Chuck Lorre Dabbled in Scientology in the '70s

When Haley Joel Osment's character on Lorre’s ‘The Kominsky Method’ used some all-too-accurate church phrases, an anti-Scientology blogger went digging into the series creator's past.
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Netflix dropped eight episodes as part of season two of its Golden Globe-winning comedy series The Kominsky Method on Oct. 25, and it was the season finale, titled “Chapter 16: A Thetan Arrives,” that caught the attention of Tony Ortega. The blogger published a detailed rundown of the Scientology-specific dialogue, even going so far as praising the “remarkable episode” for getting the “church’s lingo down so cold.” 

The episode contains a storyline involving Alan Arkin’s character, Norman, whose grandson, Robbie (Haley Joel Osment) returns to the family after breaking away from them years prior due to his affiliation with the Church of Scientology. They banter about Robbie’s Scientology life as the young man drops specific lingo like the MEST universe (matter, energy, space and time) and Thetans (an immortal spiritual being). The duo even participate in a training exercise during which they sit across from one another in stillness.

Ortega suggested that Lorre, the sole writer on the episode, must’ve had some experience with the religion to nail it in the way he did. Ortega added to the mystery by following the first post with a second one featuring an interview with a musician named Geoff Levin (notable for being in the '60s band People!) who claimed that Lorre was a member of the controversial Church of Scientology back in the 1970s shortly after moving to Los Angeles to pursue a music career.

“He was pretty hardcore in the 1970s. I don’t know what specific courses he was involved with, but I do know that he was trained as an auditor,” Levin told Ortega. “And he was still involved in the early '80s. But I think he took off shortly after that." Levin didn’t give a specific reason for his exit but he did say that he ran into Lorre years later, and “by that point Chuck was definitely not in Scientology anymore. He had just quietly left. He was into Buddhism by that time. And still is, as far as I know.”

The Hollywood Reporter reached out to Lorre for a response to the episode and Levin's claims and this is what he had to say: “What can I say? I did a lot of stupid shit when I was young.” 

THR reached out to the Church of Scientology several times but did not get a response.

A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.