My letter to Australian GQ (re Hugh Jackman article)

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My letter to Australian GQ (re Hugh Jackman article)

Postby ET » Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:14 pm

For those of you who haven't read the article, here is the link:

http://www.gq.com.au/life/people/hugh+jackman,6495

I have written to the editor (not that I expect them to take any notice, but we have to try). The text of my letter follows:

Dear GQ Australia,

I read with interest Brendan Shanahan's article on Hugh Jackman, which I was directed to on your website recently (I live in the UK). Mr Jackman is an example to everyone in his widely publicised humanitarian work, particularly as an ambassador for World Vision, an excellent charity which I also support financially.

However, I must take issue with your reporter's apparent dismissal of the very real criticisms that have been levied on the School of Practical Philosophy (SoPP), the "spiritual organisation" of which Hugh Jackman is an outspoken advocate. As your reporter rightly states, the School is an offshoot of a parent school, the School of Economic Science (SES) in the UK. It is quite possible that, when your reporter did a Google search for the SoPP, he came across what he considered to be minor gripes from ex-members. However, I believe that if he had actually done a Google search for the SES, he might well have been given more cause for alarm.

I would like to draw his and your attention to the following messageboard:

http://www.ses-forums.org

This messageboard was set up some years ago, after an anti-Scientology website started receiving a large volume of posts from people who had been to the independent girl's and boy's schools run by the SES (started as St Vedast, but later becoming St James) based in Kensington in London (but now spread around the city in various locations). These children's schools were originally set up in the 1970s by members of the SES to allow their children to be educated according to the practical philosophy ideals of the SES itself, but have gradually expanded to take on pupils from any background.

I would urge yourself, Mr. Shanahan, and the readers of this letter (should you choose to publish it in the magazine) to go to this forum and read, in particular, the thread entitled: "Experiences at St Vedast (now St James) and the SES". What you read should make your toes curl.

I myself was a pupil at the girl's school from 1979 to 1989 (ages 4 to 14), and my younger sister and brother were also pupils. We all experienced an immense amount of physical and emotional abuse. I was dragged by my hair down flights of stairs, shut in dark rooms and forced to confess to "crimes" I had not committed, and my very real physical disabilities (I have cerebral palsy) were ridiculed as being "all in my mind" - because of this I was forced to take part in sports which I had no hope of ever mastering, and taken for corrective walks with one of the teachers who forced me to walk with my naturally twisted left leg turned straight, which caused me a great deal of pain. These are just two or three of the many abuses I suffered in my ten years there, and are mild in comparison to what some other pupils suffered, as you will see if you read the thread I have directed you to.

As far as the SES itself is concerned, my parents chose to leave the cult (and we are more than happy to refer to it as such) in the late 80s, and promptly lost all their friends and support network. My mother, who was brought up in the SES by her parents (my widowed grandmother remains a member now) has struggled all her life to counteract the effects on her self-confidence and the way she learned to view the world, and we will all suffer emotionally for the rest of our lives. I really don't think we could ever be described as merely "disgruntled".

I have no doubt that Mr Jackman gets a great deal out of being a member of the SoPP, as my grandmother still does out of her membership of the SES, and as I say, I don't wish to disparage the good works he is so obviously doing in his life. However, I feel it is important for you and your readers to know that the SES and the SoPP are not as harmless as they seem, and that when they decide to turn against you, they can do incredible and lasting damage.

I would be very grateful if you would print this letter in your magazine (even if it needs to be edited for length), in the interests of making people aware that there are two sides to this outwardly respectable School.
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

woodgreen
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Re: My letter to Australian GQ (re Hugh Jackman article)

Postby woodgreen » Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:38 pm

Well done ET - the more we put on this forum the more they struggle.
Ex-SES Member. (Member for 3 years in late nineties).

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Re: My letter to Australian GQ (re Hugh Jackman article)

Postby bluegreen » Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:03 am

Well said ET, I hope they print it.
I read the whole article and it almost looked like an advert for SoPP, which led to me wondering if Brendan Shanahan is actually a member. I googled him and he's an independent writer.
St James Girls School 1977-1981

actuallythere
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Re: My letter to Australian GQ (re Hugh Jackman article)

Postby actuallythere » Sun Feb 13, 2011 3:13 pm

I know a little bit about the 'reputation management' business and can give a reasonably informed guess about what happened here. If the reporter was in SES / SoPP then he'd be guilty of a breach of professional ethics by not disclosing the fact. Only the most reckless or amateur of reporters would take such a risk. So my guess is there was no hidden plot by this reporter to put a positive spin on SES through the Jackman interview.

More likely, Jackman's PR company arranged the interview with the reporter and /or GQ itself. This is standard practice in maintaining the profile of minor celebrities such as Jackman, and it is possible that the PR company knows nothing of the SES / SoPP. Jackman was then free to drop whatever he wanted into conversation. Always watch out for minor celebrities indulging in product placement (which they can get paid for) and other public lobbying comments.

