“We went to leave and the door was locked.”
AJ McLean thinks Scientologists tried to recruit him using “brainwashing techniques” during a visit to their “megacenter” years ago.
The Backstreet Boy recalled the incident while chatting with Leah Remini on his “Pretty Messed Up” podcast, with co-host Cheryl Burke. Back in 2002, McLean says he was living just down the street from the Church of Scientology’s Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles.
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At the time, he said he knew absolutely nothing about the organization until an athlete started talking about it during a Grammy party at Clive Davis’ house.
“So I was curious. I didn’t know what it was, I didn’t know anything about it. But I wanted to not go alone, so I took a friend with me,” he said.
As part of the tour, McLean said he and his friend were taken to a media room where they were asked if they’d be willing to watch a short film, to which they agreed.
“And we watched this short film, it was about 15 minutes long, and then I said OK, well, that was interesting and we went to leave and the door was locked,” he remembered.
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“They wouldn’t let us out and they replayed the same film again,” he continued. “They played it three times until someone heard me knocking.”
McLean said the whole experience left him feeling a bit freaked out. “It seems like a brainwashing type technique; this doesn’t seem normal to me,” he said.
The Church of Scientology has not specifically responded to McLean’s account, but has vehemently denied similar accusations brought forth by ex-members and virtually all of Remini’s claims about her 35 years in the organization.
She has her own page on ScientologyNews.org, where she is accused of “exploiting” Scientology to “appear relevant again,” creating “revisionist history” with her recent A&E series where she talked about her experiences and interviewed others about theirs.
As for whether or not the alleged “technique” was effective or not, McLean admitted, “I got close, but I never would have.” While he says he was raised spiritually, and still lives his life that way, he’s “more about spirituality than organized religion.”
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