Less than an hour before a damaging piece on the Church of Scientology was set to air on ABC's "Nightline," the controversial faith's spokesman, Tommy Davis, showed up unannounced at the studio and tried to get the segment spiked.
Last week, ABC ran a two-part investigation into Scientology, focusing on allegedly violent behavior by leader David Miscavige, as well as the involvement in the church of such celebrities as Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Will Smith.
In a taped interview for the first installment that was to run Thursday night, Martin Bashir asked Davis to comment on the church's bizarre founding mythology, which involves an intergalactic god named Xenu who brought his people to Earth 75 million years ago and stuffed them in a volcano.
After telling Bashir he wouldn't discuss "disgusting perversions" of the religion, Davis, with the camera still rolling, removed his microphone and stormed off the set. The dust-up was included in the piece.
But just 45 minutes before the segment was to air on Thursday, Davis showed up at ABC headquarters on West 67th Street and asked to speak to Bashir and the show's executive producer about the interview.
"He demanded to a security guard that he be let in," a network insider told Page Six. "The guard called 'Nightline' staffers down to come deal with him. He was told as politely as possible that the piece was cut and in the can and could not be changed and that Martin would be unable to see him. He was then asked to leave." Adds our source, "He was not happy."
On Sunday, it was reported that Oscar-winning "Crash" director Paul Haggis quit the church in a strongly worded letter to Davis over Scientology's support of the anti-gay marriage bill Proposition 8 in California.
Reps for both ABC and Scientology declined to comment.