Belfast Telegraph

Will Smith’s school ‘ate money’

Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith’s private elementary was closed due to financial difficulty, not Scientology links.

The 44-year-old actor and his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith’s youth educational institution New Village Leadership Academy, which was established in 2008, was shut down in June. has received information claiming the Calabasas, California, school was a money pit due to parents’ outrage over its alleged Scientology-based curriculum.

But Hollywood producer Jeff Wald, who enrolled two of his children into the establishment, denies it ever had any links to the religion.

“We could never get past the association. We couldn’t raise any money,” Jeff explained.

“And the Smiths were putting in $2 million of their own each year. They couldn’t keep supporting it.

“There was never any proselytising about Scientology.”

According to the couple’s 2011 federal tax return, New Village was in the red at the close of the year, ending with a balance of -$284,931.

Jeff denies all the rumours surrounding the school, including that Will and Jada’s teenage son Jaden received more opportunities than other students.

He thinks the hearsay is a shame, because his daughter will miss going to class there.

“They didn’t play favourites,” Jeff said. “We never met nicer people, and we had a lot of laughs. The Smiths helped a lot of people.”

The Hollywood couple have long been connected to Scientology, but they have denied practicing the religion.

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From Belfast Telegraph