Q. I’m angry. DIRECTV added an “info commercial” of Scientology!!! Is there anything we can do to stop this? — Debi, hometown unknown.
Debi, as you note, DIRECTV last week added the new Scientology TV channel, which features original programming highlighting the beliefs of the controversial religion.
The channel’s shows include Meet a Scientologist, L. Ron Hubbard In His Own Voice, Inside Scientology, and Voices For Humanity.
DIRECTV is the only pay TV provider to add the channel thus far, and there’s a good reason for that. I won’t go into the specifics here, but there have been extensive reports that the religion has engaged in abusive behavior to keep members from defecting. (The organization denies this.) Consequently, many people have a visceral hatred of Scientology so pay TV services are not inclined to carry its channel.
So, you ask, why is DIRECTV carrying it?
Odds are strong that the Scientology organization is paying DIRECTV to be in its lineup. We don’t know how much, but considering how divisive the religion is, it must be an impressive sum. Why else would DIRECTV take the heat for carrying the channel, right?
And there has definitely been lots of heat from subscribers like yourself, Debi. I have received about a dozen e-mails from readers asking what they can do to remove the Scientology channel from DIRECTV.
Sorry to tell you, Debi, and everyone else, that there isn’t much you can do. If DIRECTV wants to carry it, it can carry it.
However, there are some options for unhappy customers.
1. Call DIRECTV and tell them you will cancel if they don’t drop the channel. If enough people did this, AT&T’s executives might look at the channel differently. (Note: AT&T owns DIRECTV.)
2. Send a complaint to DIRECTV. While a simple complaint doesn’t carry the power of a cancellation threat (or actual cancellation), it can have an impact if, again, enough people also complain.
1 and 2. And that’s about it.
As you can see, I’m afraid that the Scientology TV channel will be in your DIRECTV lineup for some time. The only other thing I can recommend is that you don’t watch it. You can even use your remote to remove the channel from your on-screen guide.
You can do this by pressing the Menu button on your remote control, select ‘Settings & Help.’ then scroll to Parent Controls and press SELECT on the remote. From there, follow the on-screen directions on how to remove a specific channel.
Last note: As I said earlier, the Scientologists deny allegations that they have engaged in inappropriate, if not illegal, behavior. And some people might actually want to watch the channel to see what the religion is all about.
But if you don’t, that’s your right. And it’s DIRECTV’s right to carry the channel.
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— Phillip Swann