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Church of Scientology
Research resources, News, and News Archive

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This page: Scientology's Hate and Harassment Practices


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- Harassment -

''Hate'' actively seeks harm for its object. ''Indifference'' stands by while harm is done and doesn't care or act. Neither is very loving.
Scientologist Cathy Norman (OSA), in a message to the AR-vent mailing list, Apr. 3, 2001.
ENEMY     SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.
Just because not much has been written lately about the ongoing war on the part of Scientology against its critics does not mean that they have suddenly reverted to civilized norms (...). If anything, it means that such harassment has become so commonplace that it is no longer newsworthy.

While it claims to promote high ethical standards, the Church of Scientology is well-known for its harrassment of critics. In fact, the Scientology organization is increasingly acting like a hate group.

Not only critics and ex-members are being harassed, but also their friends, co-workers, neighbors and family members. (Example).

The harassment ranges from picketing, telling outright lies about governments, organizations and individuals, investigating them, and/or making public private information (preferably about sexual preferences, past convictions or anything Scientologists consider to be unethical). The Scientology organization also uses and abuses the legal system, as described in its own scriptures:

The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he is not authorized, will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly.
L. Ron Hubbard, A Manual on the Dissemination of Material, 1955 (See: The Purpose of a Lawsuit is to Harass)

The Church of Scientology justifies its actions with its ''dead agenting'' and ''Fair Game'' policies. Sometimes these policies backfires. For example, in June, 1999, the cult was forced to pay one of its victims, against whom it waged a six-year campaign of hate propaganda:

Stars' cult pays out 155,000 over hate campaign
The Express (England), June 8, 1999. Reposted at:
The cult favoured by Hollywood stars is to pay 155,000 for harassing a woman in a six-year campaign of hate.

Bonnie Woods became the Church of Scientology's target when she left them and began counselling people who got caught up in religious sects.

Now the church, whose followers include Tom Cruise and John Travolta, has agreed to apologise in the High Court today for orchestrating the dirty tricks campaign against Mrs Woods.

It will promise not to repeat allegations against her, under the terms of the settlement of a libel action she brought against the church.

More on the Bonnie Woods case.

After the Boston Herald published Scientology Unmasked, a series on articles on the Church of Scientology, its reporter, predictably, became a target of the cult:

Church of Scientology probes Herald reporter - Investigation follows pattern of harassment
By By Jim MacLaughlin and Andrew Gully
Boston Herald
Date of Publication:3/19/1998

The Church of Scientology, stung by a five-part series in the Boston Herald that raised questions about its practices, has hired a private investigator to delve into the Herald reporter's private life.

That reporter's experiences were not unique. Listen to this commentator:

Be prepared to be harassed. They are very protective and aggressive towards anyone who is writing any story on them. I was at their property on a public sidewalk doing a stand-up, never even talked to anyone in Scientology, returned to the TV station, 15 minutes later and before I got there they were on the phone to the news director demanding to know the context and wanting equal time. They're very clever, very skilled at media harassment. I was not prepared for that kind of harassment. I never ever received anything like that from any other source. They're an untold story. They've scared a lot of news off. They're getting away with murder. I say put on your asbestos suit and charge.
Bill Press, Los Angeles radio and TV commentator, quoted in Scientology from inside out, by Robert Vaughn Young

Ex-Scientologist Tory Bezazian provides some insight into these activities:

Bezazian headed something called the Scientology Parishioners League, a new organization that Office of Special Affairs vice president Janet Weiland had asked volunteers like Bezazian to form for just such emergencies. In the few months the parishioners' league had been operating, Bezazian and her cohorts had followed up on OSA tips by pressuring television networks, radio stations and newspapers to drop negative content about the church.

Bezazian never knew how OSA agents got their information. She only knew that once she was given a tip, the church relied on her to harangue editors and TV producers until the offending material was removed. During Bezazian's short association with the parishioners' league, the organization managed to convince a few editors to pull material. But in general, the group had little effect. Scientology had suffered so much negative press for so many years that Bezazian and her small cadre could do little to stem the tide.
Sympathy For The Devil, New Times Los Angeles, Sep. 27, 2001

In May, 1991, TIME magazine published and article titled, Scientology: The Cult of Greed,'' which said that the so-called religion is ''really a ruthless global scam.''

