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BILLBOARD 2.0 — Phil and Willie Jones set their sights on Scientology’s mecca in Florida

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Fresh off of their media conquest in Los Angeles, former Scientologists Phil and Willie Jones have a new target for their bright idea to highlight Scientology’s toxic “disconnection” policy with a prominent billboard near a major church center.

In April, the couple paid for a billboard in the Echo Park neighborhood of L.A. after crowdfunding about $12,000, in large part with the help of the readers of this website. The billboard had a positive message rather than a critical one, asking members of Scientology to call their loved ones. It also provided a link to a website that explained how the church splits up families by enforcing disconnection.

It’s disconnection that keeps Phil and Willie from seeing their own two grown children, Emily and Mike, who are both workers in Scientology’s “Sea Organization,” which asks its members to sign billion-year contracts and work for pennies an hour.

Phil and Willie, who live in Las Vegas, chose Los Angeles for the “Call Me” billboard because that’s where their children work for the church. But now, they’ve decided to raise funds for a second billboard in Clearwater, Florida, another major center for Scientology with a large concentration of Sea Org workers.

“Willie and I lived in Clearwater for about 26 years,” Phil tells us. “It’s considered the spiritual center for Scientology, and those who are going up the Scientology ‘Bridge’ will eventually go there. For a small town Scientology owns a larger percentage of property there than any other city or town in the world. Clearwater is where our daughter first joined the Sea Org.”

Phil says he’s attempting to raise $5,400 at a donation page in order to make the Florida billboard a reality. In the meantime, he let us know that the Echo Park billboard in Los Angeles is currently down, but he says his goal is to get both billboards — in Los Angeles and Clearwater — up at the same time next month.

The Los Angeles billboard, which had been up since April 4, came down about two weeks ago because of a small snafu in making a payment on time. But there are funds already in place to keep it going, so it will be going back up in July, Willie says.

And he’s aiming to get the new billboard, in Clearwater, unveiled on the same day that the L.A. billboard reappears.

When the L.A. billboard first went up, it garnered a huge amount of press, partly because the Joneses had struggled to get it put up. Two billboard companies signed contracts with Phil for his sign, and one planned to post it only a block from the Hollywood Boulevard offices of Scientology leader David Miscavige. But both of those companies caved to pressure from the church and rescinded those contracts. The third company they approached, Lamar Media, didn’t buckle and posted the sign.

Will the couple find a company in Florida that will post their billboard in Clearwater, so close to Scientology’s spiritual mecca, the “Flag Land Base”? We may soon find out, but only if enough donors can contribute to the cause.

“Because it is such a large center of Scientologists and ex-Scientologists, there are many people in Clearwater who have lost loved ones, family members, and friends to Scientology disconnection. I have heard from many of them. They are tragic stories of families broken apart in the name of religion,” Phil tells us. And that’s why he’s working to post a billboard in Clearwater, even though his own children don’t live there. “When Willie and I started this project, it was originally going to be a message directed at our kids. Once we started, we got message after message from those who wanted to donate because they had lost loved ones to Scientology disconnection. We then made it our mission to provide this medium for all those who were affected by Scientology’s disconnection abuse and fight to end this practice for all of them.”

 
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[Before disconnection: Phil and Willie Jones and their children, Emily and Mike]

 
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“Squeeze My Cans” gets its first review

Cathy Schenkelberg premiered her new one-woman show, “Squeeze My Cans” at the Hollywood Fringe Festival last night, and take a look who attended and then posted a note about it in our comments section…

 
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That’s a great endorsement for Cathy to get, and most of you probably know why. If you went to the show, please add your own review to our comments section.

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on June 11, 2016 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

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

 

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