Church of Scientology Targets Journalist

Source: Ottawa Citizen
Date: March 20, 1999

What the Gargoyle heard

Politicians and the laws they make are typical targets of demonstrations in front of the House of Commons, but this week pickets aimed their ire at a member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery: freelance journalist Kady O'Malley.

Two pickets from the Church of Scientology appeared before the Peace Tower with placards pasted with a photograph of a beaming Ms. O'Malley and the inscriptions "the Face of Bigotry" and "Religious Intolerance."

"There's been a lot of misinformation," said protester Dave McCowan.

"People should know what she's saying isn't true."

Protesters also showed up in front of the Sparks Street office of the Hill Times, which Ms. O'Malley writes for on a regular basis.

Ms. O'Malley, who went to a demonstration against the Church of Scientology in Toronto last weekend --where she believes the photograph used by the protesters was taken -- says she became a critic of the religion about five years ago because of "freedom of speech issues."

"I protest them because they're an organization that does things like picket your workplace to make employers and friends use leverage against you," she said.

"But I've never written a story about Scientology as a journalist. Everything I've done is peaceful action as a private citizen."

Based on the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology has a number of high-profile followers, including actors John Travolta, Kirsty Ally and Tom Cruise and his wife, Nicole Kidman.

The protest was all a bit surreal for Hill Times editor Jim Creskey, who was at a loss when the demonstrators appeared in front of his office.

"Kady is not a staffer, she's a stringer," said Mr. Creskey, "and she's a good one."

"This is her own business. It doesn't have anything to do with the Hill Times."

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