How the Church of Scientology Responds to a Reporter's Repeated Requests for Comment

Asshole. Prick. Handsome. I've been called all three. 

But Karin Pouw, a spokesthetan for the Church of Scientology, dropped a u-bomb on me in a Feb. 20 email.

She called me “unprofessional.” Sniffle. 

Between Feb. 13 and 18, I called the church's media-relations outfit in Los Angeles three times, telling them I was working on a story about the church and allegations it spies on critics. (We evil journalists keep things kinda vague until it's time for the gotcha questions, when the hilarity ensues.)


After getting forwarded by a live person to voice mail, I left messages each time. The only return telephone call I received was from a nice lady who left a voice mail message on my office line, telling me to email my questions to the address

This was on a Thursday, but I had already left the office for the day to bail editor Gustavo Arellano out of jail. And, I wasn't in the office on Friday–pretending to work in the field, blah, blah, bah. 
When I returned to the Weekly world headquarters Monday, I listened to the message and fired off an email (including a semi-sincere “Sorry we couldn't make contact when I called last week”). 
I asked what the church's response is to those who say it sends out spies on its critics; to Amy Scobee's allegations of abuse; to the allegation that the church charges “freeloader” fees on those who leave. I also asked if the organization in Los Angeles sets up a Scientologist's program, charges the person for “handling” if he or she doubts the group's teachings. And I welcomed any comments the church wanted to make about Scientology, but I did not guarantee I could fit them all into the story. 
Here is the email I received from Pouw:
Dear Mr. Dulaney:

I have received your questions. You were originally asked to send them on the 16th, yet you waited four days before doing so just a few hours before your self-imposed deadline on a holiday. I find it unprofessional and it is insufficient time for the Church to provide you a suitable response to outrageous and general allegations that are neither time-sensitive nor newsworthy. 

Amy Scobee hasn't been a member of the Church of Scientology for seven years, and so your “interview” does not contain any information relevant to the Church today. I will provide you a response as rapidly as possible, but you will need to inform your editor you emailed questions at noon and asked for a response by 5 p.m., and it is insufficient.
I will, however, start by providing you an answer to your last question. Yes, there is a lot to be said about Scientology. It is the story of the explosive worldwide growth of the Church of Scientology. 


Under the Church's leadership, in the past 5 years, the Church has opened 25 new Ideal Churches of Scientology in cities as diverse as London, Rome, Brussels, Moscow, Melbourne, Quebec, Hamburg and all over the United States. Four of these Churches opened here in California, with a new Church opened in our state capitol on Jan. 28, the Church of Scientology of Sacramento. We have also opened new churches in Southern California including Hollywood, Pasadena and Inglewood. There are 15 more new Churches of Scientology scheduled for opening in the coming year, including our spiritual Mecca in Florida–a 375,000-square-foot facility to minister to Scientologists from all over the world. 
Moreover, in Los Angeles, in 2009, the Church established a state-of-the-art, all-digital, 220,000-square-foot publishing house, dedicated to the production of our Founder's scriptures. Since then, the facility has produced and disseminated more than 97 million copies of L. Ron Hubbard's books and lectures (on compact disc).
In 2010, the Church also established the largest printing-and-manufacturing plant in the U.S. dedicated to the production of humanitarian programs and materials. Consequently, the Church's Truth About Drugs and United for Human Rights programs are now reaching tens of millions each year. 
You should look at our website, where you will find photographs and information about the Church today. Please see: 

I am surprised that you are not covering or interested in any of this news. 

As for some of your questions, there are stale allegations Scobee has made for years. They are lies, and we have always denied them and continue to deny them because they are false.

Please provide specifics with your questions–i.e., who are the “sources”? Concerning question No. 1 regarding “spies”–are you recycling Tony Ortega's* July 2011 blog entry about Paulien Lombard, a former member of the Scientology Parishioners League, who, when she was in the Church, took some initiatives with other parishioners against religious discrimination, bigotry and hatred?

As covered earlier, I ask you to behave ethically and to provide the Church ample time to respond, and I will be able to be back to you in one to two days. 

Thank you.
Karin Pouw

Church of Scientology

*Village Voice editor (and Anaheim boy!) Tony Ortega has long covered Scientology and first wrote about Lombard's dramatic address before the Riverside County Board of Supervisors last year.

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