Jason Lee states in an interview that he’s no longer in Scientology

Last summer, Jason Lee’s ex wife penned an essay for Gawker called “Why I left Scientology.” Carmen Llywelyn, who was was married to Jason from 1995-2001, had been out of the cult for 13 years at that point but the experience still understandably haunts her. After she read a book by an ex Scientologist and expressed doubt in the cult around 2001 she was dumped by Jason, disconnected from all her friends and dropped by her agency and manager, losing her career. (Incidentally her manager was Gay Ribisi, Giovanni Ribisi’s mother.) Carmen described a harrowing experience in which she was spied on and maligned, cut off from everyone she knew except for family and left with nothing, all for questioning Scientology.

Things have changed quite a bit since Carmen left the cult, thanks to other brave defectors like Leah Remini and Paul Haggis, books like Blown for Good and documentaries including Going Clear. Now Jason Lee, 46, has left Scientology too. He remarried after Carmen and has two children with his second wife, Ceren Alkaç, whom he married in 2008. (Jason also has a son, the poorly named Pilot Inspektor, from a prior relationship.) There were stories last year that Jason and Ceren had split up over Scientology but they’re still together and live in Denton, Texas, where Jason told a local newspaper that he’s no longer in the cult. Apparently there were rumors that he was bringing Scientology to Denton, which he wanted to clear up. He’s a keen photographer, using traditional film and development methods, and rents a studio where he works. It sounds like there’s an active art and music community in Denton, which he and his wife are involved in.

Tell me your experience as 1/5th owner of Barley & Board? For the record, what other businesses do you own – even partial stake in – around Denton?

JL: I was asked by Pulido and Sparky if I wanted to help co-design Barley & Board and of course I said yes. It’s such a cool space, and one that has certainly helped bring life back to the square, along with a lot of other cool things that are happening around downtown. Lots of good people here trying to contribute to bringing some energy back to downtown, and I think what guys like Sparky are doing to invest in his hometown is amazing. Revitalizing old spaces and giving them new life is definitely a positive thing. ‘Progressing while preserving Denton’ seems to be a theme here.

You see a lot of that here; locals investing in the heart of this place. It’s a beautiful thing, especially considering how much Denton’s perimeter is being overdeveloped. Bearded Monk is cool, and the food truck scene behind Eastside, Oak Street Draft House, Harvest House, Paschall Bar, 940’s, LSA, Denton Skate Supply being at the old Gulf Station, Denton Camera Exchange, the film photography scene, Denton Music Workshop, the record stores, the music festivals. All the murals around downtown. All good stuff to experience. There’s an energy here now. When I first started coming to Denton in 2004 the square was all but dead. It’s nice to see people out and about and in what feels like a very new way. I think Denton is benefiting from it.

Aside from my small slice of B&B, I have no ownership in any other businesses. While I’d be happy to take credit for these amazing places, I don’t in fact own West Oak Coffee Bar, or Earl’s, or 940’s, etc. And I have nothing to do with Rubber Gloves or any other venues or businesses closing down. If Ceren and I had an idea for a business, it certainly wouldn’t happen at the cost of someone else’s. And being that we don’t practice Scientology, and that we aren’t particularly interested in opening religious centers in general, we have no plans to open a Scientology center. Quite a few rumors about me/us floating around but none of it’s true. We’re not here to buy up or change or take over Denton, put some kind of personal stamp on it. We’re just here like anyone else who wants to be a part of Denton’s very cool creative community, and to be involved and perhaps help where we can.

[From The Dentonite via Daily Mail]

Oh and he’s a former professional skateboarder and is still working on skateboarding brands. (I know this because my kid plays the video game Skate 3 and his avatar is a narrator.) It sounds like Jason has a great community around him and is trying to clear the air and make a public statement that he’s out of the cult. I wonder if he’s already been disconnected from people like Giovanno Ribisi and Danny Masterson or if this discontent has spread throughout their group, and if more Scientologists are out than we know. It’s got to take some nerve to admit to it, considering how they harass and torment former members. You get the sense that Scientology doesn’t have teeth anymore and that they’re just struggling to stay afloat. I think that’s why Tom Cruise is selling off his estates and moving to Florida. They’re circling their wagons.

These photos are from Ceren’s Instagram. Cute!

Pops takes his little girl out for a birthday milkshake 👴🏼👧🏻

A photo posted by Ceren Alkaç (@jessiegoesseaward) on

Just your average Saturday at #Bernfarmtexas ✌️#LeicaM6

A photo posted by Ceren Alkaç (@jessiegoesseaward) on

Header photo from 2012. Photos credit: WENN, FameFlynet and Ceren Alkaç/Instagram

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25 Responses to “Jason Lee states in an interview that he’s no longer in Scientology”

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  1. Naya says:

    I think some more of the lower level celebrities may have left actually. Laura Prepon is on a show that featured a scene that decimated not just scientology but also L Ron Hubbard. So she is either being allowed to work with SPs or she does what she likes now.

  2. RuddyZooKeeper says:

    I actually let out an audible sigh to read this news. I genuinely like Jason Lee and hated that he was wrapped up in that crap and I felt like I had to stop supporting his projects. So relieved for him (and selfishly for me!).

    • doofus says:

      feel the exact same way.

