Scientologist Rodger Clark has written a purposefully misleading and dishonest attack against Distractify.com journalist Mustafa Gatollari.
Gatollari’s recent article delves into the early days of NeoPets, virtual creatures children could raise and care for online.
Created by co-founders Adam Powell and Donna Williams, the popular website was visited by millions of children in the early 00s where they nurtured their pets while engaging in learning games and explored the world of Neopia.
What most parents were unaware of is that for a time, NeoPets investor and CEO Doug Dohring was not only a Scientologist, but was attempting to introduce L. Ron Hubbard’s abusive business tech into the company. Dohring hired Scientologists into the company while instituting the use of the “Org Board”, a Hubbard business creation that mirrors his “spiritual” doctrine as utilized by the “religion”.
The Org Board is divided into seven interconnected units; Communications, Dissemination (sales/marketing), Treasury, Production, Qualifications (quality control), Public (public relations), and, most crucial, Executive. Together these seven divisions create what Scientology refers to as a “cycle of production”. In reality this is basically a re-worked, reworded version of the cult’s “cycle of action” which is also comprised of seven parts. As Scientology explains it, the “cycle of action”, reveals “what underlies the continuous cycle of creation, survival and destruction—a cycle that seems inevitable in life, but which is only an apparency.”
Patricia Illingworth, a Harvard Senior Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government’s Carr Center for Human Rights is quoted as describing the Hubbard form of business management as far from ethical saying, “‘The report’s section on ethics is really about a very primitive sense of justice, an eye for an eye, getting back at people who have in some sense harmed the organization,’ Illingworth told The Outline. ‘If someone in or outside the organization has done something that undercuts the mission of the organization, which is basically making money, then the organization, in the name of ethics, is advised to retaliate against the person in order to ensure that they don’t do it.'”
Beyond Dohring’s attempt to staff NeoPets with fellow cult members, there was also discussion concerning the integration of Scientology doctrine into the actual gameplay, thus introducing millions of children to the “religion”. This was fiercely fought by the co-founders to the point where the most aggressive Scientologist proponent of this idea was ultimately fired.
Mustafa Gatollari’s article explains the Scientology/NeoPets connection for a new audience as a matter of interest.
Gatollari spends no time attacking Scientology or posting any false information. His article is fully substantiated by the co-founders themselves as can be seen in earlier articles concerning the subject.
Rodger Clark takes to Stand League and in the very first sentence deliberately misconstrues Gatollari’s article in order to make him look less than objective in his reporting. This is a typical unethical Scientology tactic; lie if necessary to attempt to destroy the credibility of your target.
Clark writes, “Mustafa Gatollari, blogger for the online gossip tabloid Distractify, thought there was merit (or money) in jumping on the bigot bandwagon by repeating what he admits were unsubstantiated rumors surrounding a well-known business having a ‘financial connection’ to a religion—in this case, Scientology.”
Gatollari did not repeat unsubstantiated rumors. On the contrary, he pointed out in his piece that the initial discovery of Scientology’s connection to NeoPets led to rumors that had no backing. What he actually wrote is “Once news broke out that there were financial connections between the Church of Scientology and the Neopets franchise, tons of unsubstantiated rumors began flooding the internet: that certain characters in the game and games were meant to help perpetuate the organization’s beliefs. Pretty soon, there were throngs of people believing that Neopets was breeding the next generation of Scientologists.”
This is a far cry from Clark’s version which would make the reader believe Gatollari was supporting and promoting fake news.
Rodger Clark’s statement is not a mistake or misunderstanding of the context. He intentionally skews Gatollari’s article in order to enact Hubbardian policy of “Dead Agenting”. If Scientology can cause people to question Gatollari’s ethics the potential exists of him losing readers.
Rodger Clark’s artistic editing further intimates that the unsubstantiated rumors included the financial connection between NeoPets and Scientology, something that is absolutely a fact.
At times there is a lack of separation between a Scientology owned business and a Scientologist owned one. In this case because Dohring, a Scientology whale, was actively utilizing his religion’s unique “tech” in the workplace, as well as encouraging the idea of disseminating Scientology beliefs to NeoPets’ juvenile patrons, Dohring crossed the First Amendment lines.
Given Doug Dohring’s subsequent actions, NeoPets’ co-founders Powell and Williams were right to be concerned.
In 2005, after selling NeoPets, Dohring continued his mission to target children by founding The Age of Learning, Inc and ABCMouse.
The success of ABCMouse has allowed Dohring to donate huge sums to Scientology, money apparently collected through the sketchy and illegal practice of making subscribers unable to unsubscribe.
According to the Scientology Money Project, in 2020 “Doug and Laurie Dohring, owners of the Age of Learning Inc. (ABCmouse) were slammed with a $10 million fine by the US Federal Trade Commission on September 2, 2020. The fine was paid to settle charges of illegal advertising and billing practices.”
Stand League’s Rodger Clark sarcastically and wrongly leads his readers to believe that Gatollari’s article is a bigoted attack on Scientology. That the Distractify piece promotes the idea of some sort of contamination by association with innocent Scientology practitioners. As Clark writes, “…for anyone like Gatollari who finds themselves in a state of paranoid panic over a “financial connection” to Scientology, I hate to break it to you, but virtually every person in the world is in the same boat in that regard.
That’s right. When a Scientologist gasses up a car, buys groceries, pays rent and utilities, each one of those companies and the people in them have a “connection to Scientology,” financial and otherwise.”
In actuality nothing of the sort is even hinted at in the Distractify article. What Rodger Clark says in his abusive, deceitful attack on Mustafa Gatollari bears absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to reality.
Clark snarks, “Had he known any basic Scientology theory, he would have realized that a certain percentage of the population will latch on to any story carrying a message of doom, gloom, hate and apocalyptic fire and brimstone and clutch it to their hearts, treasuring and nurturing it in the hopes it will grow and take on a life all its own.
It’s happened to every new religion. It continues. But it only serves to say more about the character of those clutchers than the religion itself.”
In light of Dohring’s illegal, unethical actions both in attempting to force Scientology practices on his employees at NeoPets as well as his subsequent crimes Clark’s condescending slam of Gatollari concerning character is beyond hypocritical.
The “doom, gloom and hate” Clark dismisses is all to real as can be seen in this fair game, dead agent PR piece.
Scientology is not a misunderstood, unfairly attacked new religion.
Any organization that makes a regular practice of scouring the media for targets to intentionally lie about in an attempt to destroy their reputations has nothing in common with religion.
Ironically Rodger said it well, “Maybe it’s just time to grow up. Just as bullies only pick on people whom it seems safe to bully, bigots only practice bigotry on minority groups—the ones it’s ‘safe’ to hate. It doesn’t make being a bigot okay, but it does show what and who they really are.”
Scientology and Stand League adherents are the bigoted bullies. Every dishonest article they post when held up to the truth does indeed show what, and who, they really are.