Anonymous Pwns Scientology in Hollywood

“I’d like to start a religion. That’s where the money is!” – L. Ron Hubbard

I just got back from the Anonymous protest of Scientology in Hollywood, and it could be summed up in two words: EPIC WIN.

People showed up in droves — all wearing masks, and all referring to themselves as “Anon.” We picketed in groups of up to 200 people, and I saw more than 500 different protesters over the course of the day. The turnout was truly amazing, and there was so much energy and excitement. If anything, we certainly sent a message to the public, and to the Scientologists themselves that their corporation is corrupt and unethical.

 

 

Straight Outta The Tubes

The protesters was the kind of people you’d expect to organize a protest online — probably around 80% young males ranging from 18 to 35 or so, and all Internet and tech savvy. This was definitely a nerdy Internet crowd, and people made constant references to LOLCats and “Caturday”; people spoke in l33t speak (there was a lot of people saying things like “Epic win!” / “Scientology FAIL” / “OMG” / “LOL”) and at one point, we even broke out in “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley…the first real-life Rick Roll I’ve ever experienced. (Apparently many people had had the same ideamany, many people).

A large percentage of the signs that people had were Internet inside jokes. My buddy’s sign said “</scientology>” and mine said “Scientology STFU.”

The other interesting thing was that everyone took the “rules” that Anonymous laid out very seriously. Nobody used their real names, introducing themselves as “Anon” and referring to everyone else as “Anon.” It was kind of a running joke between everyone. We also never got to see anyone else’s faces, because we were all masked. When we eventually split ways at the end of the day, we exchanged email addresses — but not our main email addresses with our real names, just our secondary/anonymous emails and web handles.

 

 

Hollywood & Highland

My small group started as four people in front of the Scientology Reading Room near the corner of Hollywood and Highland. Within about half an hour, we were joined by about 40 more people. We got dozens of drivers to honk their horns, cheer us on, and take pictures of us. Almost all of the public that passed by on the sidewalk showed their support, and a lot of them took the anti-Scientology pamphlets we were passing out.

At that first location, the Scientologists had hung drapes in all of their windows, and locked up all the doors — but they did have three security cameras recording us. The building looked completely vacant, which is interesting, because I think they are normally open on weekend afternoons for auditing sessions.

After a while, we got word that there were 200 people protesting L. Ron Hubbard Dianetics Center on the corner of Sunset and L. Ron Hubbard Way, so our group of about 50 people decided to walk a few miles down the road to join them.

 

Scientology Celebrity Center

Along the way, we stopped at the Scientology Celebrity Center, a fenced-in complex on Franklin where high-ranking Scientologists go (a.k.a., people who have paid enough money to move up to higher levels in the church), to protest for a while. The security guards were out in full force, all with radios and earpieces and dark sunglasses (the Agent Smith look). We tried to talk to them, but they stood in place and refused to say a word.

A few Scientologists from inside the complex started taking pictures of us. One woman stepped out on a balcony and took several photos, and another guard popped out in an alleyway with a telephoto lens and photographed us as well. The Celebrity Center had dozens of security cameras hidden in the bushes around the complex, so we made sure to show them our signs. Luckily, we were all wearing our masks, so they wouldn’t be able to identify us.

 

L. Ron Hubbard Dianetics Center

When we made it to the Hubbard Dianetics Center, the big protest that we had gone to meet had moved back to Hollywood Blvd., so the majority of the 50-person group decided to head back to join them. This complex was swarming with security guards (multiple guys positioned at every entrance and around the parking lot). There were also several Scientologist guards on bikes who kept circling around the block to spy on us, and occasionally take pictures.

Five of us decided to stay and protest at the main gate to the Dianetics Center, which had three guards who had also obviously been trained not to speak or react to us. We had a stand-off for about half an hour, asking them questions (”Why do you separate families, and force parents to give up their children?” “What kind of religion forces people to pay for ’salvation’?” “How can a religious text be copyrighted, and why won’t you let people share it on the Internet?” “Tell us about Lisa McPherson.” “Why is there a volcano on the cover of ‘Dianetics’?” etc.) No answers, of course, but you could cut the tension with a knife. The security guards were a bit frazzled and nervous, having just been protested by 200 people, and having a bunch of masked guys yelling right at them. Every once in a while, they would radio in to their headquarters to give an update on the protest.

While we were protesting at the main entrance, we saw everyone who entered and left. The demographic of the church looked to be entirely young, white, yuppy / Hollywood types driving really nice cars. Whenever people pulled into parking lot, we were met with angry/disgusted looks, and they yelled at us. Some of the things yelled at us: “Fags!”; “Fucking losers, get a job!”; “Get a life!”; However, many of the non-Scientologists that drove by sided with us, honking and yelling support. Overall, it was a very uncomfortable half hour, and I doubt that the Scientologists will step back and think objectively about their organization — but I’m glad we did it.

