Fair Game (Scientology)
The term Fair Game is used to describe policies and practices carried out by the Church of Scientology towards people and groups it perceives as its enemies. Founder L. Ron Hubbard established the policy in the 1950s, in response to criticism both from within and outside his organization. Individuals or groups who are “Fair Game” are judged to be a threat to the Church and, according to the policy, can be punished and harassed using any and all means possible. In 1968, Hubbard officially canceled use of the term “Fair Game” because of negative public relations it caused, although the Church’s aggressive response to criticism continued.
Applying the principles of Fair Game, Hubbard and his followers targeted many individuals as well as government officials and agencies, including a program of covert and illegal infiltration of the IRS and other U.S. government agencies during the 1970s. They also conducted private investigations, character assassination and legal action against the Church’s critics in the media. The policy remains in effect and has been defended by the Church of Scientology as a core religious practice.
Starting in the 1980s, for their major branch in Los Angeles, California, the Scientology organization largely switched from using church members in harassment campaigns to hiring private investigators, including former and current Los Angeles police officers. The reason seemed to be that this gave the church a layer of protection in case embarrassing tactics were used and made public.