Scientology-funded exhibition shut down

A confronting exhibition set up in a mall by a branch of the Church of Scientology is being closed down earlier than planned.

Christmas shoppers at Westfield Mall in Manukau may have noticed a free exhibition run by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) over the past four days.

The group was established by the Church of Scientology, although this link was not made clear in any signage on the shop front. A CCHR spokesman said it was written in the materials given to visitors through the exhibition.

"We are upfront about that," said Mike Ferriss. "It's in the materials and if people ask, that's fine."

He also explained to Newshub that the display would shut down this evening, because he conceded some of the imagery was not "family friendly" for Christmas shoppers, but denied that children would have seen pictures of mental health patients strapped to hospital beds.

Information panels also showed pictures of children who allegedly died from "psychiatric constraints".

Ferriss was asked whether he felt the mall was an appropriate place for the display.

"I think any place is appropriate, if it's actually going to get to the public and show them what is actually happening in the field of mental health."

Material that had been sent out by the group, advertising the exhibition, told Scientologists that it would run until December 29, but Ferriss said there was now no plan to continue over Christmas.

High-profile scientologist Tom Cruise has described psychiatry as a "quack" field and criticised actress Brooke Shields for taking anti-depressants for postpartum depression.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists told Newshub they had a policy not to comment on claims made by the CCHR, and as such, did not wish to comment on the exhibition on display in Manukau.


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