The attack was launched on Wednesday by a user labelled "Anonymous", on the website "Insurgency Wiki", a spinoff of 4chan. The "History" section of the site explains, in a satirical fashion, that the incident was prompted by the Church of Scientology's attempts to remove a promotional video featuring Scientologist Tom Cruise from YouTube. Though YouTube is complying with the Church of Scientology's requests to take down the video, other sites such as Gawker.com have stated that they will keep hosting the video.
Writing in a blog post, Matthew Ingram of The Globe and Mail dubbed the ongoing conflict involving the Church of Scientology's attempts to remove the Cruise video from the Internet: "Scientology vs. the Internet, part XVII". He characterized the conflict between the Church of Scientology and anonymous posters of the Cruise video as "another small skirmish in a war that Scientology has been waging for almost 15 years, since the early days of newsgroups such as alt.religion.scientology, which posted internal church documents in 1994. Lawsuits have been filed, mailing lists have been shut down, homes of discussion group participants have been raided and their computers seized — an all-out war."