin averted if anyone in the mainstream media had the courage to take an unbiased and even-handed look at our church, our religion and the epic good we do in every community we serve and actually celebrated us as the force for good we truly are?

Like so many of my fellow parishioners and our unbelievably dedicated clergy, I keep my shoulder to the wheel in my own community, helping with all the tools available to me and reveling in the joy I’m able to bring to others by applying all this philosophy has to offer. And I hope for a day when the kind of bigotry and hatred that seems so currently en vogue becomes treated with the disdain and contempt it so richly deserves. 

Wil Seabrook
Musician, writer, business owner, human rights advocate, aspiring Renaissance Man.