On a side note, I heard that one protester was yelled at and then SPIT ON in the face by a Scientologist in a car. Apparently, he just wiped it off and shot right back by telling them that they’re a hate cult.

 

 

200 Protesters on Hollywood Blvd.

Afterward, we headed back to Hollywood Blvd. to join back up with our group, which was now 200+ protesters. We went to the CNN building on Sunset Blvd. and protested out front, hoping to make it onto the news.

With this many people, the protest really hit its stride. We had organized chants of “We are anonymous! We are legion!” and “We do not forgive! We do not forget!”

The honking never stopped, and there were several videographers and amateur reporters interviewing people. I also heard that NPR was interviewing someone.

 

 

 

Scientology: One Ex-Member’s Story

At this protest, I got into a conversation with a guy who spent four years of his life in the Scientology church. He worked for them full time, moved to and was being trained to be an auditer. It really revealed a lot of things about the Church of Scientology that I had heard about before, but never heard about first-hand. Here’s a quick run-down of what he said:

  • He originally joined when he was 19, after he went in for a free personality / IQ test. He was told that he had a very high IQ, but he had emotional problems, and agreed to counseling…and then got roped in. (He later learned that the personality / IQ test is a scam — everyone who takes it is essentially told that they’re very SMART, but SAD, no matter how you answer the questions. The IQ test also has no logic or reasoning questions, just fluff that doesn’t measure intelligence.)
  • After a few months of taking classes, he was convinced to drop out of College and take a full-time job working for the Church in Florida. He had to move there and was isolated from his friends and family.
  • In one of his initial classes, he was forced to write down all of his “sins and transgressions,” which were supposed to be only shared with the teacher of the class. His privacy was breached, because all of the executive officers and other teachers read about his secrets and used them as blackmail to get convince him to take more classes.
  • He moved into a tiny / cramped condo owned by a Scientology exec, which he had to share with eight other people.
  • He worked from 9:00AM until 11:00PM every single day — and some weeks, he was paid as little as $11 for a week’s worth of work. ELEVEN DOLLARS.
  • Since he was paid so little, he could hardly even afford food. At one point, he ate “tomato soup” that he made out of boiled water and ketchup packets.
  • As a member of the Scientology staff, he was told that he was entitled to two and a half hours of counseling a day, but he rarely, if ever, received the counseling he was promised.
  • Although he was permitted to leave the Scientology compound and his apartment during the few hours that he had free every day, members of Sea Org that he lived with were not allowed to leave. They were paid even less than he was for their services ($24 a week), and every bit of their lives was controlled by the Church…not to mention the one billion year contracts they had to sign.
  • He was not allowed to have a girlfriend or have sex for four years — the entire time he worked for Scientology.
  • He spent four years working his way up in the organization, and only made it to the fifth level of enlightment (I forgot what the level was called). However, people who joined and paid more money advanced much more quickly than him, despite going through fewer classes. (Further proof that Scientology is a for-profit corporation, and an illegitimate religion.)
  • The reason he quit Scientology was because he was sequestered in Florida for an intense Scientology training session, where he was not allowed to have any contact with his family. While he was undergoing the training, his step mother, whom he was extremely close with, died in an accient. His family immediately tried to contact him and tell him about the tragedy, but the Scientology organization blocked him from receiving the message. His trainers withheld this information from him for four days, until he had finished the class. Meanwhile, his family was desperately trying to contact him, and was given the runaround by the Scientologist organization whenever they called. When he finally found out about his step mother’s death, he was told that he wasn’t told “for his own good.”
  • After this, he confronted one of the higher-ups and filed to disassociate himself from Scientology — a bureacratic process that is similar to cancelling a cell phone plan or AOL dial-up service (ie: needlessly complicated, full of peer pressure and nearly impossible).
  • This pushed him over the edge, and soon after, he decided to quit and walk away. On his way out, he was physically blocked from leaving the compound by an Executive. He had to pick her up and move her out of his way to get out the door.
  • Since quitting Scientology, he has changed his appearance substantially and only protests scientology anonymously. He usually wears masks to events, and when speaking about his experiences, never uses his name or picture for fear that the Scientologists will track him down and harrass him.

 

 

 

“Epic Win!”

I was impressed by how knowledgable and well-informed the protesters were, and everyone agreed that we were protesting Scientology for how it runs as an organization, not for the beliefs they hold (even though everyone pretty much agreed the beliefs are bogus creations of a crazy and drug-induced science fiction writer / capitalist).

But I don’t care if people believe in an evil intergalactic overlord named Xenu, or that they are inhabited by dead alien spirits who were killed by nuclear weapons in a supervolcano 75 million years ago. To each his own.

