Beck: ‘There’s a misconception that I am a Scientologist. I’m not a Scientologist’

LACMA Art + Film Gala

I’ve always felt slightly guilty about liking Beck and his music because Beck has been a (lowkey) Scientologist for many years. Beck has always been a strange bird, and the air of Scientology around him made him seem even weirder. He married Marissa Ribisi (sister of Giovanni Ribisi) in 2004, and the Ribisi family is big into CoS, and Beck has previously identified as a Scientologist in interviews too. But now… he’s not. He got a divorce this year and apparently he left CoS?

Beck has disavowed himself from the Church of Scientology. The musician, 49, has long been one of the most high-profile stars associated with the organization — and has previously sung its praises on TV and in print interviews. But now, on the heels of his divorce last February from second-generation Scientologist Marissa Ribisi, Beck has changed his tune.

In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald promoting his new record Hyperspace, Beck clarified that he is not a church member nor does he ascribe to Scientology beliefs.

“I think there’s a misconception that I am a Scientologist. I’m not a Scientologist. I don’t have any connection or affiliation with it,” Beck told the Herald. He went on to theorize that because his father — Canadian composer David Campbell — has long been a Scientologist, he was assumed to be one, as well. “But I’ve pretty much just focused on my music and my work for most of my life, and tended to do my own thing,” he continued. “I think it’s just something people ran with.”

Still, the singer-songwriter has long moved in Scientology circles and has previously both claimed membership in the church and championed its ideas. In 2004, he married Ribisi, twin sister of actor Giovanni Ribisi. Both are well-known Scientologists and are heavily involved in Scientology events and fundraising. The couple had a son in 2003 and a daughter in 2007 and divorced Feb.15, 2019, after 15 years together.

Toward the start of their marriage, in a 2005 interview with the Irish Sunday Tribune, Beck declared, “Yeah, I’m a Scientologist. My father has been a Scientologist for about 35 years, so I grew up in and around it and stuff. People can sort of say and do whatever they want. All I can do is live my life with integrity and raise my child and work hard and work hard for the people I work with. I don’t have anything to hide. I am completely proud of my life.”

[From THR]

THR brings up a few other interviews he did in 2003 and 2004 where he spoke about being a Scientologist. I didn’t realize that his father was one too, which makes Beck “second generation” Scientologist. The Ribisis are second-generation too. I know Elisabeth Moss is as well. My guess/feeling is that Beck was deep into CoS 15 years ago, maybe ten years ago too. But he started to phase it out at some point in the past few years, probably. And that was probably one of the reasons for his divorce too, don’t you think?

So, can we like Beck’s music again? Or not so much?

Beck attends the 2019 LACMA Art + Film Gala at LACMA on November 02, 2019 in Los Angeles, California © J Graylock/jpistudios.com

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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56 Responses to “Beck: ‘There’s a misconception that I am a Scientologist. I’m not a Scientologist’”

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  1. broodytrudy says:

    Good for him!

    • tiredTreaded says:

      I just can’t w the revisionist disclosures. When someone denies what the eyes & ears see & hear, No. I realize Co$ is invasive etc, but why can’t he tell the truth & back up Leah & other brave x cult members?

      • Jen d. says:

        I wonder if it’s something to do with how vindictive CO$ can be? They are vicious, and even a soft denial like this can get him in heaps of trouble

    • fishface says:

      Do people not google themselves to see what they’ve said about controversial stuff in the past before making such sweeping statements that fall at the first gate? Sigh.

  2. Mia4s says:

    Glad to hear about anyone getting out, but I certainly hope he’s building a strong foundation with his kids so he can keep seeing them once the courts cannot order it. That stuff that went down with Nicole Kidman and Crazy Cruise’s kids was frightening.

  3. Erinn says:

    I wonder if he was openly speaking about it before as a favor to his bride. I’d imagine he was at least somewhat concerned about her reputation in all of this as well. And where he grew up around it it wasn’t such a big deal to him to embellish. Who knows.

    I’m glad he’s out though so I can have guilt free Beck music.

    • Some chick says:

      This is pretty much how I feel. (Also that he didn’t want his family to be forced to disconnect from him…)

      Beck is very talented. I’m sure that as he flies free from All of That, that he will create some new music. Did you see Leah Remini on DWTS? That’s what I’m talking about. Leah isn’t a professional dancer, but her performances were so meaningful if you knew what you were seeing.

