The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, No. 16: James Packer - 2020-09-05

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F347.png The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, No. 16: James Packer September 5, 2020, Tony Ortega, Underground Bunker

Australian billionaire James Packer was a member of the Church of Scientology for only a few years, from about 2001 to 2006, according to Steve Cannane's reporting in his excellent history of Scientology in Australia, Fair Game. But a couple of recent stories suggest that Packer continues to be a powerful friend of Scientology even as he's moved on in his seemingly endless mid-life crisis.

James is the son of Australian magnate Kerry Packer, who died in 2005. And like a lot of children of self-made titans of industry, James struggled to live up to his father's expectations. In particular, he took a bath on a bad telecommunications deal, and by 2001 his life was a mess.

It was Tom Cruise who came to the rescue. Cruise had befriended Packer and that year very quietly got his Australian pal a spot at Scientology's flagship drug rehab facility in Oklahoma, the 200-bed clinic Narconon Arrowhead. After drying out, Packer then became a dedicated member of Tom's church, and James could be seen in the front row at a 2004 IAS gala, the one which included the now infamous celebration of Cruise, who was awarded a Freedom Medal of Valor. Cruise and Packer could also be seen together on the gambling magnate's yacht, along with Katie Holmes and Scientology spokesman and Cruise handler, Tommy Davis.

Wikipedia cite:
{{cite news | author = Tony Ortega | title = The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, No. 16: James Packer | url = https://tonyortega.org/2020/09/05/the-top-25-people-enabling-scientology-no-16-james-packer/ | work = Underground Bunker | date = September 5, 2020 | accessdate = September 6, 2020 }}