Werner Erhard (60 Minutes)

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Werner Erhard is an investigative journalism piece by 60 Minutes about Werner Erhard. It was hosted by journalist Ed Bradley of CBS News and broadcast on CBS in the United States on March 3, 1991.


Alphabetized by author
Werner Erhard in 1979
  • In a nutshell, Erhard's message was this: If you are in a rut, the problem isn't your parents, your boss or the system, it's you. Take responsibility, Erhard said, and you can transform your life overnight.
  • Who was the role model, the living example of what the est Training could do? Who else but Werner Erhard, a man some of his employees say, thought of himself, as god.
  • There is only one appropriate response to these allegations, to heal and restore my family. And that is what I will do. To respond to the accusations at this time, would only further publicly exploit my family, and there has already been enough of that.
    • Werner Erhard
  • I am god...he did say sometimes in staff meetings.
    • Dr. Bob Larzelere, former Director of the Well Being Department at Erhard Seminars Training


Alphabetized by author
Werner Erhard in 2010
  • Werner Erhard, last sighted in Costa Rica, has dropped his megabucks libel suit against CBS' 60 Minutes, which did a number on him about a year ago. Nice guy that he is, he sent checks for $100 to each of the 20 defendants to cover the filing fee they had to pay to answer his charges of 'a conspiracy to defame and ruin me'.
  • Werner Erhard has been sued successfully (his defenders say the plaintiffs won only because he did not show up in court to make his case), and he sued 60 Minutes himself for its 1991 story. Erhard later dropped the suit, he told Larry King during a December 1993 radio interview, because his lawyers told him he would have to prove not only that the TV show knew the material aired wasn't true, but that 60 Minutes used it maliciously. To King, Erhard denied the allegations of sexual and physical abuse, saying his family members had been pressured by CBS and had since recanted.
  • 60 Minutes was about to air a story in which one of Erhard's daughters claimed he had molested her and raped her sister. (Erhard denied the allegations, and the daughter later said that a journalist induced her to make them with the promise of a million-dollar book deal.) The IRS was taking an interest in an elaborate system of companies that Erhard's lawyer Harry Margolis had set up for him. (One of Erhard's lawyers says that Erhard and the IRS have resolved their differences.) The implication in the media was that Erhard simply fled to avoid these troubles.
  • After an hour of 60 Minutes, Erhard was as dead as Audi. One might have thought that Werner Erhard, the company, was beyond saving. Not true. The name was destroyed, but not the company.
    • Al Ries (2007). Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It. HarperBusiness. p. 164. ISBN 978-0060799908. 
  • Before the CBS program ran, but with knowledge of what it would likely say, Erhard sold the assets of Werner Erhard & Associates to his former employees and moved to Costa Rica. The new name: Landmark Education Corporation.
    • Al Ries (2007). Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It. HarperBusiness. p. 164. ISBN 978-0060799908. 
  • Erhard's lawyers sent CBS affidavits from his sister and brother and from a few of his close associates disputing some of the stories from his children and denying that Erhard ever abused his wife.
  • One of his daughters went on 60 Minutes to air allegations of sexual abuse. Erhard sold his 'technology' to his employees and left the country. No criminal charges were ever filed against Erhard, and the claims were never proven; his daughter later recanted and said she was coerced by a San Jose Mercury News reporter into making the abuse allegations. Erhard later sued the IRS, claiming it made false statements about him, and the agency settled with him for $200,000. Still, the damage was done. Erhard was out, and Landmark was in. The new company, Landmark Education, was incorporated in California in 1991 and is headquartered in San Francisco, owned by its employees and led by Erhard's brother Harry Rosenberg, the chief executive officer.

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