It is likely that the reporter felt beholden to Jackman and/or his PR company for receiving the privilege of an interview with Jackman in the first place. Under these circumstances, reporters almost never ask difficult questions, and almost never scrutinize the interview subject in depth. My guess is that during the interview Jackman said this internet forum is full of a bunch of grumblers who have nothing better to do than to make up stories about having had their childhoods wrecked by the organization. It is likely the reporter then repeated what Jackman said, after having done the briefest of research while under time pressure and with a mediocre fee to look forward to.

So yes, this is Jackman's doing. If he really is such a good person (and he is obviously rather fond of this persona), he should be asking himself why he is so breezily dismissing the reams of evidence of childhood neglect caused by the organization he is a member of. He ought to think of the childrens' tears, the nightmares, the suicidal thoughts, the psychological breakdowns that he is pretending don't exist.

It struck me as remarkable that the reporter uses the phrase "too good to be true" in the first paragraph of the article, to describe Jackman. Because as the saying goes: "If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is." All the reporter needs to do is consider the implications of that saying, and go back and ask a few more questions, perhaps in his capacity as columnist at the Australian Daily Telegraph: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?tit ... an_(author)&oldid=394806067

In my opinion the reporter should be given the benefit of the doubt. If he knows what's good for him he'll graciously reply to your complaint on his website, and follow up with some thorough, fair and accurate research into the SES and the SoPP. This will enable him to turn his innocent mistake into a golden opportunity for some investigative reporting and go and interview Mavro's successor, etc. He could even end up on Australian television, talking about his findings, which all started with him being exploited by Jackman. I'm sure the reporter will find some witnesses on this forum - and even legal advice when he inevitably gets bullied with the threat of a libel suit by the SoPP.

If GQ Australia care about credibility then they should do the same - or else risk ending up in Private Eye and elsewhere. GQ head office in New York also need to know about this, because they definitely care about brand management and would not want their name to be sullied by franchises anywhere in the world. So I suggest you carbon copy your letter to GQ's worldwide editor-in-chief, Jim Nelson, with a few choice clippings that show a rather different view of the SES / SoPP. I assume Mr. Nelson would not let a US celebrity get away with rubbishing concerns about Scientology in his magazine. By the same token, he should care about this.
Last edited by actuallythere on Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:52 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: My letter to Australian GQ (re Hugh Jackman article)

Postby bluemoon » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:28 pm

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SES London, 1990-2009, Female

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Re: My letter to Australian GQ (re Hugh Jackman article)

Postby ET » Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:17 am

GQ head office in New York also need to know about this, because they definitely care about brand management and would not want their name to be sullied by franchises anywhere in the world. So I suggest you carbon copy your letter to GQ's worldwide editor-in-chief, Jim Nelson, with a few choice clippings that show a rather different view of the SES / SoPP.


I would happily do this, but am having no luck finding an e-mail address for Mr. Nelson. If anyone else knows it, or knows where I can find it, then please PM me (ie don't post his e-mail address on the public forum!)

Thanks!
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

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Re: My letter to Australian GQ (re Hugh Jackman article)

Postby actuallythere » Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:05 pm

There's a simple way to find out a corporate email address. Open your 'bcc' tab on your email outbox, and put every variation of Jim.Nelson@gq.com into it that you can possibly think of, like jimnelson@gq.com , jnelson@gq.com, jn@gq.com, james@gq.com etc etc. Once you have a bcc list of about 30, then send the spam email - the only one that doesn't bounce back will be his email address. Because its 'blind cc' he won't see the other 29 emails. If it doesn't work, try more.

Make sure you put 'To Jim Nelson, from concerned reader' in the subject field and address your letter to him personally. Perhaps add some SOP (American SES) -related quotes from this website so he understands the connection to his local market and that this is not just some Australian and British issue that he should pass elsewhere.

It is likely his PA will reply, not him, but it is worth a try. You might want to do the same with executives at Marvel Comics and 20th Century Fox - the people behind 'X-men', the childrens movie and associated merchandising that makes Jackman rich. This would be entirely within your rights - Jackman chose to publicly defend the organization that treated you very wrongly as a child - you have the right to reply. You are also entitled to help stop what happened to you from happening to others.

Love, luck and strength,

AT

PS here's a giggle for you: in Jackman's 'X2' "Colonel William Stryker brainwashes and questions the imprisoned Magneto about Professor Xavier's mutant-locating machine, Cerebro. Stryker attacks the X-Mansion, and brainwashes Xavier into locating every mutant on the planet to kill them."

Oh, what satire!