We were protesting Scientology’s unethical corporate practices, its violations of human rights, its destruction of families and friendships, its shady / secretive structure, its militaristic copyright laws and quashing of any form of dissent. Scientologists, like all people, should be allowed to hold any beliefs they want — but the way they force their beliefs on emotionally needy people, the fact that they refuse to accept any type of criticism — is unacceptable.

Scientology must be stopped. And I think today we made great progress toward that goal.

We are Anonymous.

We are legion.

We do not forgive.

We do not forget.

EXPECT US.

 

View the rest of my photos from the protests in this photo album: http://flickr.com/photos/peteberg/sets/72157603884916742/

60 thoughts on “Anonymous Pwns Scientology in Hollywood

  1. Kudos, looks like all 15 of you had a great time.

    No offense gang, but there are many more religions that have caused way more damage to innocent people than Scientology.

  2. True — there have been many religions that have hurt more innocent people…Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, various bands of pagans, the Aztecs and the Incas, and hundreds more.

    But other religions do not operate as a secretive, for-profit corporate entity. Other religions openly share and discuss their teachings, and they do not abuse copyright law to prevent any form of dissent…down to even YouTube videos and blog posts.

    And as you can tell from the photos, there were MANY more than 15 people present.

  3. Congratulations to your epic failure in life!

    Wow, a guy had 200 dollars a week.
    If you want to discuss a “bad” religion, look at everyone else. Christianity: Branded and killed four scientists (of the time), and hung their corpses around Vatican city as a warning. And If you really think that “Jesus” was really born on Dec. 25, you need to grow a brain stem.

  4. Islam: Don’t even get me started. Oh no, a guy got hungry!
    An 8 year old child got caught stealing bread and got his arm crushed by a car, IN THE NAME OF ISLAM.

    If you want to be a prick, research first.

  5. Thank you! I know a lot about Scientology history, including all the Tax evasion stories, Ron’s time in exile on the yacht, etc, and I think scientology has some good principles, but is run by (and started by) corrupt and dangerous people, over all.

    It never ceases to amaze me what people will believe. Aliens running the world from inside volcanoes? Your leader was a little derranged, or quite possibly JOKING.

    $25,000,000 to become an Excalibur member? Tell me that’s not a huge rip off.

  6. “Oh no, a guy got hungry!”

    True, it’s not as egregious as an 8 year old girl having her arm crushed, but by our modern Western Standards of life, the ex-Scientologist that I spoke with had many of his basic rights usurped, and he was put through cruel and unnecessary emotional trauma.

    Everyone knows that there are causes that are more destructive and pressing than Scientology (Darfur, Iraq, Islam, etc.), but that doesn’t excuse the human rights violations perpetrated by the Church of Scientology! They are still committing crimes and hurting people.

    There’s a lot of evil in this world and it comes in many forms. At least we’re mobilizing against SOMETHING, rather than sitting around and doing nothing.

  7. “At least we’re mobilizing against SOMETHING, rather than sitting around and doing nothing.”

    Yes, we’re mobilizing against SOMETHING, but his is like celebrating catching a man who committed manslaughter while somebody is about to nuke you.

    “Epic win” my ass. Epic fail, more like.

  8. This was a well written article by a freelance writer. It is actually more in-depth than most local news coverage I have seen. Unfortunately there will always be detractors and critics. Keep up the good work though, obviously we are reaching the public with our message. The information about the ex-Scientologist was very informative, and also lends credibility to statements of past ex-Scieno’s. Thank you for your contribution to this Epic Battle. You = Win.

  9. And somebody, what are you doing to protest these religions you state have violated human rights? What are you doing for the quality of life worldwide, or for a continent, or for a country, or a county, or a town (or city). Are you trying to say that because there is so much wrong with the world today, that noone should fight, or protest, or march for change? Quit your whining about what was done wrong, and do something to make it right then. (Positive feedback is always helpful, especially from an intelligent, politcal activist such as yourself)

  10. where can i get one of those “V” masks? also, i dident realy like scientology before this article, but now i just want to snipe tom cruse w/ a paintball gun just to show that we can do it.

    We are Anonymous.

    We are legion.

    We do not forgive.

    We do not forget.

    (im not realy gonna fake kill tom cruse, i already got in troble for saying that about bush in middle school, they put me in a mental hospital, pigs)

  11. I have done a bit of research into this christian thing and found that when you refer to christians that did terrible things in the name of Christ, they really were Roman Catholics. Who worship Mary moe then Jesus really. But they do call themselves ‘Christians” which really means Christ ones. So they did do horrible things and called themselves christians when they really weren’t.
    The true christians are the ones who follow the christian Bible and seem like decent people. So I don’t want the true christians to get a bad name when it is really the catholics that did all that stuff!

