Hollywood's Anti-Scientology Billboard: Couple Says "We Lost Our Kids" to "Brainwashing" - 2016-04-08
Since erecting a billboard near Dodger Stadium on Monday, April 4, Phil and Willie Jones, a 60-something married couple from Las Vegas, have drawn a great deal of media interest — including an appearance on Today — to a deeply personal cause. The Joneses want to speak to their two adult children, Mike, 42, and Emily, 38, whom they say they've lost all contact with through a process known within the Church of Scientology as "disconnection." The family was once deeply enmeshed in the organization, but the parents began to have doubts about it five years ago, whereupon Phil's sister, also a Scientologist, allegedly reported them to church leaders. They were swiftly excommunicated and communication with their children immediately reduced to a trickle, the Joneses say. They have neither seen nor heard from either of their kids for over two years. The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Phil Jones about his "Call Me" billboard campaign.
How did you choose the location for your billboard?
We had first chosen a billboard location on Hollywood Boulevard down by the [church's] "Big Blue Building" complex. At the last minute they shut us down. I'm pretty sure Scientology got to them on that. Then we found one on Hollywood Boulevard closer to La Brea, not far from where [Scientology leader] David Miscavige lives. We paid them in full, had the printing done, were one day from installation and Scientology shut us down. They had one of their people call and offer to buy millions of dollars worth of billboard space all over the area just to shut us down.