Scientology, Autism and the Death of Jett Travolta
The 16-year old son of actors John Travolta and Kelly Preston, Jett Travolta, died today in the Bahamas. According to sources, Jett suffered a seizure at his family's vacation home at the Old Bahama Bay Hotel on Grand Bahama Island.
A few years ago, Hollywood, Interrupted published a plea from Hollywood for the Travoltas to open their hearts regarding Jett. That page doesn't seem to load properly anymore, so I'm re-posting the plea below.
A PLEA FROM HOLLYWOOD: JOHN TRAVOLTA - OPEN YOUR HEART! - April 10, 2006
On Friday, April 7th, Hollywood, Interrupted was treated to the Los Angeles premiere of "Normal People Scare Me" - a feature-length documentary about autism, co-directed by the high functioning autistic teenager Taylor Cross and his mother, Keri Bowers. The event was sponsored by an organization called Cure Autism Now (CAN) and the new magazine, The Autism Perspective (TAP).
This enlightening film was produced by b-movie actor/director/producer and former special education teacher, Joey Travolta. Joey's brother and sister-in-law, "Battlefield Earth" co-stars John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston, were not present. Too bad...
...Had John and Kelly been at the screening, they might have a better understanding of the disorder reportedly affecting their 14 year-old son, Jett. Sadly, the Scientology couple cannot even publicly admit that their son is afflicted with a neurological disorder, lest - according to the incontrovertible doctrine of Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard - he be labeled a "degraded being" that brought his affliction onto himself. Instead, the Travoltas have long blamed their son's disability on Kawasaki Syndrome-related "environmental toxins," specifically carpet cleaning chemicals.
Rumors about Jett Travolta's disability have been floating around for years, but when no less than five sources (including a media rep from the Autism Society of America (ASA), an executive from Cure Autism Now, a major Hollywood producer and parent of an autistic child, and a Hollywood actor-parent) reported that Jett Travolta was afflicted did we decide to deliver this story. Scientology will not even recognize the disability, let alone the myriad therapies for treating it.
The CAN and ASA officials that spoke with Hollywood, Interrupted credited Sylvester Stallone and former pro football greats Doug Flutie and Dan Marino as celebrity parents of children with autism that have helped raise awareness of the malady. These celebs reportedly share their frustration with what they perceive as Travolta's "denial" stemming from Scientology's rabid hatred of psychiatry and judgment of those with psychological problems as lesser humans responsible for their own maladies.
The Hollywood actor interviewed describes having autism as "like being trapped within yourself, and having difficulty letting normal people know who you really are." Now, imagine being trapped inside a mind-control cult that prohibits you from availing your child to the treatment available. No wonder Scientology has long been plagued by suicides, and wrongful deaths.
The movie producer that spoke with Hollywood, Interrupted reports: "Kelly Preston, in her heart, wants to do the right thing for her son." "I bet it rips her heart out," says the actor. "But," says the producer," John Travolta has so far, done nothing to help raise awareness about autism."
Tragically, Scientology does nasty things to the heart. "And to the other families who are being torn apart by this disorder," sighs the actor. "Let me know if I can help you appeal to his heart." Hollywood, Interrupted believes that you may have done just that.
My heart goes out to anyone who loses a child, especially at such a very young age, but I can't help but wonder if Scientology is to blame. The entire concept of a "degraded being" is difficult for me to stomach.
Details are still emerging about Jett's death, but it sounds as if his affliction was acknowledged by everyone who knew him, except his parents. It would be difficult to believe devout followers of Scientology would do all they could do for someone suffering from a neurological disorder.
It's a shame this open plea fell on deaf ears years ago.