Breaking news: Daily Beast is Tabloid-y re Yoga Scandal!

Via Waylon Lewis
on Apr 16, 2012
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Breaking news: John Friend has holy foursome, manages to keep his underwear on.

Thanks, Daily Beast! Breaking news! John Friend has great sex.

Breaking News via Lizzie Crocker of Daily Beast! 

Can media report controversies in yoga and other mindful communities with both let’s-all-learn-from-our-mistakes-here honesty and integrity, both? Not just one or the other: snarkiness and gossip vs. suppression and sycophantic ass-kissing? That’s my question. ~ ed.

Daily Beast/Newsweek, it seems, has paid (why else?) an (anonymous) ex-Anusaraian High Priestness real money (maybe?) for the tabloid-y/unsurprising revelation that John Friend had an erotic foursome, while apparently keeping his underwear on.

We all have sex (hopefully), good sex (with our underwear off), and if candles and spiritual intent and random “Friends” are involved, congrats to us.

Who’s up for their sex life being jfexposed next? Anyone? No one?


How long does this go on? What’s next?


The only real news I saw in the Daily Beast article?

The below statement goes against other public assurances we’ve received:

…”his publicist wrote in an email to The Daily Beast that “John has not cancelled events in June, but of course unknowns remain.”


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


12 Responses to “Breaking news: Daily Beast is Tabloid-y re Yoga Scandal!”

  1. elephantjournal says:

    Thanks, The Daily Beast! Next up: John Friend likes to shop for groceries, sometimes!

    David Paul Hluchy This is a serious improper behavior. JF misused religion to indulge in reckless, unethical sex.

    Maya Seeingthrough Sounds like "EJ" is kinda envious of what it thinks of as JF's access to a whole lotta free yogini tail. You people have the moral/spiritual depth of a teaspoon. Sounds like you didn't read it, Maya. I don't think anyone could be envious of JF…personally, I appreciate my simple, hard-working, wholesome life of fun service along with many other inspired community members. How are you? ~ Waylon

    As opposed to this piece of integrity and community-killing crap via The Daily Beast,… , a new feature via New York Magazine does Journalism ethics proud:

  2. yogasamurai says:

    Remember "Father Guido Sarducci" on Saturday Night Live with his hilarious "Find the Pope in the Pizza" contest? He dressed as a priest and waved that huge pizza photo around.

    I want to start my own "Find the Guru in the Yoni" contest — and take it on the road, wearing faux-Hindu robes and intoning sacred Sanskrit greetings?

    But DAMMIT, I need that photo from the jfexposed website with the woman's vagina in extreme closeup. You know the one with the labia splayed open by a man's — presumably JF's — fingers? I suspect that yoni belongs to High Priestess Melissa, and was like the group's Sacred Mandala and Oracle?

    Is it trademarked already, or is it part of what's known in the trade as the "creative commons." Of course, I mean the photo of her yoni – not her actual yoni.

    Does anyone know? I see a burgeoning career at Comedy Central ahead.

    Om Namah Shivaye — Hubba Hubba!

  3. Robert M. says:

    The reason why I (and I assume others) find the behaviour of John Friend so objectionable is that it smacks of hypocrisy. The notion of 'transparency' is a very central axiom to the philosophy that is presented by Ansura, and the facts here have been very cloudy and opaque. People are left wondering what really happened. In my case, I know Ansura teachers, and their credentials and careers have _definitely_ been negatively impacted by what's happened here. That makes me angry, because it's unjust that they should be hurt by the behaviour of another person for the crime of accepting John Friend's word at face value.

    My opinion of human culture is that we evolved to be very altruistic and social animals. Our society is our critical competitive advantage over other animals, in that we can cooperate to not only survive but to prosper. However, altruism is vulnerable to abuse. If you look at the extrovert-introvert axis of human personalities, at the extreme end of the introvert you have the selfish autistic. Similarly, at the extreme end of the extrovert you have a narcissistic or sociopath personality which is the extreme we're observing here. We, as a cooperative society, benefit from the diversity of having both tool-builders (introverts) and tribe-builders (extroverts) but both extremes are undesirable and damaging.

