A multimillionaire tries to silence our authors: why Bart and Patrick need your financial support

15-10-2020

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Our Belgian authors, Patrick Vermeren (56) and Bart Van de Ven (37) are being sued by a multimillionaire, Carl Van de Velde – a proclaimed business coach who promises small businesses pure gold – and his ‘Training Institute’ – for defamation, claiming 400,000 euro (470,000 US $) compensation.

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It was heartwarming to see how much support and funds were raised for the case of Britt Marie Hermes (37) who now lives in Germany. She used to be a naturopathic ‘doctor’ until she ‘retired from the profession in 2014’ and blew the whistle in her blog www.naturopathicdiaries.com. She was sued for defamation by the American naturopath Colleen Huber, who lost the case before a German Court on May 24th, 2019. Thanks to an action of the Australian Skeptic’s Inc., more than 50,000 euro (59,000 US $) has been raised to help defend Britt against Huber.

Our Belgian authors, Patrick Vermeren (56) and Bart Van de Ven (37) are being sued by a multimillionaire, Carl Van de Velde – a proclaimed business coach who promises small businesses pure gold – and his ‘Training Institute’ www.carlvandevelde.be – for defamation, claiming 400,000 euro (470,000 US $) compensation.

In our opinion, this action is purely inspired by a chilling effect, to frighten off skeptics that give their opinion. Patrick and Bart won the case before the Court of First Instance in Ghent, Belgium. So far, legal costs amount to 53,000 euros (62,000 US $). However, Carl Van de Velde decided to bring the case to the Court of Appeal. They are facing lengthy court proceedings and more legal costs.

We therefore appeal to the international skeptic community to support the two authors of the Belgian SKEPP and hope to receive the same (financial) support as Britt Hermes.


More on the article and the legal action

Our authors wrote a skeptical article in the Belgian SKEPP magazine about two companies active in the field of human resources that use dubious theories such as NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) and characterization of people based on their skull (phrenology) and physiognomy (interpretation of outward appearance, in this case of face and hair). One of the two companies discussed in the article was about the Carl Van de Velde Training Institute.

The modus operandus of Carl Van de Velde is very similar to that of Tony Robbins (www.tonyrobbins.com) and American TV preachers. He speaks to a wide audience and whips people up to the point that they get excited and start believing they can get rich if they follow his advice.

Bart and Patrick have – based on careful research of multiple sources - criticized the content of the pseudo-scientific master classes as well as the marketing tricks Van de Velde uses to attract participants.

Carl Van de Velde and his ‘Training Institute’ have been very successful financially. Van de Velde uses his deep pockets to scare and silence critics and skeptics. (International) solidarity between skeptics is our best bet in order to preserve the freedom of speech and to remain skeptic both in writing and verbally.

 

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Note: Excess funds, if any, will be used to support the educational activities of SKEPP and to fund the International Legal Defense Fund which is currently being set up by the international community.

Authors
SKEPP vzw
Publication date
15-10-2020