Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous (Voyage to the Land of the New Gurus), a controversial television-documentary, presented an investigation of the activities of Landmark Education. The investigative journalism program Pièces à Conviction [Incriminating Evidence] started filming the documentary in 2003, and the channel France 3 broadcast it in France on May 24, 2004.
The documentary has resulted various legal repercussions in France, the Netherlands, Australia and the United States.
The documentary included Alain Roth, a Landmark Forum leader and former head of Landmark Education's now defunct division in France.
Part of the documentary recounts how journalists from Pièces à Conviction originally wanted to interview Roth, but that Landmark Education flew Sophie McLean from New York City to France to speak with them instead.
McLean dismisses the description of her company as a "cult" or even as "cult-like", and disparages the view that its business depends on brainwashing. In support of her contention, she cites three academics: Dr. Raymond Fowler (former president of the American Psychological Association), Prof. Dr. Norbert Nedopil (Chief, department of forensic psychiatry, University of Munich, and French psychiatrist Jean-Marie Abgrall. Landmark paid Abgrall to do a report on it, but later in the documentary Abgrall denies that he took a position either way on characterising Landmark as a cult or not.
In 2005, the Nouvel Observateur news magazine gave an assessment of the back-and-forth in the documentary, stating that "the broadcast of Elise Lucet denounces Landmark Education's fiscal tax arrangements, the use of an army of volunteers and the existence of involvement as a defendant in prosecutions for "abuse of weakness and mental manipulations" into a murder case." The article went on to state that days after the airing of the documentary, Alain Roth had "strangely disappeared" from a guest introduction event at the Landmark Education offices. Sophie McLean presented the Nouvel Observateur staff with a "denial/disclaimer that carefully avoids the more sensible/delicate points of reporting" — which stated that Landmark Education is subject to criticism and being misunderstood, because of their "leading edge" pedagogy.
"Journey to the Land of the New Gurus", originally known in French as "Voyage Au Pays Des Nouveaux Gourous" (wikipedia link).
This is a French documentary with English sub-titles. Due to the need to have legible captions, this video has been encoded at a higher rate. If you have a slow internet connection, a transcript of the documentary is available.
Hint: If you would rather download the original AVI file of the video for local viewing, access a bit-torrent download.
Also, click here for more content on Landmark Education and EST .
Credits and bibliography
The host Elise Lucet credited the following works at the end of the program:
- Grande enquête sur la Scientologie: une secte hors la loi [Major inquiry into Scientology: a cult beyond the law], by Arnaud Palisson, published by Favre, 2003. ISBN 2-8289-0733-3
- Les Sectes [Cults], by Thomas Lardeur, published by Presses de la Renaissance, 2004. ISBN 2-7509-0008-5
- Charlie Hebdo, Hors Serie, Landmark Education : Des métastases dans le business [Landmark Education: Transformations in business], May 2004, 98 pages.
The news program's bibliography listed the following works:
- Les sectes dans l'entreprise [Cults in the work-place], by Thomas Lardeur. Éditions d'Organisation.
- Et Satan créa la secte [Satan Created the Cult: Memoirs of an escapee], by Mona Vasquez
- Les sectes [Cults], by Alain Vivien. Éditions Odile Jacob. [2003, ISBN 2-7381-1284-6 ]
- Méchaniques du destin [Mechanics of Destiny], by Pierre de Roo Calmann-Lévy [2004, ISBN 2-7021-3172-7 ]
- L'Empire des ténèbres [The Realm of Shadows], by Brigitte Marouani. Jacques-Marie Laffont [2003, ISBN 2-84928-015-1 ]
- Enquête sur les manipulations mentales [Investigation into Mental Manipulations], by Gordon Thomas. Albin Michel [1989, ISBN 2-226-03780-2 ]
- Tous manipulés, tous manipulateurs [Everyone manipulated, everyone manipulating], by Dr. Jean-Marie Abgrall. First Editions [2003, ISBN 2-87691-743-2 ]
- La Méchanique des sectes [The Mechanics of Cults], by Dr. Jean-Marie Abgrall. Payot [New revised and expanded edition: 2002, ISBN 2-228-89505-9 ]
- Les sectes[: Savoir les reconnaître, Comprendre leurs mécanismes, Les combattre efficacement, Aider les victimes] [Cults: how to recognize them, how to understand their mechanisms, how to fight them effectively, how to help the victims], by Thomas Lardeur. Presses de la Renaissance. [2004, ISBN 2-7509-0008-5 ]
- Grande enquête sur la scientologie[: Une secte hors la loi] [A Major Enquiry into Scientology: A cult outside the law], by Arnaud Palisson. Éditions Favre [2003, ISBN 2-8289-0733-3 ]
- 20 ans de lutte contre les sectes [20 Years of Struggle Against the Cults], by Janine Tavernier. Michel Lafon [ 2003, ISBN 2-84098-914-X ]
- Petit traité de manipulation à l'usage des honnêtes gens [A brief treatise on the manipulation of ordinary folk], by Robert-Vincent Joule and Jean-Léon Beauvois. PUG [Presses Universitaires de Grenoble, new edition: 2004, ISBN 2-7061-1044-9 ]
- La dérive sectaire [The Sectarian Drift], by Anne Fournier and Michel Monroy. PUF [Presses Universitaires de France, 1999 ISBN 2-13-049770-5 ]
- Le retour du Diable[: Satanaisme, Exorcisme, Extrême droite] The Return of the Devil: Satanism, Exorcism, and the Extreme Right, by Paul Aries. Gloias [1997, ISBN 2-911453-21-2 ]
- La scientologie, laboratoire du Futur[?] [Scientology, Laboratory of the Future?], by Paul Aries. Golias [1998, ISBN 2-911453-44-1 ]
- Satanisme, le retour de la Bête [Satanism, the Return of the Beast], by Paul Aries. Golias
- Ce que coaching veut dire [What Coaching Means], Gilles Forestier. Editions d'Organisation
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