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Sky Atlantic finally announces UK date for Scientology film Going Clear

HBO’s Scientology documentary has finally been given a UK premiere date by Sky Atlantic; September 21. 

Alex Gibney’s film Going Clear: Scientology and The Prison of Belief, profiles eight ex-members of the Church of Scientology and explores the origins of the religion, founded in the US in 1954 by L. Ron Hubbard. 

The film had been previously denied an airing on UK TV due to legal complications. In April, the Church of Scientology indicated a willingness to sue if the film was broadcast in Northern Ireland. 

Because the 2013 Defamation Act doesn’t cover Northern Ireland, the Church had released a statement, saying it would use both UK and Irish libel laws to protect it against what it claimed was ‘false and defamatory.’

Because it’s technically impossible for Sky to only broadcast to England, Scotland and Wales and exclude Northern Ireland from its satellite footprint, the documentary was temporarily shelved. Since then, the film has been screened in a handful of cinemas in England and Scotland. 

It’s currently unclear if the Church intends to make good on its threat to sue. A Sky spokesperson said: “Both Sky, and the producers of the film, have sought legal advice at every stage of the process and are confident that the film complies with legal requirements in the territories in which we are screening the film.”

Sources close to Sky indicate that the no cuts have been made to the film, with the addition of a few captions being the only changes made. 

The Church of Scientology has yet to respond to requests for comments. 

Sky Atlantic is available with all Sky TV subscriptions and can be watched with a Now TV Entertainment Pass, which for the majority of September, will cost just £1. 

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