Neopets was run by Scientologists - 2018-04-18
Neopets made its way into the public eye during the wild west of the world wide web. Like many other dot-com founders, co-creators Adam Powell and Donna Williams took a grassroots approach to creating the virtual pets website. Powell was working two jobs he hated when Neopets was just a twinkle in his eye, and, to his surprise, soon saw his creation grow more rapidly than he had ever expected. Just over 18 years later, Neopets is still lauded as one of the most important sites in the development of children's entertainment in the online realm.
The site was (and still is) one of many portals that elicits nostalgia for people who grew up online in the early 2000s — a colorful safe haven where kids learned how to code, spell, and do math while taking care of adorable virtual pets. But underneath Neopia's rainbow-streaked fictional world was an open secret: for at least five years, the company employed business practices directly connected to the Church of Scientology.
It may sound like an urban legend, and rumors surrounding the connection between Scientology and Neopets did indeed exist: Some have inferred that the popular Neopet Xweetok was named in the vein of Scientology-lore figure Xenu, but, as Powell told The Outline over Reddit, it's not true. There were also unsubstantiated claims that employees were pressured to join Scientology, documented in a Kotaku article that was later removed. However, it's verifiable that Neopets's business practices were connected to Scientology.