Germany Investigates Munich’s Haus der Kunst After Employee Pressures Staff to Join Church of Scientology

Germany’s Bavaria Intelligence Agency is currently investigating whether Munich’s Haus der Kunst—a noncollecting contemporary art institution—has been infiltrated by Scientologists after an employee with ties to the Church of Scientology was dismissed for placing “great psychological pressure” on staff members and allegedly discriminating against non-Scientologists during the hiring process, Deutsche Welle reports.

Director Okwui Enwezor held a staff meeting on March 2 to address the issue, and he fired the unnamed employee after reviewing numerous complaints about his behavior. The employee, who began working as a freelance accountant at the institution in 1995 and eventually became an external personnel manager, was actively attempting to recruit colleagues to join the religion.

Following the incident, Parliamentarian Isabell Zacharias claimed that there is “evidence that there might even be significantly more Scientologists in the Haus der Kunst” and is urging the Bavarian culture ministry to look into the entire management team at the gallery as well as its former directors.

One of the employees who complained about the Scientologist wrote a letter to the gallery’s board in February, which read: “I wouldn’t be writing here if the man called Mr. Scientology would only operate privately. The ideology flows directly into his work.” The employee added that the manager had invited at least three board members to accompany him to a Scientology center.

German lawyer and Scientology specialist Arnd Diringer said that this is “the most interesting Scientology case we’ve had so far in Germany.” Diringer continued to say that should the case be brought to court it could expose the state’s complicated history with the church, which has been subject to a high level of scrutiny by the German authorities. Officials have been monitoring the activities of the church for more than twenty years, citing its political agenda as a concern, specifically its mission to influence the “state, politics, and the economy in order to subject them to Scientologist aims.”