The Hunger Artist: Let Them Eat est

The 1978 Mother Jones article in which “we confront Werner Erhard with our awareness of his manifestation of what we’re clear is a big scam.”

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IN 1977, EST GURU Werner Erhard had a vision: He was going to end world hunger by 1997. To that end, he started the Hunger Project, a nonprofit that quickly picked up celebrity sponsors including John Denver, Valerie Harper, and Jimmy Carter‘s son Chip. But, as Mother Jones reported in December 1978, the group had no intention of actually feeding the starving, just raising “awareness” of hunger—and est. The article also exposed Erhard’s complicated web of offshore tax shelters. In response, est threatened to sue. It didn’t, but participants in one seminar were instructed to “focus all your negative energy on the people responsible for this terrible slander.” Twelve years after it was supposed to become obsolete, the Hunger Project now has only one former Erhard associate on its board and notes it has “no ties to Mr. Erhard or his interests.”

READ THE 1978 ARTICLE ON EST

 

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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