Today, Dave Hasz announced “big” changes to ESOAL. It will now be called the PEARL LTE, the Physical, Emotional and Relational Learning Event.
Lest you assume that this means substantial changes to ESOAL, please note he says they will “retire with honor the name ESOAL.”
So, first off they are giving honor to ESOAL.
There is no acknowledgement of wrong doing, wrong teaching or abuse. There is no apology to hurt and victimized interns.
He goes on to say:
“The objective of ESOAL has changed as well.” He says that it is a “big game” of role play to put into practice things you are learning and build teamwork. He emphasizes that it is “not real.”
Does this mean he will no longer teach the BAR (Burial and Resurrection) theology? Because that has very real effects on someone’s spiritual life. In fact, the (supposed) ENTIRE POINT of ESOAL in the past was to reach the “burial of your flesh and resurrection of your spirit.” Not sure how that is something you can “role play.” Is he now repudiating this teaching? Or will this teaching still be an integral part of ESOAL 2.0?,
These are questions that need answers.
The only real specific he gives is that they will no longer use military terms. For example, majors will now be “coaches.” No mention if those “coaches” will still scream derogatory remarks in the interns faces or not. No mention if interns will be given adequate rest, food and medical care.
He says that in 2007-2008, ESOAL went through significant changes. In fact, he claims that the ESOAL of recent years is vastly different from the early years (mainly because he wants all the old interns to shutup). Of course, in recent years there have been developments like the “quarantine tent” where interns with various ailments like Meningitis are sent after ESOAL. In fact, at least one intern that we know of almost died in 2009. Is this the same event you are praising, Dave?
Dave says that the PEARL is “similar” to the ESOAL of the last 3-4 years. This is an absolutely genuis (and devious) PR trick. He knows that all of our video footage is from years previous to this. This is, I believe, nothing more than a blatant attempt to distance the brand of Teen Mania from the disgusting manipulation and outright physical and spiritual abuse that we have systematically documented, going back over 10 years. Teen Mania is terrifed of the truth and this is the only way they can think of to make themselves look good for future interns without ever having to apologize or make things right with past interns. This is disgraceful, shameful behavior for someone who calls themselves a Christian.
Of course, we don’t know exactly what this event will hold until after it goes down (and likely months or years afterwards – when people finally get the courage to come forward.) But I’m willing to take Dave at his word that the PEARL will be similar to the ESOAL events from the last 3-4 years. In my next post, I will run a story from the 2009 ESOAL and you can decide if it has really changed for the better.
From now on, you can bet that Teen Mania’s standard reply to concernced journalists, interns and parents is “We don’t do ESOAL anymore. That’s in the past.”