After he signed a three-month, $8,200 contract for a billboard about Scientology with the Los Angeles office of Outfront Media, former Scientologist Phil Jones has learned that the New York head office of Outfront — formerly CBS Outdoor — canceled the contract without explanation.
“The head office in New York decided to cancel the contract and they said they won’t be giving us any space,” Phil tells us. “I asked, but they wouldn’t say if there was any outside influence. Might have just been the Scientology thing. It does worry people.”
The billboard would have called attention to the Church of Scientology’s policy of disconnection, which requires members to cut off all contact from former members who have been declared “suppressive” — Scientology’s version of excommunication. Phil and his wife Willie are former members who no longer hear from their grown children, Mike and Emily, who both work for the church. Like other families, they are struggling against disconnection by trying to raise awareness about it.
We called Outfront’s Los Angeles billboard manager at the end of the business day there yesterday and left a message, asking for some explanation of why the billboard had been rejected. So far, we haven’t received a reply.
Phil told us that he’s disappointed, but he plans to contact other billboard companies and isn’t giving up. In the meantime, he told us that because our readers and others have backed him with more than $12,000 at last count, he feels obliged to keep everyone updated on what’s happening with the project.
Phil admitted that he was taken by surprise. After signing a contract and setting a date, he believed that the billboard was a done deal. “We actually had a copy of the contract signed by their office here sent to us,” he says, explaining that he wanted to make sure and have a signed copy for his records. “I think the clause on artwork approval was their loophole, but they wouldn’t even entertain us changing the artwork.”
Phil says he was given no guidelines about what might have been a problem for the head office. One of the things that struck us about the design, when we first reported on the billboard last week, was its benign and generally positive message and tone. Is Outfront really so afraid of Scientology it objects to asking members of the church to phone home?
We’ll keep trying to get a response from Outfront as Phil goes on to look for other outlets.
Bonus items from our tipsters
Here’s today’s lost gem from the XENU TV archives. Says Mark Bunker: “Shortly after we opened the LMT in January of 2000, a couple of locals came to join us in a protest of Scientology. Bob Minton and Stacy Brooks speak about the message of reform the LMT was trying to spread.”
Now this sounds like a party.
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Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield