Long list of media stunts has helped Raelians stay in public consciousness
Montreal Gazette/January 8, 2003
By Lynn Moore
As the media sensation of the moment, Rael has taken his show into the big tent, occupying, along with the Raelian-backed company Clonaid, the kind of prime territory that only fame can claim.
Among North America's leading commentators to give space to the French-born sometime singer/songwriter/race-car driver was David Letterman whose Top Ten List this week included "Top Ten Signs Your Neighbour is Making Clones."
It hasn't always been so easy to make people pay attention.
After touring psychic fairs and the like during the 1980s, the Raelians turned to a strut-your-stuff approach to publicity in the early 1990s. Attractive Raelians - young, shapely females - occasionally passed out brochures promoting Raelian meetings along Ste. Catherine St. and other high-traffic areas. Press conferences also featured the photogenic females.
By the last half of the 1990s, events were held at UFOland, a $4-million theme park and residence at Valcourt, 90 minutes east of Montreal.
Rael also resumed his racing career, using cars plastered with UFOland or Clonaid logos.
Other "events" that kept Rael in the public eye included:
- 1992: Raelians bought billboard space in Toronto to welcome extraterrestrials.
- November 1992: A "condom-mobile" financed and staffed by the Raelians toured schools of the Montreal Catholic School Commission after the commission decided not to allow condom-vending machines in student washrooms.
- 1997: In Las Vegas , Rael announced the formation of the first human cloning company, Clonaid.
- 1998: Rael announced he had received a message from the aliens that they would soon return. An Order of the Angels was created to prepare for the arrival of the aliens, said to have a fondness for beautiful women.
- July 2000: Raelians took to the streets of Montreal to collect signatures for a UNESCO peace manifesto as an offshoot activity of their annual international convention at UFOland. After UNESCO headquarters in Paris denied Rael's claim that his movement was one of the Manifesto 2000 official messengers or partners, he accused UNESCO of religious discrimination.
- March 2001: Rael appears before the U.S. Congress as it debates human cloning.
- May 2001: Rael claimed that a South Korean postage stamp commemorating him had been issued, a claim that couldn't be supported by Korean officials.
- October 2002: Raelians targeted some high schools and colleges, urging Roman Catholics to renounce their faith.
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