Jon Atack: A Case of Scientology Fair Game Deflected with Disinfecting Sunlight - 2013-07-27
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He now has a new edition of the book out, and on Saturdays he's helping us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet.
We've been talking a lot lately about Scientology's policy of "disconnection," which church members can face when they leave the fold. But some ex-members can face another wave of retaliation from the church, known as Fair Game. Jon Atack reminded us this week of a particular harassment campaign that backfired badly against the church - the case of Bonnie Woods in England.
Woods was an American living in England who had left Scientology in 1982 and then, ten years later, was running a hotline to help other people who defected. Agents from the church retaliated against her by picketing her house and spreading leaflets with misinformation about her. She sued for libel, and the church hit back with three libel suits of its own. Eventually, however, the church was defeated when it had to apologize for spreading lies about Bonnie and her husband Richard.