The Church of Scientology has a famously fractured relationship with the truth. On Saturday, it lived up to its reputation when the Church celebrated the opening of its new home in Portland, Oregon. The modest turnout must have been a sore spot for the Church. But…no sweat! Photoshop to the rescue!
Publicity pictures released by Scientology HQ purported to show thousands of enthusiastic revelers.
“More than 2,500 Scientologists and guests joined city and state dignitaries for the dedication ceremony.”
But eye witnesses say the crowd consisted of only 400-750 people — and the photos provided by Scientology are very different from those shared by non-Church members. Judge for yourself (images via Boing Boing):
The Daily Mail agrees that there’s something seriously fishy going on here, and presents additional photos from different angles.
The entire right side of the image contains people who were not actually at the event because in real pictures, you can see there is a line of trees there.
The other side of the crowd is also believed to have been photoshopped and again, other images taken show a line of trees where the official Church of Scientology image seems to have added in more people.
The existence of non-Church-approved photos of the Portland event is not as unremarkable as it might seem. Scientology members tried their best to prevent freelance photographers and filmmakers from getting closer than a few blocks. This eye witness account is pretty chilling.
By the way, Scientologists have been caught doctoring images before. The pseudo-Church, it seems, wasn’t able to get enough attendees for its December 28, 1999 shindig at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, billed as a “millennial celebration of Scientology’s first 50 years.” Afterwards, the Church presented images of the event in which audience members had clearly been digitally cloned. The Photoshop job was so poorly done that one person appeared without a head (the term photochopping had never been so apt!). The Washington Post observed that “in another shot, a bald man who had been replicated magically grew hair.”
More detailed photos of the L.A. photochop atrocity are here. Enjoy.