Wednesday 13 December 2017

'My Scientology Movie' - Louis Theroux documentary may not get Irish release due to blasphemy laws

Louis Theroux
Louis Theroux newsdesk

Irish audiences hoping to see Louis Theroux's 'My Scientology Movie' could be set for disappointment, according to the owner of an Irish cinema group.

Graham Spurling, who owns independent cinema chain Spurling Group Cinemas has said on his Twitter that the movie will not get an Irish release, suggesting that this is due to Irish blasphemy laws.

Mr Spurling was hoping to run a live Q&A event in October, but Ireland’s 2009 Defamation Act forbids “publication or utterance of blasphemous matter” against any religion, with a fine of €25,000 for those who breach it.

He said: "[I] regret that after much trying [that Louis Theroux's My Scientology Movie] will not get an Irish release. Our blasphemy law to blame?"

Altitude, the company behind the Oscar winning documentary Amy, will be distributing the film in the UK, but it is yet to get an Irish distributer.

Speaking about the film, Theroux said: “More than 10 years ago, I approached the Church to see if they might let me in to make a documentary. I thought I might be able to bring a sense of nuance and perspective to people’s understanding of a faith that has been much ridiculed."

Scientology, which was created by L Ron Hubbard in 1954, is described as “a religious system based on the seeking of self-knowledge and spiritual fulfilment through graded courses of study and training”.

This is not the first time a film on the subject has ran into difficulty in Ireland, with Alex Gibney's 2015 documentary 'Going Clear' failing to secure an Irish release due to libel claims.

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