Twice, the Church of Scientology managed to head off Phil and Willie Jones as they attempted to get a billboard put up in Los Angeles about the organization’s toxic “disconnection” policy. The couple, former church members who live in Las Vegas, signed contracts with Outfront Media and Regency Outdoor, but both caved to pressure from Scientology and rescinded the contracts at the last minute.
Phil and Willie pressed ahead, and found a third company, Lamar, that was willing to post their message on a billboard in the Echo Park section of Los Angeles. The billboard was put up Monday morning, and then a media frenzy descended on the couple as they held a dedication ceremony on Wednesday. The billboard simply asks Scientologists to call their loved ones, in defiance of disconnection.
And now, we learn that Scientology had a backup plan while it was trying to keep the billboard from going up. Phil and Willie’s billboard directs people to a website they set up to discuss disconnection. Its URL is StopScientologyDisconnection.com. But last night, Phil realized that Scientology has bought up the same URL — with the suffixes .org and .net — in order to catch web surfers who type in the wrong thing.
Although the ownership of the alternate sites is hidden behind a proxy, the content of the websites makes it clear that it’s Scientology who owns them — they link to the main scientology.org mothership. Both website domains were purchased late in the evening of February 29 — the day the billboard reached its funding goal after we first posted news about the project and our readers helped raise the first $10,000.
The Scientology site mimics the style of the Jones billboard, as you can see above, with portraits of Scientologists and, instead of “Call me,” the words “Meet us.”
Clicking on the portraits takes you to a page at the scientology.org site where you can watch video testimonials that Scientology began making in 2009.