This is Photojournalist Fred G. Haseney with his eye on scientology. Normally, I report from the Pacific Area Command Base (“PAC Base” or “Big Blue”), the so-called “church” of scientology’s West Coast headquarters, located on L. Ron Hubbard Way (“LRH Way”). Today, however, I’m reporting from scientology’s Information Center, located at 6724 Hollywood Blvd., in the heart of Hollywood.
Phil and Willie Jones have made famous a message of love to their adult children still trapped in scientology: “to my loved one in scientology… call me.” Originally posted billboard-sized on Glendale Blvd., in the Echo Park section of Los Angeles, it now comes in various forms: the “call me” sign I carried has a corrugated back which is excellent for clipping a mini-camcorder.
A “call me” protest is a peaceful demonstration against scientology’s toxic practice of “disconnection.” Disconnection, like shunning and excommunication, breaks up families, destroys friendships and can even get someone fired if they work for a scientologist. Phil and Willie used to be scientologists, but are now speaking out against them. In doing so, their adult children, still trapped in scientology, have been forced to cut all ties with their mom and dad.
00:01: As I activate the mini-camcorder that I’ve attached to the “call me” sign, I’m standing in front of Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, at 6712 Hollywood Blvd. Stars outside the theatre’s courtyard on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (“HWF”) celebrate the career achievements of motion picture directors including:
- James Cameron (The Terminator, 1984; Aliens, 1986; The Abyss, 1989; Titanic, 1997).
- Richard Donner (The Omen, 1976; Superman, 1978; Lethal Weapon, 1987).
- Ridley Scott (Alien, 1979; Blade Runner, 1982; The Martian; 2015).
- Mack Sennett (who helped launch the careers of many film stars popular during “The Golden Age of Hollywood,” including: Charles Chaplin; Bing Crosby; Harold Lloyd; W. C. Fields).
00:03: This is the Pig ‘N Whistle, at 6714 Hollywood Blvd. Built in 1927, the restaurant has played host to the rich and famous, including Howard Hughes, Shirley Temple and Spencer Tracy.
00:13: I’m heading west along Hollywood Blvd. To the right, parked along the curb, is a Hollywood sightseeing bus. Dead ahead: scientology’s Information Center.
00:22: A pedestrian on her cell phone takes a moment to read the “call me” sign.
00:32: As I cross N. McCadden Place, the “call me” sign gets the attention of more pedestrians.
00:36: As I step on the curb, I’m greeted by a Sea Org (“SO”) member whose job is Security Guard (“SG”) for the Information Center. Notice that his arms are crossed; soon, he’ll be in communication with a senior or supervisor about me via text and, a bit later, he’ll produce a camera for my benefit. Notice that there aren’t any tourists in front of the facility.
00:46: As I position myself in front of the Information Center, I notice another SO member inside wearing the Receptionist’s hat. Aside from that, it’s noon on a Friday, and the center has no visitors. Stars on the HWF at this location include musician Nelson Riddle and actor Gilbert Roland.
00:50: As the SG moves closer to the front door, a family passes by, and I thank them for reading the “call me” sign.
00:55: Phil and Willie’s message of love gets more attention from people passing by the Information Center.
01:05: The gated area to the left, just west of the Information center, is where scientology has their annual Christmas display.
01:44: The SG is now in communication, via text, with his senior or supervisor about me.
02:18: Where did the SG go? Did he leave so he could get a camera for my benefit?
02:24: Notice the sign in the window: “All are welcome.”
02:21: Here I’m looking east, standing on Hollywood Blvd., looking at McCadden Pl. Crossing the street is a guy wearing a red baseball cap, a tan jacket, a t-shirt, black pants, sneakers, and has a guitar case strapped over his shoulders. Notice that he has an interest in the “call me” sign, so much so that he pauses on the sidewalk and keeps an eye on the sign through the Information Center’s windows. Next, he retrieves a camera and starts taking pictures. I’ll call him “Guitar Man.”
02:26: As two women pass by, the one on the right reads the “call me” sign. It reminds her of a place she used to live at (which sat near a scientology facility, if I heard her correctly). Notice that the SG returns to his post, texting someone.
02:43: Guitar Man approaches me and asks, “Can I take a picture of you?” I ask if the picture he wants to take will be of me and the “call me’ sign, which he confirms. As he takes the picture, the SG gets his camera into place. What Guitar Man says next, as he darts his attention in the direction of the scientology building, takes me by surprise: “F*ck these people.” I thanked him for that as the SG continued to capture the moment on film.
03:09: Even with an unruly child in tow, a man takes a few moments to absorb the meaning of Phil and Willie’s message of love. (End of video.)
Photo Caption: At 1:00 PM, lunch time ends for SO Body Routers (“BR”), and they return to Hollywood Blvd., eager to interest non-scientologists in visiting the Information Center. In this photo, I observe a clean-cut BR wearing a long-sleeved white shirt and black trousers. Notice that he is not wearing sun glasses (and will don a pare of them after he realizes that I’m taking photographs of him.
Photo Caption: BRs continue to pour out through the Information Center’s front door onto Hollywood Blvd. The red arrows in this picture denote the BRs; the green arrow, the SG.
Photo Caption: In this photo, the red arrows point out the BRs; the green, the SG; the red ovals, the attention that the “call me” sign has gotten from passerbys.
Photo Caption: In this composite, I’ve captured a female BR’s displeasure at seeing me and the “call me” sign. Notice that the well-dressed male BR behind her has donned a pair of sunglasses and seems to be whistling a tune.
Photo Caption: Another female BR joins the one in the last picture and, for a few steps, they walk toward me.
Photo Caption: The female BRs do an about face, possibly after the female BR whose wearing shades sees me and the sign. What I think may have happened is the SG told them to wait so that he could get his camera ready to begin taking pictures of me.
Photo Caption: In this photo, there are six Sea Org members standing in front of the scientology Information Center: five Body Routers and a Security Guard who is, by now, shooting video of me.
Photo Caption: In this composite of three pictures, we see that male BR wearing sunglasses. In the first picture, he stood a little uneasy and unsure of me. In the second picture, he had walked about half a block away. In the third picture, he looked back at me to see if I was still there.
Photo Caption: As people pass by the IC, they have their attention on Phil and Willie’s message of love.
Photo Caption: In this composite of four different photos, you may get an idea as to the extent which scientology will go in order to document the actions of a peaceful protester. In the first picture, the SG captures a photo (or video) of me as I stand in front of the IC; in the fourth picture, he takes another picture of me, but this time, I’m across the street. In the second photo, he’s moved a few feet west of the IC’s front doors. For the third picture, he crossed the street and is standing on the north side of Hollywood Blvd. In fact, as I prepared to leave for the day and waited for transportation at Hollywood and Highland (which is a block away from the IC), I just happened to look in the IC’s direction and actually caught the Sea Org Security Guard about 60 feet away from me. He even tried to duck out of sight.
Photo Caption: Every time I tried to get a photo of these BRs, they turned away. In fact, when they tried to turn around and walk back the way they came, the decided against it every time they saw me, my camera and/or the “call me” sign. To these two, I said, calmly and with care, “to my loved one in scientology… call me.”
Do you know any of the scientologists in today’s blog? Have any of them cut all ties with you in order to dedicate their lives to scientology? Help reunite families, friends and co-workers whose lives have been damaged by scientology’s toxic practice of “disconnection.”
All images (unless noted otherwise) © 2015—2016 Fred G. Haseney. All rights reserved.