    What you are seeing now is a public shaming of John Friend for behaviour that is both unethical and immoral. The purpose of such shaming is not only to discredit Friend, but also to warn other would-be predators that such behaviour will be punished in the forum of public opinion. It's how we make altruistic behaviour beneficial to the tribe as a whole, because without reciprocation altruism is _harmful_ to the person who's being kind and compassionate towards others.

    Incidentally, it is a violation of netiquette to comment on an article and not link to it. It smacks of censorship and I think that behaviour is beneath Elephant Journal. I expect better of the people on the internet whose opinions I read and think about.

  4. yogasamurai says:

    Hey Waylon, on a more serious note, aren't there real issues involved here, even if Daily Beast just focused on the salacious – actually not so salacious – details?

    For example, these folks worked for John and were paid by him? Is that a serious issue? Or not? Modern sexual harassment standards apply to behavior in a work setting that can be perceived as overtly sexual, even if it is consenting.
    If a boss creates an environment of overt sexualization, and worse, creates a hierarchy of work achievement and advancement based on this, a boundary has been crossed.

    Let's say you were Magus Maximus or whatever at EJ and you and Kate and Val were all involved in such a lovely Wicca coven? If you were all consenting, it wouldn't be an issue? If other EJ folks who weren't involved knew about it, that wouldn't be an issue? If any of the folks involved were married, that wouldn't be an issue?

    I'm not actually answering those questions, but between simply exposing details as the Beast piece does, on the one hand, or simply saying, hey, no one's business, on the other, as you seem to be saying — aren't there at least real questions to be asked?

    I have to say – and I have a review of William Broad's book coming out that reinforces this point — that there is just a disturbing lack of willingness in the yoga world to subscribe to ANY standards of public accountability to say nothing, at times, of simple common decency. And it's going to KILL this world.

    This idea that yoga exists in its own self-justifying mystical bubble – that's fine for the couple of hundred thousand rabid enthusiasts at the top of the yoga pyramid — but it's already killing yoga's vast, untapped potential for reaching million of real people in the mainstream leading real lives with real wellness needs – which doesn't include shooting soft-core yoga pornos or engaging in group sex with their boss. There's a reason the yoga market hasn't actually grown that much since 2004 — and it's not just the recession. There's genuine – and justified – contempt and disgust out there.

    Physician – heal thyself. Certainly before you go off in search of healing others, because otherwise, you'll only "do more harm."

  5. elephantjournal says:

    Censorship? Do you know how to Google "Daily Beast John Friend"? You do a disservice to the severity of that charge by "btw"ing that word. Check out China, Iran, Saudi Arabia for censorship.… Here in the US, you're just too lazy to google, apparently.

    My colleague, Kasey, and I put this together…she felt that linking to the trashy coverage (we're fine with criticism, most of the coverage on elephant has been fair and crticial) was helping it along. Commenting on how to offer criticism in an uplifted manner, however, did seem to be important.

  6. elephantjournal says:

    Of course serious issues! And that, as you know better than most, deserves real coverage. See the other article, in New York, for a professional and critical piece.

  7. yogasamurai says:

    I'm not sure it was such a great piece. I think the reporter did an effective job of letting John Friend hang himself in the guise of letting him tell his side of the story — and that's fine. He looks pretty ridiculous perhaps, from the photo to what he says. However, there are quite a few things in the article that I found inaccurate and objectionable, and in general, the idea that this comes down to John Friend and Friend alone is a myth. It's setting the stage for his rehabilitation by the yoga cult that seems lost without him – most cults are – and some of whose members not so secretly and rather desperately still long for "Daddy's" return.

    This is Cult Dynamics 101, basically, and I would have loved – and would still love – to see people ask what is it about the pathology of our times – and about the pathology of being young, white, urban, and female in America perhaps — that creates such fertile ground for the creation of such organizations, and the persistent forms of willful psychological and sexual domination- and faux-celebrity "acting out' – they seem to engender?

    We're well beyond the need for good journalism — we need in-depth sociology and social psychology now.

  8. […] midst of the dismantling of the structures of Anusara. Has anyone come up with a PC way to say it? “The Scandal” sounds dramatic and inflammatory. “The recent events” sounds vague and evasive. […]

  9. […] articles just came out regarding John Friend and Anusara. One is in the Daily Beast within which I am quoted (and read further cause I have plenty to say about that) and one in New […]

  10. […] has already been written about guru-led misconduct, inappropriate student-teacher relationships and tantric […]