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Complainant Name:
Marcus Czarnecki

Clauses Noted: 1, 2

Publication: The Sunday Times


Marcus Czarnecki complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had published an article about Soka Gakkai Buddism that incorrectly termed it as "celebrity Buddhism" and falsely stated that Richard Gere practised this form of Buddhism. He was further concerned that the suggestion in the article that celebrities joined the organisation when they suffered "love-life" problems was misleading. He pointed out that, contrary to the implication in the article, the organisation did not accept donations from those outside the movement.


The complaint was resolved when the Press Complaints Commission negotiated the publication of the following letter:

In "The trippy new breathing therapy" (Style, February 7) you offered a definition of Soka Gakkai Buddhism that was replete with errors. You describe it as "celebrity Buddhism", which is misleading. There are several famous people in our membership, but your comment that they "tend to join when they have love-life problems" is so arbitrary that it insults me, let alone them. One of the names you mention, Richard Gere, is not a member of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI). In addition, we do not accept donations from the public, which your article indicated we welcome.

Marcus Czarnecki

A member of SGI UK, Grimsby

Date Published: 03/05/2010

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