Scientology Benefit Generates Controversy

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Owners of an historic Clearwater theater pulled out of a plan for a fundraiser put on by the Church of Scientology after an avalanche of complaints.

The St. Petersburg Times ( ) reports that managers of Ruth Eckerd Hall distanced themselves from the benefit this week after supporters of the venue complained. Ruth Eckerd Hall owns the Capitol Theatre in downtown Clearwater, which would benefit from the Jan. 7 event.

However, a Scientology spokeswoman said complaints will be ignored and the benefit will go on as scheduled at the international church’s spiritual headquarters downtown. She said money raised will still go to the theater.

The church has been the target of recent St. Petersburg Times stories claiming that it uses strong-arm tactics to raise money.

Source: Associated Press