Emily Watson discusses growing up in 'cruel cult'

"There was extreme behaviour, cruelty and unpleasantness that was very damaging for some people"

Yahoo News/March 20, 2023

By Sam Moore

Emily Watson has opened up about growing up in the School of Economic Science, the religion of which her parents were members.

Before Watson was expelled from the organisation in 1996 due to her role in Breaking the Waves, she had attended the institution's schools in London which have been the subject of allegations relating to assault.

Discussing the School of Economic Science in a new interview with The Guardian, Watson said: “There was extreme behaviour, cruelty and unpleasantness that was very damaging for some people.

"I’m sure it’s a very different place now, but [the SES] was a very young organisation that had no protection built in for the welfare of children."

The Punch Drunk Love actor added: “There are very beautiful things around it as well that you learn as you’re growing up. I was quite conflicted. I think those organisations keep people close through fear. A lot of religions work in that way. It’s a lot of unravelling to try and see the wood for the trees.”

Watson also detailed her expulsion from the organisation following the release of the controversial Breaking the Waves which features the actor in nude scenes.

She said: “If it hadn’t been that it would have been something else. This was something that they very strongly disapproved of. I stood up for myself, and that was that. It was a tough moment in my life, but a defining moment and a very strengthening moment. You learn from these things.”

The School of Economic Science has faced numerous allegations of child abuse relating to its schools and, according to the BBC, the organisation has paid out around £1million in compensation to former students.

Hugh Jackman has also been a member of the organisation since 1991 and has said he regularly attends the SES's branches in Australia.

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