Fans have long known two truths about Beck: He makes weird, wonderful alternative music, and he’s a Scientologist. Well, it turns out one of those things is no longer accurate. While his latest record, Hyperspace, affirms the former, the artist has now publicly disavowed the Church of Scientology in a new interview.
Speaking with The Sydney Morning Herald to promote his new album, Beck said there’s “a misconception that I am a Scientologist.” He further clarified,
“I’m not a Scientologist. I don’t have any connection or affiliation with it. My father has been a Scientologist for a long time, but I’ve pretty much just focused on my music and my work for most of my life, and tended to do my own thing… I think it’s just something people ran with.”
People probably ran with it because he’d previously stated multiple times that he was indeed a member of the controversial church. As The Hollywood Reporter pointed out, he flatly told the Irish Sunday Tribune in 2005, “Yeah, I’m a Scientologist. My father has been a Scientologist for about 35 years, so I grew up in and around it and stuff… I don’t have anything to hide. I am completely proud of my life.”
(Read: Beck in 10 Songs)
He also defended Scientology against critics in a 2003 interview with MTV, saying the religion has “helped me recently.” He added,
“The good done speaks for itself. There’s that kind of intolerance, which to me is kind of insidious; you can make a judgment about something you don’t really know about. I’ve just seen, it’s the kind of thing where you can’t really deny the humanitarian things. The stuff with education, drug treatment… programs for criminals and prisons. It’s pretty staggering actually.”
So what’s changed? Perhaps it has something to do with his recent divorce from second-generation Scientologist Marissa Ribisi. She and her twin brother, actor Giovanni Ribisi, are highly active in the Church of Scientology, publicly appearing at many events over the years. Beck and Ribisi separated in February of this year after 15 years of marriage.
Beck was a recent guest on Kyle Meredith With…, where he talked about working with Pharrell on Hyperspace, fashion, and more. Revisit the episode below.