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BBC man rebuked over Scientology show

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The BBC has rebuked an award-winning Panorama reporter after a leaked video showed him shouting at a Scientologist.

John Sweeney admitted losing his temper while making a programme about the cult. He was visiting an exhibition attacking psychiatry, held by the Church of Scientology, as member Tom Davis accused him of being biased.

While Sweeney was making the documentary Davis himself filmed the journalist. At the exhibition Davis accused Sweeney of letting a Scientology critic off the hook in an interview.

Davis's film, posted to politicians in the UK and released on YouTube, shows Sweeney furious with rage, jabbing his finger at Davis and yelling. He exclaims: "You were not there at the beginning of the interview! You were not there! You did not hear or record all the interview!"

Sweeney conceeded he had been wrong to react with anger. "I am hugely embarrassed," he told The Observer. "The moment it happened I said sorry. I let the side down and the BBC down and I am ashamed. But I felt I was being brainwashed and if people see the full clip I think they will have more sympathy with me."

He confirmed the BBC had held an investigation and disciplined him: "I've been arse-kicked but I haven't been fired."

A BBC spokeswoman commented: "When viewers watch the programme on Monday they will see the full story and the background to this particular incident.

"While John Sweeney's behaviour at one point in the filming is clearly inappropriate, he has apologised. The BBC is, however, happy that taken as a whole the filming was carried out properly and fairly."

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