The Church of Scientology harassed and sued the author, Richard Behar, TIME Magazine, Time-Warner, and several people quoted in the article for libel. Scientology lost that case, again and again, until - in October, 2001 - the Supreme Court refused to reinstate the organization's libel suit. The background to that issue is found here.

That said, Richard Behar became the target of Scientology's hate and harassment activities:

Scientology used at least 10 lawyers and six private detectives to ''threaten, harass and discredit'' Time magazine writer Richard Behar, who wrote an article titled "Scientology: the Cult of Greed."
Church of Scientology probes Herald reporter - Investigation follows pattern of harassment, Boston Globe, March 19, 1998
VO [Voice Over]: (...) In 1991 Time magazine published this cover story written by Richard Behar, which remains one of the most scathing pieces ever published about Scientology. In the aftermath, the church brought a $415 million libel suit, and, according to Behar, dispatched as many as ten private investigators to follow him, contact his family and friends and illegally obtain his credit report.

RICHARD BEHAR: It's been a chilling effect for the media. I know that when reporters and media companies consider writing about this subject, they're often afraid to do it in an in-depth way.

[Richard Behar walking down street]

VO: Scientology's lawsuit against Time was dismissed. While the church denies most of Behar's allegations, they do not deny investigating him.

MIKE RINDER: There were certainly investigators looking into what was it that motivated his--um, what was it that motivated his campaign.

TOM JARRIEL: Were the investigators authorized to trail him, to phone him, to spread literature in the building where he worked, to dig through his garbage and that type of thing?

MIKE RINDER: The investigators were authorized to do whatever was within the law to investigate and find the motives behind Richard Behar.
The Church of Scientology has a reputation for ruthlessly going after its enemies. Robert Cipriano claims Scientologists rewarded him for helping them do just that. Now he's turned on them.
Double Crossed, Phoenix New Times, Dec. 23, 1999

Such behavior on the part of Scientologists should give those interested in - as well as those targeted by - Scientology pause for thought. These are the unethical acts of people who claim to be on the "bridge to total spiritual freedom," and who claim to put a high value on ethics...

- Articles about Scientology's Harassment Practices -
Secular Double Crossed Phoenix New Times, Dec. 23, 1999
The Church of Scientology has a reputation for ruthlessly going after its enemies. Robert Cipriano claims Scientologists rewarded him for helping them do just that. Now he's turned on them.
Secular Hubbard and the Scientology Problem Site dedicated to those harassed by the CoS.
Secular NOTs Analysis Under Attack The Church of Scientology claims fair use quoting to be a violation of copyright. Good example of Scientology's abuse of legal resources.
Secular Persecution of Ex-Members, Current Members, Authors and Critics Documented by former Scientologist Arnold Lerma, himself a victim.
Secular Pickets and Other Harassment by Scientology
Secular Picket Fencing Phoenix New Times, Jan. 21, 1999
Scientology critic Jeff Jacobsen helped get the church in hot water over a Florida death. Now, church members have figured out where he lives.
Secular Scientology Crime Syndicate Sneaks Hate Mail to Innocent Family Members
Secular Scientology: Training to Obliterate Good People Includes a copy of the Scientology's Intelligence Officer Checksheet, providing further documentation of the cult's hate and harassment activities.
Secular Sympathy For The Devil ''Tory Bezazian was a veteran Scientologist who loved going after church critics. Until she met the darkest detractor of all.'' (See also: Tory Bezazian: 1st person account of abuse, deception and fraud in Scientology)

- News Articles Database -
» Database of archived news items documenting Scientology harassment actions
(Includes items added between Oct. 25, 1999 and Jan. 31, 2002. See about this database)

See Also

» More about hate groups


Keith Henson is one of the most effective critics of Scientology. He has litigated pro se against their multimillion dollar litigation machine, and in some cases he has won, and some he has lost. He has picketed them perhaps more than any other single person. He has criticized them on the Internet, in media interviews, and even took the deposition of cult leader David Miscavige.

Now he is facing terrorism charges in California, charges which stemmed from his pickets at the secretive and heavily-armed compound called Gold Base (or Golden Era Studios) over the unusual deaths of a Scientologist, Stacy Moxon Meyer, and a non-Scientologist, Ashlee Shaner.
Examining The Church of Scientology
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First posted: Oct. 7, 2015
Last Updated: June 20, 2003
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