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Re: My letter to Australian GQ (re Hugh Jackman article)

Postby woodgreen » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:45 pm

bluemoon wrote:Actuallythere wrote:

I'm sure the reporter will find some witnesses on this forum - and even legal advice when he inevitably gets bullied with the threat of a libel suit by the SoPP.


It is interesting you should mention that people who have any criticisms about SES tend to be issued with threats about ‘libel’. The ‘blame the victim approach’ down to a fine art. No wonder the hubris in the organisation – they have the conditions in SES so well under their control that they think they can do as they like and if anyone complains, threaten them with libel!

I tried to investigate this issue about libel with a local lawyer, but when I rang up and mentioned I was seeking advice about presenting information on a forum and requested the ‘free’ initial consultation offered on their website to find out what I needed, the lawyer must have practically snatched the phone from his secretary, and he boomed into the phone something about hoping I was serious as he charges £200 an hour! He sounded good! But I am not willing to fork out money to get advice about my own experiences just because the so-called ‘spiritual leader’ of the SES, Donald Lambie, brought up the issue of ‘libel’ when a few months ago I simply passed some notes around to a handful of people who had requested the information.

Now I feel about ready to post these notes (since developed and about 8,500 words long), but am apprehensive because this seems to be the usual response – being threatened with lawyers by the ex-lawyer in charge of the organisation! So much for spirituality! Never needed a lawyer (except for conveyancing) in my life before I met Donald Lambie and the SES!

Anyway I have found out a bit from an American website about libel and wonder if there is anyone out there who could let me know if this is about right in the UK too? It seems that what is stated has to be ‘slanderous’ and presented as ‘fact’ about someone in particular and also has to be shown to be publicised ‘extensively’ in order to be considered as ‘libel’. My work concerns my own experiences and opinions based upon research (which I have made clear), and the only specific person I have mentioned is Donald Lambie, since he holds the ultimate authority over not only the UK SES schools, but international ones and to an extent the linked children’s schools, in the UK at least, according to Marco G’s 1994 Report. None of what I have written is ‘slanderous’ (in my understanding of the term), so I don’t think it could be construed as libellous. However, since some of the intimidation tactics used around the time I left and shortly afterwards involved behaviour which was subsequently denied and I was accused of ‘imagining’, I am not sure how this may be viewed legally if I write about it. This has led to stalling of posting my experiences and analysis of the organisation which I attended for about 20 years.

If anyone has any definite information or advice about this I would be very grateful.

Bluemoon


Hi Bluemoon

I'm appalled at DL's threat to you. If your notes are libellous then some of the content on the Forum must be a hundred times worse, yet as far as I'm aware he has not threatened the Forum or anyone else on it with libel. No doubt he felt able to contact you because he knew you personally and it was a way of trying to "close you down" so to speak. Especially given your lenght of time in the School and the experiences you have had.Typical SES tactics IMO.
The attached advice from Liberty gives general advice on the law - it seems to boil down to whether the info causes DL himself some detriment, rather than the school. But it maybe that if you can stretch to a decent lawyer, you might want to ask him or her to caution DL on the basis that he may be seen to be victimising/harassing you personally because you left the organisation, rather than beacause of the content of the notes. Meantime I'm sure you have our support and understanding of your position with regards to DL.
http://www.yourrights.org.uk/yourrights/right-of-free-expression/defamation/defamation-elements-of-a-claim.html

woodgreen.
Ex-SES Member. (Member for 3 years in late nineties).

bluemoon
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Re: My letter to Australian GQ (re Hugh Jackman article)

Postby bluemoon » Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:42 pm

Re: above post

Thanks Woodgreen, thats very kind of you. I've looked at the link and it's helpful. I must admit I find these matters related to the law very confusing. I don't understand how writing about what happened to you and how the organisation works can be claimed to be libel.

Thanks again, Bluemoon
Last edited by bluemoon on Thu May 24, 2012 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SES London, 1990-2009, Female

actuallythere
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Re: My letter to Australian GQ (re Hugh Jackman article)

Postby actuallythere » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:06 am

Sounds like DL made the remark in passing precisely because he knew that you would worry. I'm sure he doesn't give a hoot about what you or anyone else says about him.

In theory, if you haven't got proof, then all you've got is your word against his, which is why telling the truth about your own personal experience with him could be, in theory, libellous. But to successfully sue for damages requires someone to have been damaged one way or another. Libel tends to be about damage to good reputation, which is worth money. Given DL has no good reputation to damage, it obviously not possible for him to claim compensation for damage to reputation. Just change his name to Dear Leader and post your report before the suspense kills us!

Besides, seeing the head of SES in court would be pure joy. SES cause material damage to thousands of families, by persuading members to leave a quarter of their wills to SES. That is a very serious financial damage that could be compensated for. In the United States, there are countless cases of inheritance lawsuits by families, when wills have been changed in favour of an outsider with influence such as a 'trusted' accountant, a gold-digging lover or a charismatic guru. Given SES's fat cats are into public relations (persuasion), the law (back-covering), tax accounting (connivance), and real estate (greed), I'm sure they'd rather not get into a lawsuit about a little blog post.

