BBC’s John Sweeney Remember’s Shawn Lonsdale, One of the Bravest Scientology Critics to Ever Live
In 2005, John Sweeney and associates produced the documentary Scientology & Me for the BBC. During his researching of the cult, Sweeney met Shawn Lonsdale, one of the most brave, self-sacrificing and steadfast watchdogs of the cult to have ever lived. Lonsdale told Sweeney and the BBC of how Scientologists had spent years terrorizing him and going to great lengths to humiliate him in the most public ways possible – all in efforts to silence and discredit him. It was Fair Game policy in action to a tee.
Not only did Sweeney get to listen in on Lonsdale’s experiences and see video footage of some of it, he and his BBC colleagues were entreated to a custom-made package of espionage and harassment themselves, being followed every step they took during the filming of the documentary, being harassed, and shortly after being subject to a number of incriminating false accusations (e.g., the BBC staged a protest against Scientology so that they could film it; the BBC was behind terrorist death threats supposedly received by the cult).
Shawn Lonsdale was found dead earlier this year. Police have called it a suicide. Some are suspicious that Scientology may have played an active role in his death. To my knowledge, there is no evidence of this at this time. But what is probable is that assuming that this was a suicide, the years of intense harassment, death threats, social maligning, espionage, and so forth was surely a key instigating factor behind the suicide.
John Sweeney remembers Shawn Lonsdale:
Here is footage from Scientology & Me of Scientology’s persistent haranging of John Sweeney and colleagues:
And here is footage from BBC News reviewing John Sweeney’s explosion on Scientology representative Tommy Davis. In this segment, BBC rep Sandy Smith, who was behind the filming of the documentary, discusses how the cult had gone onto to create black PR on BBC, including the claims that it had staged a protest against Scientology for the sake of the documentary and had supposedly made terrorist death threats to Scientologists.