Scientology Leader Gave ABC First-Ever Interview


Koppel: We have got to take another break. We'll continue our discussion in a moment.


Koppel: Mr. Miscavige, I must admit, I'm curious. You have been the head of the Church of Scientology now for what, a little over 10 years?

Miscavige: Not really the head there, but certainly a senior Scientologist, yes, Ted.

Koppel: Okay. During all that time -- you just told me again, earlier this evening -- you have not done any interviews.

Miscavige: No.

Koppel: (A), Tell me why. And (B), why now?

Miscavige: Why now? Okay. Why not? Let me tell you something: I once added up all the press that had been written about me before the first reporter called trying to speak to me, and from around the world, it stacked up to four-and-a-half feet. By then, it was myth and legend. And then only on one or two occasions can I think of that somebody has asked to speak to me, but never to interview me. It was always, "I want to ask you about some allegations." And to that degree, I'm not interested. I gave you the story about this reporter. Quite frankly, from my view, a lot of the people who have written stories on Scientology are doing it from a certain pitch, they already have their story somewhat made up. They've already made up their mind. It's a waste of my time, I have to be honest. Why now? It's live.

Koppel: Okay. It is live. As you know, initially, I mean, we wanted--

Miscavige: And you asked.

Koppel: That's-- Well, we certainly did. We asked, and we have been talking to each other now--

Miscavige: Sure, absolutely.

Koppel: …and negotiating now for about nine months.

Miscavige: That really has never happened, Ted.

Koppel: Initially, we wanted you to come on because you folks were really upset about that cover story that Time magazine did.

Miscavige: Yes.

Koppel: Now, a lot of people have been upset by stories in the press about them. Certainly, a cover story has more impact than just any old story in a magazine, and Time is a big magazine, but one might argue that your response to it, your reaction to it, was huge. I think Forrest said you spent $3 million in USA Today alone, with some of those full-page ads, double-truck ads, that you ran. Didn't you also run some TV ads and radio ads on that?

Miscavige: No, nothing on Time. And by the way, when you say the $3 million, that, there was an advertising campaign. You have to understand, the first three weeks of it were about the Time magazine and correcting the falsehoods on it.

Koppel: All right.

Miscavige: That was a campaign that ran for 12 weeks. The rest of it was attempting to inform the public of what Scientology was.

Koppel: All right. Now, I told you, we've got to take a break in exactly one minute, so I may have to cut you short if you go longer on this--

Miscavige: Okay.

Koppel: …but why were you so-- What was it about the Time magazine story that so upset you?

Miscavige: Because it wasn't reporting on anything, it was an attempt to cause something. Richard Behar is a hater.

Koppel: Behar.

Miscavige: Behar, he had done an article on Scientology three years earlier in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service. The man was on record on two occasions attempting to get Scientologists kidnapped. That is an illegal act. When you get somebody like that doing an article, you're not too interested.

Koppel: All right. Let's leave that hanging in the air, and I promise we'll come back to it--

Miscavige: Okay.

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