Frankly the Charities Commission should be looking into the inheritance issue. If you can turn your devotees into obeying zombies through psychological manipulation, you can engineer their choice to giving you wealth in their will. Advertisers (like Jeremy Sinclair) and PR men (like David Boddy) have been doing this for decades. I doubt the Charities Commission would be happy if they saw all this in the clear light of day - or in a courtroom.

actuallythere
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Re: My letter to Australian GQ (re Hugh Jackman article)

Postby actuallythere » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:17 am

Speaking of Sinclair, I Googled to see what that snake is up to now... and... oh my god...

http://www.moneyweek.com/news-and-chart ... tchi-48135

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Re: My letter to Australian GQ (re Hugh Jackman article)

Postby bluemoon » Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:42 am

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actuallythere
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Re: My letter to Australian GQ (re Hugh Jackman article)

Postby actuallythere » Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:43 am

bluemoon wrote: Never show who they really are, unless challenged, and even then they do it in an underhand manner that is designed to prevent any response. These tactics indicate the ruthless determination to get their own way. Its so clever there must be a known method somewhere. ...what occured was 'subliminal'


Yes there is a known method, it is called 'advertising'. For a good 90 years or so, the business has been all about manipulating our egoes: Men, buy a car and seduce a woman; women, smoke a cigarette and you will become equal (the ad men of the 1920s consciously applied Freudian theories of 'penis envy' when they persuaded women, who did not smoke at the time, to buy their death sticks). SES tactics are advertising tactics. It is no coincidence that Jeremy Sinclair shares the helm, along with PR man David Boddy (Public Relations is just an adapted form of advertising, again using psychological influence techniques based on ego manipulation, etc).

Look at the Townend whitewash by an internal group feigning objectivity, look at SES's cynical appropriation of the catch-phase "truth and reconciliation" (which in South Africa was initiated by the victim, not the abuser), look at the pro-SES book that has just come out: it is all the work of an advertising / PR machine. What kind of school has a PR man instead of a teacher as its headmaster? It is all very tragic for the good natured lost souls who have been taken in, and that they are being laughed at by the ad men at the top who use them like beagles inhaling nicotine in a closed laboratory in Oxfordshire.

However, "shadowy" Jeremy Sinclair is now in the light. I'm sure he finds it very disquieting. Do you, Jeremy? Believe me, Jeremy, the light is on you, and it is staying on you no matter how much you squirm.

woodgreen
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Re: My letter to Australian GQ (re Hugh Jackman article)

Postby woodgreen » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:09 pm

Strong stuff AT - couldn't agree more. Is it the norm that SES members are asked to donate a quarter of their inheritance? If so, the case quoted on the "Guru's multi-million pound spiritual empire" thread is very relevant. The court found that the chap in question had signed over property whilst being "unduly influenced". It may be that the Charity Commission would not act without a specific court decision against the SES, but as you say, it may be time for them to do more on this front.

I just want to say to Bluemoon - if you do "publish and be damned" and DL is foolish enough to take legal action, I'll personally turn up in court to support you. And I'll wave a placard that says "Bluemoon is Innocent. The SES and DL are the defamers of truth!!!". Seriously, you could count on my support, and I hope others on the Forum too. Your explanation of the subliminal antics of DL rang a few bells with me - I had a few looks, stares and other non-verbal
communications in the school that with hindsight were not normal behaviour for grown people supposedly teaching philosophy. "Learned behaviour" no doubt, with the main objective to control the recipient.

Hope I have "unlearned" anything I may have picked up!!

take care
woodgreen.
Ex-SES Member. (Member for 3 years in late nineties).

bluemoon
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Re: My letter to Australian GQ (re Hugh Jackman article)

Postby bluemoon » Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:11 am

Thanks for your support Woodgreen (post above).

Some of the 'material' regarding gender is a paper which is claimed to be conversations between Michael Mavro (whom even Leon M had to dismiss for misconduct eventually) and HH Shantananda Saraswati, but the copy I have of this material (given to me sometime ago by JDA - those that knew him will be familiar with the initials) makes no mention of HH Saraswati, but is simply headed 'Conversations with Michael Mavro'. It was even pointed out to me by one of those in the most senior position in London that it was the questions Mavro asked that were the problem with this 'material', which apart from one are missing from the text.

Returning to the original post of this thread, ET's letter: reading again what you went through ET is so awful that I simply don't know what to say. Thank you for doing the letter. Being in the organisation for so many years without knowing about this side of its history is one of the things I don't think I will ever come to terms with.

Bluemoon
Last edited by bluemoon on Sun May 27, 2012 12:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
SES London, 1990-2009, Female


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