The UK’s Sky Atlantic, which enjoys an output deal with HBO as well as a co-development and co-production arrangement, has been forced to postpone the broadcast of Alex Gibney’s docu Going Clear: Scientology And The Prison Of Belief due to British libel laws. The UK’s Defamation Act, which was passed into law in 2013 and is designed to ensure a fair balance is between the right to freedom of expression and the protection of reputation, does not extend to Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK. As a consequence, airing the docu, which Sky Atlantic co-produced, would leave the broadcaster open to a potential lawsuit from Scientology members. Sky Atlantic is unable to geo-block its broadcast in different parts of the UK.
Going Clear had been set to receive its UK premiere shortly after its U.S. bow March 29. When contacted by Deadline, a Sky rep would only comment that, “as present, no transmission date has been confirmed.”
Gibney produced the docu through Jigsaw Productions, his joint venture with Content Media. Sky’s head of non-scripted, Celia Taylor, exec produced the project, which created a stir following its stateside bow, where it clocked 1.65 million viewers in its premiere. The film, which profiles eight former Church of Scientology members, also opened theatrically in L.A., New York and San Francisco ahead of its HBO premiere. It is based on Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book detailing how Scientology cultivates members,