Christian Parenting Author Gary Ezzo Sues Australian Psychologist In Free Speech Dispute

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A Christian author is suing an Australian psychologist in a suit that claims the psychologist defamed him in an article published in 2002.

–South Carolina-based Christian parenting author Gary Ezzo is currently involved in a controversial lawsuit against Robin Grille, an Australian psychologist who has been a longtime critic of Ezzo's parenting materials. Ezzo is founder of Growing Families International (GFI) and author of On Becoming Babywise.

Unless this case is settled out of court, Grille is facing a trial in early 2004 as a result of Ezzo's defamation lawsuit against him. The suit alleges that an article that Grille published in Sydney's Child in 2002 has defamed him. He is asking for an apology and legal fees from Grille.

Mark Friedgut, the Ezzo lawyer prosecuting this case, was so unprofessional in his filings before an Australian judge that she went out of her way to criticize his behavior in one of her preliminary rulings: Ezzo vs. Grille (Ezzo v Grille 2003, NSWSC 776; 21 August 2003; NEW SOUTH WALES SUPREME COURT)

Ezzo was forced to pay $40,000 in Australian currency as a security payment before the case could proceed.

The lawsuit is odd on its face because Ezzo settled out of court with the editor of Sydney's Child last year over this Grille article. In an effort to mollify Ezzo, the magazine issued an apology, allowed Ezzo to publish his own article in the magazine, and paid him an undisclosed sum to avoid a costly court battle. The article, "Fundamentalism: The War Against Children," surveyed what Grille considered serious threats to the well-being of children. Both Sydney's Child and Grille assumed the issue was behind them.

It appears that Gary Ezzo's current lawsuit against Grille was triggered by a subsequent letter that the psychologist had sent to the editor of the Australian Association For Infant Mental Health (AAIMH). In this letter, he urged mental health professionals to be wary of Ezzo's parenting materials.

His letter was thoroughly vetted by lawyers before being published in the AAIMH newsletter in March, 2003. It quoted numerous other parenting experts who had already spoken out against Ezzo's questionable parenting advice. Those experts included: Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, British parenting expert Penelope Leach, Laura Basi Zapf, Kathleen Auerbach, Dr. Matthew Aney, Dr. James Dobson with Focus on the Family, the British National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and others.

Even though Sydney's Child settled with Ezzo over the fundamentalism article, he is now trying to silence the free speech rights of a prominent critic of his materials in Australia.

“It is clear to me that Gary Ezzo is trying to suppress the free speech of an Australian psychologist because this professional disagrees with his parenting materials,” said former Growing Families International Editorial Director Frank York. “Grille simply quoted what a number of other parenting experts have already said about Ezzo’s flawed parenting advice—and offered his own expert opinion as well. In the past, Ezzo has tried to punish those who criticize his ideas and materials. Now, he’s threatening a psychologist who is attempting to inform his colleagues about the pros and cons of Ezzo parenting in Australia. Grille actually urges them to read Ezzo’s books to form their own opinions.”

Free Speech Lawsuit Is Part Of A Pattern Of Behavior

“Ezzo is no stranger to controversy,” said York. “He has attacked other critics in the past—like Roy Maynard, former reporter for WORLD, a Christian magazine.” He also noted that Ezzo has been exposed for plagiarizing and fabricating quotes in his writings.

The former GFI editorial director exposed three examples of Ezzo’s fabrication of quotes and plagiarism in an article published by Midwest Christian Outreach in 2002. MCO is a cult-watch group based in Illinois.

York’s article, “Adventure in Ezzoland” describes how Ezzo fabricated an interview with journalist Roy Maynard in an effort to discredit him; how Ezzo created fraudulent dialogue in a GFI newsletter; and how he plagiarized the writings of syndicated columnist/psychologist Barbara Lerner for an article he had written on Narcissism and the Columbine Massacre.

“When I was working for Ezzo,” said York, “I found that he had little regard for truth in his writings. I was shocked that he was willing to publish a fraudulent ‘verbatim’ interview with Roy Maynard, on the GFI web site. Ezzo was attempting to discredit Maynard for writing a WORLD article that appeared unfavorable to GFI.”

“It is now clear that Ezzo continues to seek revenge on anyone who criticizes his writings,” said York. “Mr. Ezzo appears to be threatened by the professional observations of child development experts like Robin Grille. Ezzo’s filing of this lawsuit violates Mr. Grille’s freedom of speech and is designed to silence Grille’s legitimate concerns about the safety of Ezzo’s materials.”

Ezzo Publicly Condemned By Two Former Pastors And Dropped By His Publisher

Ezzo’s reputation for coloring the truth is well known by his former pastors. Two of his former pastors, John MacArthur with Grace Community Church and Dave Maddox, with Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship, have both publicly rebuked Ezzo for engaging in a pattern of lies and slander. As Pastor MacArthur has said: "It appears rather obvious on biblical grounds that Mr. Ezzo's refusal to heed his own church's discipline disqualifies him from Christian leadership or public ministry in any context. After all, the first and most important qualification for those who would lead the church is that they be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2, 10; Titus 1:6).”

Ezzo was dropped by his publishing company, Multnomah Publishers, in September, 2001. Christianity Today (3/23/01) detailed why. He has since created a vanity press and now self-publishes his materials. For additional details about Gary Ezzo, including information on character, theological, and medical concerns in his books, access the web site.


Robin Grille, 61-2-999-0035; email:; Gary Ezzo's attorney: Mark Friedgut, 61-2-9005-5188; email:; Joan and Bill Grosser, Growing Families Australia, 08-9446-1671; fax: 08-9446-1671; email:; Gary Ezzo:; 843-388-2693. Additional background material available on contact: Frank York, 615-885-6356.


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