      Good for him! I thought this would never happen – that he was stuck to it (even tho around the edges) just like Gaiman. Go, Beck, go!

    • jjva says:

      Love both your comments. Gaiman is near Scientology?!

      • Cay says:

        Yeah, he is.

      • delphi says:

        He is inching further from it. I think a lot of Neil’s backing away from it publicly started with his friend/cohort/sounding board Terry Pratchett calling it a “load of helium-inflated horse-shite” in a duel interview they did back when “Good Omens” first came out.

        God, I miss Terry so much.

  4. Lucy says:

    I LOVE his music. And I still remember when Kanye West interrumpted him at the Grammys and he (Beck) was completely cool about it.

  5. Bananas says:

    I’m so glad. Co$ have used his name for decades to lure others in and to legitimise themselves. I hope this helps others to get out and encourages more to speak up.

  6. Jb says:

    Hmmm i wonder if the cult will do try anything to bring him back in? Must be difficult to escape as a second generation and wonder if the tactic to pretend that he never said he was a Scientologist (despite proof he did) is to ensure he doesn’t bad mouth it in the press because hell claim ignorance…. all very interesting

  7. Sarah says:

    Oh no! I totally missed this. I was a BIG fan back in the 90’s (persuaded my friends to go to our first ever festival because he was playing) but clearly I haven’t kept up as I had no idea. Good for him if he’s truly done with them and for speaking about that. I hope his relationship with his kids is ok.

  8. Joy says:

    Hope he’s ready for lifelong harrassment now.

    • Some chick says:

      They can’t harass the stars. They can use disconnection – their biggest lever in general – and other behind the scenes tactics. But they can’t go after Beck or Katie or Nicole like they could you or me. He has some protection. With the celebs, tho, they will twist the emotional knife as hard as they can. I feel so badly for Nicole around that.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the reason for the divorce has to do with pressure from the CoS.

      I’ve always been so impressed that Katie managed to escape with Suri. All respect, Ms Ninja. No one knows what they are getting into with the Church of Scientology. No one. Or they wouldn’t do it. They’re either born in or manipulated.

  9. Mumbles says:

    Waiting for the COS attacks on him any minute now. I wonder what it will be.

    • (TheOG)@Jan90067 says:

      This move sounds like he is trying to mitigate their coming “knives out” for him. He’s not “bad mouthing” the cult; just “gently disavowing” membership. But it wouldn’t surprise me that the $ci-cult would put out bots and bad reviews online for any and all of Beck’s work/shows to come.

  10. adastraperaspera says:

    Very happy he chose to make a public statement. Excellent news, and hopefully a small sign that Miscavige is losing his grip on cult members. I would love if the whole house of cards came tumbling down before the next generation is enslaved to this organized crime group passing itself off as a religion.

  11. Silas says:

    He wasn’t a Scientologist in the 90s when he was with someone else. He seemed to be one in the early 00s when he met his wife and played a Scientology fundraiser but was coy in interviews. If he’s left again because of the divorce, then great.

    • jenner says:

      He grew up in Scientology and openly stated that he was a Scientologist in past interviews.

      • Silas says:

        He was out of the cult in the 90s though and I think he was estranged from his father because of that. He went back after his breakup with his previous girlfriend, when he was fixed up with his future wife.

    • Sam says:

      Marissa used the CoS to harass Beck’s girlfriend at the time because she wanted him. There is a former worker who told the whole story. Hope he gets his kids.

      • Cay says:

        This. It’s well-documented that Marissa harassed Beck’s girlfriend and made him get back on the straight and narrow of Scientology ways.

      • Luminous says:

        Can you say more about Marissa harassing Beck’s girlfriend to get to him? I’ve followed scientology shenanigans for a long time and thought I had heard it all. But this story is new to me. Where did you hear/read it? I mean, I figured their relationship was…arranged, one way or another. But I’ve never come across anything to back up my speculation.

  12. JIlly says:

    This is an odd one for me since he has a child with Ribisi and to openly denounce Scientology by saying he is not one is in the face of the cult. They will mark him a suppressive person and have other Scientologists disconnect from him- meaning he wouldn’t see his child (ala Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes/Suri). I am waiting for the other shoe to drop in this.

  13. Other Renee says:

    I hope his kids aren’t stuck in that hell hole known as CoS.

