After two previous companies turned them down, Phil and Willie Jones were successful today in Los Angeles with their plan to protest Scientology’s disconnection policy with a billboard asking Scientologists to call their loved ones.
Phil and Willie Jones are former Scientology members who can no longer communicate with their two grown children, Mike and Emily Jones, who are employees of Scientology’s inner “Sea Organization,” which requires them to sign billion-year contracts and work nearly around the clock for pennies an hour. Because Phil and Willie are no longer in the church and have criticized it, their kids have been told to cut off all ties with them as part of “disconnection.”
The Las Vegas couple has kicked up a row with Scientology since they arrived with a television film crew in Hollywood, trying to see their kids. Then, Phil came up with the idea of the billboard, which simply asks Scientologists to call their loved ones, with a link to a website they’ve put up about the disconnection policy. With the help of readers from this website, they raised more than $10,000 in a single day with a GoFundMe site to pay for a billboard.
Phil signed contracts with Outfront Media and then Regency Outdoor, which both caved to pressure from Scientology and changed their minds about posting the sign. But Phil persevered, this time working out a deal with Lamar Media to post this sign at 1631 Glendale Blvd in Echo Park.
The billboard was put up just minutes ago, and Lamar Media is working to cut back the trees near it. Phil and Willie are planning on having a dedication ceremony later this week. We’ll add some words from him and more info on the ceremony as soon as we get them.
UPDATE: Here’s what Phil just sent us about the billboard…
Well, we finally did it. After Scientology shot down our first 2 attempts we now have a billboard up. This billboard belongs to the hundreds of people who so generously donated their time and money to this project. It also represents the thousands of families affected by the abuse of Scientology’s practice of disconnection. For all their talk of improving family relations Scientology has, at least with my wife and me, attempted to stop us at every turn from seeing our children. In addition to firewalling our desire to see our kids they have actively worked to poison the kids’ attitude against us. And I’ve heard similar stories from many other families who have encountered the enforced disconnection from their loved ones in Scientology.
We chose this current location for the billboard because it gets 244,601 views (+18) per week, which is about a million views per month. That’s a lot of people seeing our message. That as well as the amazing media coverage we’ve had so far.
The little disclaimer on the lower left with my name on it was something the billboard company required.
I know that some will want more Sea Org and staff to get eyes on, but there are few billboards that are in direct view of the highly closeted Sea Org members available. This billboard is the broadside. For getting the message of the “Call Me” billboard directly to the staff we have other projects we’re working on to accomplish that. Stay tuned. We aren’t done yet.
We hope this billboard inspires hope. There are children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, and friends who want to see their loved ones again. Our voices together will break down the barrier Scientology has put up. Believe me, there is hope. We will break through.
On Wednesday at 10am we will be doing an official launch. I hope some of you can come down and meet us there. We’ll be at 1710 Glendale Blvd, Echo Park, CA 90026 and the billboard is right across the street.
The billboard going up this morning…
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Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.
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