In the temples of Hollywood, they like to look after the stars of Scientology - 1997-01-11
A constellation of Hollywood stars and leading producers and directors sign a joint letter defending a religious group which has frequently been derided as a cult and pinning accusations of Nazism on modern Germany - and the reaction in America is, shall we say, muted. It barely registers, in fact.
That - the absence of surprise and debate in the United States - is almost more remarkable than the act itself. Is the American media intimidated by this group's fearsome reputation for taking out lawsuits or is what happened here simply not considered especially unusual?
We are talking, of course, about the full-page advertisement placed this week in the International Herald Tribune lambasting the German government for its intolerance of the Church of Scientology. Signed by such figures as Dustin Hoffman, Goldie Hawn, Mario Puzo and Aaron Spelling, it explicitly evoked the Nazi atrocities against the Jews six decades ago and the Holocaust.