Scientology pamphlets in Woolworths: Australian Medical Association hits out

7 News, Australia/May 15, 2020

By Bryan Seymour

he Church of Scientology is under fire for plastering a shopping centre with pamphlets claiming to provide advice on pandemic health and safety.

As reported by, Woolworths had already removed the booklets from its Chatswood Supermarket north of Sydney after a ‘horrified’ shopper brought them to the attention of store management.

“I was horrified,” said Jordan Smith, who posted the pamphlets on Facebook. “This is completely inappropriate.”

As if Covid-19 weren’t bad enough, Scientology is now promoting itself as a source of health and safety expertise to deal with it.

The publication has been condemned by the Australian Medical Association.

“I approached the duty manager, and she said it’s the customers’ choice to pick it up , and choose if they want to take that information in,” Mr Smith said.

In a statement, Woolworths said they do not endorse the pamphlets and have had them removed.

“We didn’t authorise the placement of these materials in our check-outs. As soon as this was brought to the attention of our team by a customer, the pamphlets were removed and discarded,” a spokesman said.

The Australian Medical Association said the content appeared to be written in the United States and is not relevant here.

“It is frustrating for us to see this information, and misinformation being spread to consumers at a time when people are feeling panicked anyway,” said Dr Danielle McMullen, AMA NSW President.

On Friday more pamphlets were on display in shops throughout the same shopping centre. Some retailers removed them when they were told they were produced by Scientology.

One retailer told 7NEWS she thought ‘they were from the government’.

This information campaign is being directed by Scientology’s leadership in the United States, where yesterday parents in Florida were horrified to find the same pamphlets placed in their children’s school lunch bags.

It is a pattern of behaviour for self-promotion by Scientology called ‘safepointing’; aligning itself with legitimate groups and campaigns to try to establish credibility and lure new recruits.

They incited outrage after conducting PR photo shoots at the Grenfell Tower fire in London- and after the devastating Haiti Earthquake.

In Melbourne, Scientology was recently banned from promoting its controversial purification rundown in schools.

“Don’t take health advice from the Church of Scientology, rely on doctors and the Health Department,” Dr McMullen said.

Scientology has been widely criticised for initially denying the pandemic and flouting social distancing.

Mr Smith said he became aware of Scientology propaganda campaigns after he watched the Emmy Award-winning program Scientology and the Aftermath, featuring former members Leah Remini and Mike Rinder.

The Church of Scientology did not respond to questions or a request for an interview from 7NEWS.

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