The Streisand Effect
There’s something called the Streisand Effect that the Church is apparently not aware of.
And please, don’t tell them about it. I’d like them to remain blissfully ignorant!
Wikipedia describes it this way: “The Streisand effect is a primarily online phenomenon in which an attempt to censor or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of causing the information to be publicized widely and to a greater extent than would have occurred if no censorship had been attempted.”
It’s named for a 2003 incident in which photographer Kenneth Adelman published a collection of 12,000 aerial photographs of the California coastline, to document coastal erosion. One of the photographs, as it happened, showed Barbara Streisand’s beachfront mansion. She attempted to sue Adelman to have the photograph removed. As a result, the photograph went viral on the internet, and soon everyone had seen it. Had she done nothing, no one would have noticed it on an obscure website.
You would think that the Church would know this phenomenon well. After all, it was their bumbling attempts to remove the famous video of Tom Cruise from the internet in January 2008 that first angered internet censorship activists, leading to the formation of Project Chanology and the worldwide Anonymous protests. The Church could have avoided all of that if they had just let the video ride and slowly die out. No one would have noticed.
Well, the latest person to stumble into the Streisand Effect is lawyer-to-the-stars Bertram Fields, who should know better. Fields got wind that Amy Scobee’s new book, due for May release, mentions his uber-Scientologist client, Tom Cruise. So Fields, of course, writes Amy a threatening letter. One has to wonder, what did Bert Fields think was going to happen?
Well, of course, the inevitable happened. Within a few hours, his letter was posted on the internet, right on Marty’s blog.
Now, keep in mind, Amy’s book is not even published. But Fields proceeds to lay out, in detail, the allegations that he thinks Amy makes against his client. And of course, by doing so, he provides prime fodder for every newspaper, magazine and online gossip blog on the planet. And so what happens next? You guessed it, the story goes viral.
Now, Amy is swamped with requests for interviews from all major media. Everyone wants to run the story.
Not only that, but she’s also swamped with calls from people corroborating her story and offering up more juicy details about Church meddling with Cruise’s life. And calls from lawyers all over the country offering advice and encouragement.
If Fields had just ignored Amy’s book, none of this would have happened. But no, he had to write a threatening letter! And the result is very, very predictable.
If you look at it, Fields did all the work. The book isn’t even out yet! Amy has made no accusations. Fields himself detailed the accusations, then denied them, all in writing.
You would think that Fields, Cruise and the Church of Scientology would learn a lesson from all this. But they won’t.
By the way, one of the accusations that Fields is so upset about is a story Amy apparently relays telling how Shelly Miscavige told her that Cruise could not join the Sea Org due to his “drug history.” And now Fields wants to take this to court? Good! Then the church will have to produce Shelly as a witness – and that will be the first time she’s been seen in five years.