Bizzarre: Scientology Goes All Out on Nasty New Yorker Parody Issue
Scientology is going to odd lengths to prove it isn't a cult. Yesterday, outside Conde Nast headquarters, volunteers handed out weird parodies of the New Yorker created by the Church, "parodies" which included unflattering pictures and personal digs at reporters, editors and fact-checkers involved in reporter Lawrence Wrights comprehensive and lengthy expose of the Church of Scientology for the magazine, including the fact that it treats some "volunteers" to slave-like conditions.
Known for its aggressive litigiousness and scorched-earth public relations approach, the church’s latest target is The New Yorker, which in February published a 25,000-word article that painted Scientology as corrupt and cultish.
In response, the church has produced a 51-page glossy magazine and an accompanying three-part DVD that try to discredit The New Yorker, its writers, editors, fact-checkers and sources.“The New Yorker: What a Load of Balderdash,” reads the cover headline on the publication, Freedom, which is registered as a copyright of the church and bills itself as offering “investigative reporting in the public interest.”
For a supposedly lighthearted pushback, the Times writer notes, it's a pricey parody with some nasty and vaguely threatening content:
The church singles out editors, fact-checkers and other New Yorker staff members who worked on the article by name and prints their photos. The church also uses what appears to be a surveillance photograph taken of Mr. Wright while he was conducting an interview at an outdoor cafe in
If you think the magazine itself sounds sketchy, check out the zombie-like comments on the Times' blog cheering its publication and lending support to the cultish reputation of the church (h/t to @irincarmon on Twitter for that observation!)