Jason Beghe Scientology video removed from YouTube

Times Online, UK/April 18, 2008

A video interview showing American TV actor Jason Beghe criticising Scientology has been removed from YouTube, writes Veronica Schmidt.

The 48-year-old was the first celebrity to speak out against the religion, telling how his 12 years with the church damaged him and accusing Scientology of being "destructive" and a "rip-off".

After Beghe's criticism of the church made headlines yesterday, YouTube suspended the account of the prolific Scientology critic who posted the video, making the clip unavailable to viewers.

But the suspension has angered YouTube users who have thrown their weight behind Mark Bunker, who uses the name XenuTV1 on the site.

By this morning, 45 YouTube members had used their sign-ons to re-post Bunker's interview with the Cane and CSI actor.

In the clip, Benghe said: "My experience personally, and what I've observed for myself, is that Scientology is destructive and a rip-off."

"It's very, very dangerous for your spiritual, psychological and mental, emotional health and evolution. I think it stunts your evolution."

The church insists it brings its members "spiritual enlightenment" and it has helped the world progress towards "the eradication of its ills", including drugs, crime, violence and intolerance.

One YouTube user, Vongoloid, uploaded the video with the message: "Actor Jason Beghe exposes... Scientology to Mark Bunker of Xenu TV. YouTube suspended Mark's account, XenuTV1, so I am putting this up for justice."

Another, Skeptic12345, simply said: "Rehosting while Mark Bunker's YouTube is down".

Angry viewers posted comments below the re-hosted clips.

"Unsuspend his f***ing account, YouTube," wrote one.

"Banning free speech is a major no no. Knock it off."

A spokesperson for YouTube told Times Online: "YouTube takes these issues very seriously but we don't comment on individual videos. Our general approach is simple: we have clear content policies about what videos are allowed on the site. For example we prohibit clips that infringe copyright or show extreme violence. Videos that breach these rules are removed and we disable all accounts belonging to repeat offenders."

It is not the first time YouTube and Scientology critics have clashed. After a video of Hollywood actor Tom Cruise speaking about Scientology was leaked to YouTube last year, the church raised copyright issues and the site removed the clip, angering its users.

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