Gay man sues Travolta and Scientology

From: "Berliner Zeitung"
August 11, 1998

Sect member allegedly paid a half million for "cure" for homosexuality

by Marc Fest and Frank Nordhausen

MIAMI/LOS ANGELES, 11. August. Does the Scientology sect charge big money for a fake homosexuality "cure"? Do they use film star John Travolta as living proof for the effectiveness of their treatment? These are the questions asked in a lawsuit recently brought by a gay artist in Los Angeles against the sect and John Travolta.

For 25 years, Scientology has falsely promised him the cure for his homosexuality, says the complainant, Michael Pattinson, from Beverly Hills. He says that he has paid the sect a total of a half million dollars to that end. John Travolta, one of the most prominent Scientology members besides his fellow actor, Tom Cruise, is said not to have personally recommended the "treatment," but had been "present in the building." Travolta is a long-term guest of the sect-owned Celebrity Center, a showplace in Hollywood where Scientology "handles" their celebrities for big money, including many film stars. According to Pattinson's suit, the organization had offered Travolta as proof that he would be able to be completely cured of his "ruin." He was "lied to, deceived and robbed of his human and civil rights," for a half million dollars, says Pattinson's attorney, Graham Berry, from Los Angeles. He was continuously being "squeezed" for more money. Berry says that he is one of "the five attorneys in the USA who will risk representing clients against Scientology."

Scientology, according to Berry, is not a church, but a political and commercial organization which disguises itself as a church. The attorney describes Scientology's so-called "rehabilitation center" in Hemet, California, as a gulag. Since 1994, former leading Scientologists have testified in court that "forced laborers" were used to build luxurious cottages and sport areas for sect celebrities like Tom Cruise and John Travolta in the desert camp.

"Happily Married"

Travolta, attached to actress Kelly Preston since 1991 and star of films such as "Saturday Night Fever," "Pulp Fiction" and "Get Shorty," has often had to deny his alleged homosexuality in the past. In April, 1990, porno star Paul Barresi stated in an eye-opening article in the National Enquirer, a expose newspaper, that he had had a relationship with Travolta for a period of years in the 1980's. Barresi, who had received $100,000 from the Enquirer, later retracted his claim. Travolta's lawyer had promised him a "soft landing" in return for his retraction, Barresi later stated in the gay magazine, "The Guide" in March. Meantime, he regrets his retraction. The porno star has also been represented by Berry, the Pattinson attorney.

Travolta's sexual orientation is also said to have played a role in his dealings with Scientology. Time Magazine report in 1991 in a cover story about Scientology that the sect had exploited its knowledge of Travolta's homosexuality. Whenever their famous walking advertisement wanted to leave, he was allegedly told that his files would be "unpacked." Travolta's attorney, Jay Lavel, now describes all accusations as "complete nonsense." Also, Kurt Weiland from OSA, Scientology's secret service, calls Pattinson's lawsuit "unfounded." In contrast to the New York Daily News, he says, "John Travolta is a happily married man."

Eye Treatment

However, the sect has to view the lawsuit with mixed feelings. In the 1980's, a legal proceeding cause a furor in Portland, Oregon. The former Scientologist, Tonya Burden, had sued the organization for punitive damages because her weak eyesight had never improved from the expensive "therapy," as promised. The court awarded her $39 million, which was overturned on appeal. Finally the sect gave in to a compromise. Scientology has yet to pay the deceived adherent over a hundred thousand dollars.

German Scientology News