In 1999, Rolling Stone assigned Hollywood reporter Mark Ebner to the story of Philip Gale, an MIT prodigy born into Scientology who killed himself on the birthday of the cult’s founder. The organization sent Rolling Stone a damning dossier on Ebner and the story was spiked. Ebner says he was told by his assigning editor that Rolling Stone owner Jann Wenner was close to John Travolta, one of the sect’s most prominent Hollywood supporters. Since then, the Church of Scientology has softened in its response to critics; and internet outlets have proven less easily browbeaten. So here—after the jump— is Ebner’s original piece, Death of a Nethead.
October 10, 2008