On December 17, Chris Jancelewicz, Online Entertainment Supervisor for Global News, attempted to make news out of anti-Scientology extremist Leah Remini’s internet-fringe rantings, replete with hate speech, anti-Scientology tropes, discriminatory misinterpretation of Scientology scripture and blatant lies about the religion.
To quote Remini, Jancelewicz had to seek out the obscure blog of Tony Ortega, a well-known sex-trafficking promoter who lost his position at the Village Voice eight years ago due to his obsessive anti-Scientology “coverage.” (Ortega has been unemployed since.)
Much like hateful anti-Semitic and anti-Asian misinformation campaigns spread throughout the pandemic, Jancelewicz forwards Remini’s falsehoods about the Church of Scientology’s response to COVID-19, in spite of all evidence to the contrary—evidence including the Church’s full online How to Stay Well Prevention Resource Center, a comprehensive resource and information site dedicated to educating the public on preventing the spread of illness and proper sanitizing methods, in 21 languages, from English to Portuguese and Gaelic to Xhosa. The Church also saw to the printing and distribution of more than 5 million Stay Well educational booklets to communities worldwide.
“It is disgraceful that irresponsible journalists like Chris Jancelewicz would spread misinformation to discriminate against a minority religion and its members, and during a global pandemic no less. White supremacists and anti-Semites have done the same,” said Bari Berger, National STAND Director. “Jancelewicz’s ‘work’ is everything the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics warns against. His willingness to publish the words of known haters about the religion they harass during a public health emergency belies not only his personal prejudice and disregard for others but shocking professional bias and misconduct as well.”