  14. Eenie Googles says:

    No one can help the religion (or cult) they were raised in.
    Honestly, I’m glad he’s out, but I’ve never faulted him for identifying with Scientology. He was raised knowing literally nothing else. Lets not be so black and white about people’s pasts…

    • Cay says:

      That’s being way too easy on people in Scientology (and other religions). Celebrity Scientologists know exactly what they are doing. It is part of their job to recruit people into the cult. They interact with enough non-Scientologists at work to have a complete understanding of what it is like not to be in Scientology. Beck’s mother was Jewish, so he did know other ways.

  15. sassbr says:

    TBH I’m annoyed-like he is walking back his statements. Like good for him for saying he isn’t one but let’s be honest-he WAS one and he knows that it’s now widely panned and controversial so he’s pretending he was never one. I would rather her said he left the Church and spoke up about the awful things they he did that he was probably privy to.

  16. Tina says:

    I wonder how he sees his kids now. If he is dissing it they must have declared him a suppressive person no?

  17. Ann says:

    I don’t really stop liking people because they’re scientologists, it’s just a disappointment I deal with when I remember they’re scientologists. Like Juliette Lewis and Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart Simpson – I am a Simpsons fanatic). Same deal with Elizabeth Moss cause I liked Peggy Olsen a lot. Never was a Beck fan but I like a few of his songs so same situation. Glad to hear he’s out as much as I would be for anyone in the cult.

    • Cay says:

      Well, Nancy Cartwright is one of the biggest of the biggest in Scientology. Have you seen the interview where she talks about her Scientology beliefs and says that Scientology has made her into a god? It’s a beauty.

  18. Ashley G says:

    I won’t give him credit yet. He sounds like he’s trying to make people forget that he was one “what? I never said I was!” and now the receipts are out what does he say about that? Say you left, say you’ve seen the light but don’t sit there like “I never was in it” just because it’s not cool to be a Scientologist and you really need to sell albums. There is clearly a lot of evidence that he was one.

  19. Ivy Rose says:

    Celebrity scientologists can do some research and realize what a horsesh*t evil cult they’re in – just like flat-earthers, religious extremists and the majority of Republicans. Facts are readily available (outside Facebook and propaganda machines) via our free press.

    I get the fear of blackmail when people leave, since Scientology makes recordings of every tin can confessional session. They’ve got dirt on anyone who’s been involved for long. But I still have a really hard time watching Elizabeth Moss, and I refuse to watch the Ribisis, Jenna Elfman, Cruise, Travolta, etc.

    I’m really glad Beck is out, because I agree with Kaiser: I’ve wanted to listen to his music without a gnawing sense of guilt. I’m pretty sure I can now, but you all have brought up some good points. He could admit to his past involvement and speak out against Scientology now. But it must be especially wrenching when you could lose all contact and any future relationship with your kids. Unimaginable. Maybe his benign statement was part of an agreement to stay connected to his children?

    • A says:

      It’s not the blackmail that people fear, it’s the fact that they’re functionally ostracized from the rest of their family. Perhaps the rules are slightly different for celebrities, but for the regular folks, they’re risking completely cutting off their whole family once they choose to leave. Any religion that dangles that type of social isolation over someone’s head is not a tolerant or open-minded one, that’s for fcking sure.

  20. Jane'sWastedTalent says:

    Did anyone really stop liking his music over Scientology?

  21. A says:

    “I’ve pretty much just focused on my music and my work for most of my life” Mmmkay, but you married someone who was, and likely remains, a Scientology bigwig. And now you want to act like people are merely confusing you with your dad? I guess for the vast majority of people who don’t pay attention and don’t care about this guy, that’s an excuse that might fly, but does he think the rest of us are stupid or just so bored by his general existence that we’d conflate it with his father’s? Really?

    He’s always been weird.

  22. Sara says:

    Anyone who stays a Scientologist after watching Leah Remini’s show is a nutjob plain and simple. NUTJOBS

  23. Nightsky says:

    You have to wonder…..how do the scientologists feel about all the high profile members leaving and blowing the lid off this dangerous, disgusting cult? There have been several shocking documentaries released, plus Leah Remini’s amazing series of course. I know a lot of the cult members may not have access to these shows but stars like Beck, Ribisi, Moss, etc surely must have seen some or all of it. How can they not immediately run screaming for the door?? I guess just further proof how Miscaviage and the cult practices manage to keep members firmly in line. All the secrets and dirt they possess on these people, particularly the higher profile members. The attempts to destroy people’s lives with vicious harrassment and smear campaigns. And of course that forced disconnect bullshit.

