The Super Bowl is known for its commercials just as much as its sports, but one Super Bowl commercial in particular had audiences wagging their fingers in no uncertain terms.
For the sixth consecutive year, the Church of Scientology shelled out big bucks to feature a spot during Sunday night’s game. The short plug featured a series of flashing images with people taking photos of the organization’s billboards, among other things, while narrators asked questions like “What do they do in there? Have you met a Scientologist? What do they believe?” The ad implored viewers to check out their website with text reading, “Curious? We thought so.”
It was clear, however, that most people were decidedly not curious.
Actress Leah Remini, 47, a vocal opponent of the Church of Scientology since leaving the organization 2013, was one of the people leading the charge against the costly TV spot.
“Yet again Scientology spends millions to buy #SuperBowl ads. Scientology continues to behave as a for-profit company rather than a tax-exempt religion. #NotCurious,” she tweeted. One follower wrote back, “Correction- Cult, not religion!”
Remini agreed, but tweeted that they should “talk to the IRS about that classification.” She wasn’t the only one ruffled that a “church” was using their funds this way, especially since, according to Sports Illustrated, a single, 30-second ad during the Super Bowl cost nearly an arm and a leg at $5 million.
“WHOA…. @Scientology took all the money they scam from poor, vulnerable people and spent it on a Super Bowl ad try to convince people they’re totally normal. What a way to spend your tithes,” slammed one Twitter user.
Another wrote, “Now we see what they spend money on. Certainly not helping the poor there are they?
Those watching didn’t hold back their comments of both surprise and displeasure that NBC allowed the spot to run to begin with, with many finding the commercial creepy and inappropriate.
“Did @nbc really accept a #scientology ad?? They are patently anti-LGBT and dangerous. Very disappointing,” tweeted @CydZeigler.
“Can we talk about how the NFL just aired a Scientology commercial during the Super Bowl. I guess as long as someone delivers them money, they don’t care what they support.”
This is the one of many recent instances in which Remini has blasted her former church’s practices, and it’s obvious she’s not alone in her thinking.