When Anonymous members huddle in front of Scientology centers at monthly protests across the globe, their identities remain hidden behind plastic Guy Fawkes masks or dark sunglasses or brightly colored wigs. Their names remain withheld from each other and media outlets covering their events in order to shield themselves from the harsh backlash that the Church of Scientology is said to reserve for its critics: “fair game.”
On Saturday, Anonymous plans its fourth round of international protests, “Operation: Fair Game: Stop,” to protest that policy.
In New York, protests will begin in front of the Church of Scientology at 227 West 46th Street, and smaller groups will remain in Times Square. The rally will move to 65 East 82nd Street, the church’s local Celebrity Center, at 2 p.m.
The Church of Scientology denies employing the practice of “fair game,” a policy, issued by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard in 1967, encouraging members to crush detractors through deceit, an onslaught of litigation or other means with impunity from the church. The term “fair game” was scrubbed from Church documents in 1968 because it resulted in bad PR, but critics say the policy of intimidation and harassment lives on.
Earlier this week the Church of Scientology dangled potential legal action against Anonymous member Mike Vitale. A letter hand-delivered to the New York anon from a Scientology-connected law firm, warned him to stop “committing, or assisting others in committing, any illegal acts directed at the Church or its parishioners.” Or else.