    Does anyone know if Leah’s series is running another season?

    • Cay says:

      No, Leah’s series is finished. For all your Scientology news, you should check out Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker. He had this Beck story last week. He’s the authority on all things Scientology.

  24. Cay says:

    I wonder if he feels like he can say he left now and thinking that he won’t be an SP or on the outs from his children because of shows like Remini’s Aftermath. Scientology has different rules for celebrities, and I wonder if they feel like making a big deal about him leaving would be bad PR for the cult. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out.

  25. Cay says:

    Another thing to keep in mind is that Lucia Ribisi (Giovanni’s daughter and Marissa’s niece) publicly left Scientology a couple of years ago. As far as I can tell, Giovanni had not disconnected from her. There was speculation he wasn’t thrilled with Scientology any more. It will be interesting to see if Beck leaving has any impact on Giovanni.

    • Luminous says:

      Yeah, Lucia seems to have escaped disconnection from the Ribisi side of her family still in the cult. (I don’t think her mom is still in, and pretty sure the whole O’Brien side never got involved.) And Lucia even made her exit public knowledge on a local LA radio show! She talked about it again, more circuitously, on a podcast. But she’s since kept quiet. Guess the family “handled” things.

      Interestingly, on that podcast she said she had been having problems with her dad. I’m not sure that was scientology related, per se. My sense from her comments was that they’d always had a rocky relationship. Don’t know the state of it now. Vonni’s got twin 1-year olds with his current baby mama so I assume he’s a bit preoccupied. He’s a messy SOB. I never liked him. I’m very much rooting for Lucia, though.

  26. Cay says:

    Leah Remini’s response (via Tony Ortega): “He’s acting like he was never a Scientologist, which is his way of not publicly speaking out and therefore not getting labeled like us and attacked like us,” Leah Remini tells us. “Pussy move. You can quote me on that.”

    • a reader says:

      YES Leah!!! Exactly this.

      Beck is lying. He was a $cibot and married into a very important Co$ fam. This statement sucks.

      That being said as someone who has actively avoided buying his music (and I’m a Beck fan all the way back to Mellow Gold) I’m glad he’s left. It’s about d*mn time.

  27. Renee says:

    So it’s basically okay to cancel Beck due to his Scientology but not Elisabeth Moss? I’m confused. I have already cancelled them both for it. Now, if Beck is relinquishing his membership to Scientology then that’s great. We know Moss isn’t separating herself from it.

  28. Susan says:

    This doesn’t sound like a change in his beliefs and a disavowal, this sounds like pure gaslighting! How disingenuous to claim that there has been a “misperception” that he is a Scientologist when he has been vocal about it. If you left the church, stand up and say that but don’t pretend you were never part of it.

    • Luminous says:

      That was my immediate reaction, too, but it has softened since hearing from many ex-cult members. Beck can’t really say “I was in but now I’m not” without repercussions (namely, disconnection from people still in, like his kids). This “revisionist history” will be seen by scientologists as an “acceptable truth” because although it’s an obvious lie, it’s not seen as bringing them bad PR. Saying you were in but left would be more problematic as it’s basically an acknowledgement that “the tech” didn’t work. Can’t have that!

      I’m sure Beck knows this is ridiculous, but he’s willing to take the PR hit to avoid disconnection–specifically, I think, from his kids. Rest assured, the Ribisis are not to be trifled with. I love Leah. She’s a freaking warrior. But I think she should dial it back in this case. She got out with her family intact. Beck’s situation is more complicated.

      All that said, I still don’t understand why he couldn’t have gone the Jason Lee route in his comments and stopped after “I’m not a scientologist.” That was enough for people on the outside to understand that Lee had left the cult, and for those on the inside to be able to stay connected with him. Beck’s gaslighting bit seems unnecessary and like it could backfire. As people get annoyed by it and start digging for receipts to show his deception, it could dredge up dirty laundry the cult would rather keep quiet. I don’t know…I remain puzzled and skeptical, but hopeful that his exit goes smoothly. He’s been under the radar for a few years now, so it must feel good to finally say something.