      I follow Kevin Smith on FB and he posted something about Mallrats the other day with a pic and bit about Jason Lee, and I wanted to ask him how he can support a cult that like that by giving JL work, and now I’m glad I didn’t!

      • V4Real says:

        I remember a few years ago reading something Lee’s ex -wife said about Scientology. She said that they even asked them what sexual positions they used when having sex. This cult is just down right deplorable.

        There’s a part of me that still believes that Travolta and Cruise wants to quit this cult but they can’t because the cult knows where the bodies are buried when it comes to these two celebrities.

      • JennaR says:

        Me too! I liked his show My Name is Earl, but I didn’t feel good about watching it because of it. Cruise profits so much from this cult that I don’t think he’ll ever leave, but I could see Travolta wanting out. Especially because of what happened to his son who passed away. However, I think they have too much dirt on him at this point. Sad.

      • holly hobby says:

        Tommy girl drank the kool aid. No way would he want out. Travolta I can see wanting to escape. There’s been rumors of his defection since his son died. Then the sexual harassment cases cropped up. He rejoins the cult and you never heard about the case again.

    • JustJen says:

      Me too!!! I’ve always liked him but his ties to that group just made me side-eye him a little bit. Now I can freely like him!

    • detritus says:

      I can now rewatch My Name is Earl guilt free.

      • Tarheel Pixie says:

        No, Ethan Suplee, who played his best friend is still an active, committed Scientologist. Shame…..

    • Sarah says:

      Welp…. it’s a dangerous cult and cults can ‘get’ all kinds of people, not just idiots. They can be very persuasive and insidious and before you know it you’re balls deep

  3. Caitlin Bruce says:

    I’m glad. I really took a likeing to Jason while watching My name is Earl in high school. Finding out he was a Scientologist was a real bummer for me. Is Michael Peña still a secret Scientologist?

  4. Anastasia Beaverhausen says:

    I’m from Dallas, and Denton is about 30 mins north. I went to college there and lived there from 2000/2004. I went to university of north Texas. I love Denton. It has one of the best live music scenes in the whole country. I moving and didn’t know Jason Lee was living there now. I bet no one bothers him either because denton is super laid back and weird. I need to talk to some old friends. Find out about these rumors.

  5. Mia4S says:

    He’s smart to get publicity for this (just saw a photo of him with Kevin Smith too). It’s harder for Xenu to cause he or his family harm when the world is watching. I haven’t thought about Lee in years but now, if for example I read some awful story about him tomorrow in a tabloid or whatever, I would side-eye the hell out of it. We see you Xenu!

  6. Lolita says:

    I live in Denton. Fantastic art and music scene. Home of a top fine arts university. Yes there are a lot of rumors and fears, distain even, about that cult showing up. This interview was big news to a lot of us. They seem nice, though. But his old friends are making appearances in town. Dee-jaying gigs, social events, pix on instagram with local business owners, musicians, celebrities. So there shouldn’t be any mystification as to why rumors abound.

    • Anastasia Beaverhausen says:

      I love Denton. I can’t wait to come back.

      • Lolita says:

        It has grown a lot in the 22 years I’ve lived here. Way before Mr Lee moved here. Come up & see. You might cry at the old school businesses that have closed but there is an equal amount of DIY businesses and fancy new chain biz.

    • V4Real says:

      I’m familiar with it and I have been there. I had a friend who attended Texas Woman’s University there and her sister who attended The University of North Texas.

      They are both originally form Dallas where I often visit and even lived there for a few years.

  7. LisaMarie says:

    Scientology has been buying up a lot of derelict property in a town about 2 hours from me, and they’ve been tuening the buildings into rehab centers. Freaky, insidious shit there.

    • AnnaKist says:

      Same thing happened here in Sydney, LisaMarie. They bought a disused audio/audiology laboratory in an up-market suburb for $37 million, and spent a further $20 million converting it into a celebrity centre. They had the huge opening a couple of weekends ago. While media were allowed in certain public areas, most other parts were off-limits. Obviously, they were also very cagey when asked who would use the centre, how and why, or why so many areas are secret. We only have a couple of high-profile CO$ members here, so the feeling is that there’ll be a lot of famous international members using the facility for….who knows what. There are also rumours that they’ll be using the centre for drug, alcohol and other counselling and health services.

      The fact that they are so secretive about almost everything to do with their cult is a red flag to most people here, who view the business with a very large dose of cynicism and suspicion. If everything is above-board, why not be open about it, even if it’s only to generate some positive PR? Oh, but it’s CO$, after all…

    • Ravine says:

      They own a prime commercial space in downtown Toronto. It was active until 2013, but they’ve been “closed for renovations” ever since. I used to see people getting the ol’ introductory brainwashing session out front, and it was depressing, so I’m glad they’ve been hibernating for so long.

      Article from 2015 about their debts to the city of Toronto: https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/05/18/church-of-scientology-owes-city-over-100000-as-yonge-bloor-site-languishes.html

  8. Amanda G says:

    I’ve always loved him and I’m glad he found his way out of the cult. The key probably is to move out of Hollywood.

  9. Lolita says:

    Well so much for him not practising Scientology…he and his wife are performing right now at one of our music festivals with all his church friends. Danny Masterson, Michael Cena and a bunch more are performing with them. All on stage now. I guess he’s not considered an SP or they are assimilating the church into the music culture.