  12. Dear 1st timer,
    I apologize, I did mean the catholics. Seeing as they are the most poular form of Christianity, most of the time that I say “christian” I really mean “catholic”
    No hard feelings, kay?

  13. I too was at the protest… I believe that $cientology is the stupidest thing in the world and L. Ron Hubbard was a “Baby-eating Nazi” and that when this will not take just a few protests… but eventually we can take down their extortion and end them once and for all… but that’s just me

  14. Great Work and i cant speak for everyone but “most” of anon thanks this writter.. Oh yes and Id like to no were i can find one of those masks as well, if ur anon make a thread on some of our sites n tell people were to getem

    Thank u
    AnonLegion

  15. dude i cant inhabit this Britney body anymore, she’s crazy running from the paparazzi, driving with her kid behind the wheel…c’mon, Who wants to trade bodies?..I’ll settle for Winehouse, at least her career is in motion after those wins last night.

  16. The Roman-Catholics had the crusades/inquisition/and silenced people who spoke out against them, A LONG ASS TIME AGO and remember the time period when that stuff was going on they didn’t have laws like we do today or democratically elected governments.

    As for Islam its only a minority of religious extremists that are the “terrorists”. Islam does not brain wash people only the fanatic terrorists leaders who use the religious and the “jihad” as a means to an end.

    As for Scientology the entire thing brain washes a person making it near impossible for you to talk to them reasonably and logically. Also it tears families apart, and countless other things which I’m to lazy to type.

  17. I was a Scientologist for 16 years when I realized that the abuses were incorrigible and uncorrectable. When I left, they hired private investigators to follow me and tried to destroy my family. Scientology is a dangerous totalitarian cult and I am so proud to have Anonymous on my side.

    Right on, Anon!

  18. Only in America do we have the leisure to waste so much time.
    Yes, yall, get a job. Any recruits will just find some other cult or freak organization to join. And these folks have plenty opportunity to walk away. Losers will always find some pit to fall or jump into. Find a better use of your time, Anon.

  19. I think this is a fine use of our time. Scientology doesn’t need to be abolished, but it certainly needs to be changed. This is something I can at least try and do something about, so I might as well try. It’s more than almost everyone else in this country is doing.

    1. read most the tech it sounds good but leanring it made my friends say. You sound insane lol. i woke up, but only thanks to you and you blogs. i want to meet you and mr bunker. All i can say is thankyou and hope osa hasn’t got it before you. all my love xxxx

  20. “and people made constant references to LOLCats and “Caturday”; people spoke in l33t speak (there was a lot of people saying things like “Epic win!” / “Scientology FAIL” / “OMG” / “LOL”) and at one point, we even broke out in “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley”

    From the rules of engagement: “Rule #0: Rules 1 and 2 of the internet still apply. Your memes are not, at this juncture, something that the real world can appreciate. Although meme speak between fellow Anonymous is acceptable, focus on the target and keep it to a minimum.”

    >_<

  21. You, sir, need to be shot. Did you not watch the video with the rules of the protests? YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO USE MEMES YOU RETARD. All you guys did by referencing Lolcats and Rick Astley is make them take us even less seriously. Good job fagging it up for the rest of us, newfag.

  22. Rule #0: Rules 1 and 2 of the internet still apply. Your memes are not, at this juncture, something that the real world can appreciate.

  23. Rule #0: Rules 1 and 2 of the internet still apply. Your memes are not, at this juncture, something that the real world can appreciate.

    I agree with Anonymous, your use of memes most likely made us look like retards.

    i also need a “V” mask.

    We are Anonymous.

    We are legion.

    We do not forgive.

    We do not forget.

    Expect us.

  24. LOL
    aliens killed by nuclear explosion in a volcano?
    protestants against aliens killed by nuclear explosion in a volcano religion?
    OMG
    waste of time…

  25. I wouldn’t call that an epic win or even a pwning. Or anything even close. You had two-hundred people. Get a thousand and maybe you’ll get something done. Noble intent though.

  26. It’s interesting that, when someone airs his views on the global moneymaking scam that is Scientology, so many people feel compelled to point out injustices done in the names of other religions.

    It makes me think of children, who, when confronted for doing something wrong, frequently point out the wrongs of other children. “What about what so-and-so did?” Does that excuse what YOU’VE done? No, it does not. Let’s address what YOU’VE done.

    Yes, much wrong has been done under the guises of many religions. This person has chosen to rally against Scientology. He’s not advocating the exculpation of other wrongs; he’s simply focusing his attention on this one, and leaving the other matters for other people.

    Forget about what others have done; let’s talk about what YOU’RE doing, Scientology.

  27. Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  28. But you gotta wonder, as some in the “church” are probably doing right now what would be the reaction of police, pastors or populace if this was taking place in front of a real mosque, synagogue or church this morning?” Exactly the point.

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