Last month, the Church of Scientology announced the opening of a $50 million media complex where the controversial organization said it would produce its own movies as well as a TV channel and news operations.
At the time, the leader of the tax-exempt religion, David Miscavige, boasted that the complex—which features sound stages and editing facilities, and is located near Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles—offers Scientology an “uncorrupted communication line to the billions” as a home to the group’s Scientology Media Productions. “We’re now going to be writing our own story like no other religion in history,” Miscavige told a crowd of Scientologists at the late-May opening of the complex.
Now, the Church of Scientology has released photos of the new headquarters for its communications arm. Here are some pictures of the complex’s facilities:
Of course, Scientology is no stranger to Hollywood, as the most famous followers of the religion founded by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard include A-list actors such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta. However, Scientology has also received a great deal of criticism from within the entertainment industry, especially from former members. Last year, the HBO documentary Going Clear drew in millions of viewers as it went in-depth into controversial claims from former members and people associated with the church, while also investigating the religion’s tax-exempt status.
While Miscavige and his organization have held up the media complex as a valuable tool for spreading the message of Scientology and recruiting new members to join, the new facilities have received criticism from opponents of the religion—including some former members—who claim the complex is nothing more than a propaganda machine and a ploy to attract donations. One former member, speaking to the Daily Mail, called the complex “a fundraising ploy to buy real estate, to persuade people to give them money.”
Critics of the religion also dispute Miscavige’s claims of the complex’s ability to reach “billions” of people, especially considering that, according to the American Religious Identification Survey, only 25,000 Americans consider themselves Scientologists.