You have to know my first thought was, "Ah, yes. The Scientologists. Bet he was sick and they opted not to treat him."
Initially, though, it looked like a freak accident - the boy had a seizure and hit his head in the bathtub. It's terrible. The kid was only 16. So, for a fleeting moment, I felt sympathy for his parents.
And then I got online.
Let's go back a bit, to when I first saw this utterly psycho video of Tom Cruise, which was yanked from YouTube almost instantly, but Gawker.Com has bravely hosted it ever since, despite countless legal threats.
I remember thinking, as I watched it and gaped at the insanity before me, that I wondered how the hell John Travolta - who I believe is an even higher-ranking member of the Church - had managed to keep a relatively sane profile to the masses. Now, of course, I figure he just has better handlers, because apparently there's been a war raging over his son Jett for the last 14 years. Why? Well, Jett was, by all accounts other than those of his parents, autistic, but to declare that would be to admit that he was a "Degraded Being", in Scientology-speak. So instead they blamed carpet cleansing agents used in his childhood bedroom for giving him Kawasaki's Disease (a very, very rare autoimmune illness that usually resolves itself by the age of 8). Because at least then they wouldn't have to deal with that whole "OH NOES PSYCHIATRY IS TEH EEEEEVILLLL!!1one!" issue.
(Was that glib of me?)
Now I'm reading articles about how Jett was nonverbal (confirmation links will be posted when I find a solid backing for this) and required 24/7 care. First of all, that would explain that whole "Travolta Caught Kissing His
Well, okay, no. It doesn't explain that. But it explains why they had a caretaker for their kids, which had puzzled me a bit, since their youngest is 9 and Kelly Preston has publicly stated that she's set aside acting to be a hands-on mom.
So they have this guy on the payroll to watch over Jett, whose alleged autism has never been treated (much to the outrage of Travolta's own brother) and who has shown some sort of seizure disorder in his life. This man was, apparently, the one to find Jett dead in the bathroom on Friday morning. Which wouldn't be strange, necessarily...
...except for the 12-hour gap between the last time Jett was seen and the time his caretaker bothered to check on him.
The kid goes into the bathroom and doesn't come out...but nobody wonders? And nobody heard him fall??
Still, all of this could be blamed on bad parenting or a series of bad choices or...whatever. But I remembered reading about the much-ballyhooed father of Scientology and the death of his son, so I wandered over to Wikipedia to check the guy out.
There's a whole lot to read, my friends. Like his weird relationship with Aleister Crowley (whose name has long been associated, rightly or not, with the Church of Satan), his involvement with "sex magick rituals", his bigamy, and the beating and torture of his wives and children.
Heck of a guy!
But here is what is specifically said about his son:
In March 1952, Hubbard moved to Phoenix, Arizona. Hubbard started the Scientology religion while he was living in Phoenix. In mid-1952, Hubbard expanded Dianetics into an "applied religious philosophy" which he called Scientology. That year, Hubbard also married his third wife, Mary Sue Whipp, to whom he remained married until his death (though separated by the early 70s, when Mary Sue was incarcerated for her involvement in Operation Snow White). With Mary Sue, Hubbard fathered four more children — Diana, Quentin, Suzette and Arthur — over the next six years.
Quentin Hubbard, born in 1954, was groomed to one day replace him as head of the Scientology organization. Quentin was uninterested in his father's plans and had preferred to become a pilot. He was also deeply depressed, allegedly because he was homosexual. Quentin attempted suicide in 1974, then in 1976 died under circumstances that might have been suicide or murder.
My point, I guess, is that people who keep saying (and yes, they're already saying it - blogs the world over are alight with the debate) the church couldn't possibly have anything to do with Jett's tragic death should look at the source. It's NOT an organization that has a history of taking care of children, and the man whose books they live by and who they worship and want to emulate is a scary bloody figurehead, indeed.
ETA: Courtesy of a kind user over on IMDb, we can throw another log onto the "Hubbard hated kids" fire; apparently he started running into trouble with the law over his brutality and insanity 50 years ago. (I find it darkly amusing that "Dianetics" was called a new brand of psychology.)
ETA II: Another rather disturbing link. Here's a report from an ex-Scientology church member explaining what Scientology will do to handle Jett Travolta's death.
I wonder when the tireless defenders of the "church" will add it all up. You would think, if nothing else, that evidence of Travolta flying to a Celebrity Scientology Centre before bothering to claim his son's body might raise a few eyebrows. (Who knew you could track down someone's private plane and flightplan online? WILL WONDERS NEVER CEASE??)
The fact remains that we'll never know what really happened. The moneymen have surely begun to spin this tale into oblivion. Latest reports confirm that Jett will be cremated in the Bahamas; they're not even going to wait to return home (even though Johnny boy has already flown there once; nothing suspicious there at ALL).
It's so sad that the children of these people have lost their lives because of these bizarre cult rules. Jett was a "Degraded Being"? For being born autistic?? The only thing "degraded" here is the IQ of anyone who'd let their families suffer because a sci-fi whack job wrote a lousy book.
For more scary reading, I'd recommend Xenu.Net. And I wonder how long it'll be before I get the C&D order to remove this blog post. Bets, anyone?