The Truth Behind The Daily Mail Article And Smear Campaign Towards Lighthouse International Group
A walk through of the full Daily Mail ‘Exposed..’ article; all the original text, along with crucial facts they ignored.
To date NO EVIDENCE has been provided despite numerous requests. We have extensive evidence to prove these allegations false but cannot release it due to the Data Protection Act.
4 Reasons Behind The Daily Mail Article On Lighthouse International...
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
1. Coming To Christ Brought Persecution
- In the year preceding this article and attacks, a large group of us including Paul S. Waugh became Christian. We have learnt this is one of the biggest reasons for us being smeared in the press & online by malignantly toxic families and individuals.
We have served over 70,000 people in the past and had hardly any complaints whatsoever. Now we face baseless claims about all of us rooted in the hatred for our Christianity.
2. Controlling Toxic Families & Individuals Attack Us Online
- As we grew in ourselves and our Lord Jesus Christ, three groups of people came together to harass us. Controlling family members, ex-business partners & spurned mentees actively sought out each other and anyone with grievances against Lighthouse.
- These anti-Christian false accusations & racist attacks were made online on Reddit for 21 months. They sought to use the Daily Mail as a platform to legitimise their malicious campaign of constructive sabotage. We pray for these people every day.
3. No Evidence For Their Claims
- Despite numerous requests the Daily Mail have provided no evidence for their claims in this article beyond heresay and a manipulated recording.
- We have thousands of hours of recordings, transcripts and emails which completely refute these claims and render them false but we cannot release our evidence due to data protection.
- There is a potential personal connection between a senior member of the Mail’s staff and a sibling of one of our Associate Partners. If confirmed, this is a potential conspiracy of corruption and malicious act of defamation by the Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail did no serious investigation or fact-checking. They hung the responsibility for the 'accusations' in the article on the shoulders of their sources.
4. IPSO Are Now Actively Investigating The Daily Mail & Its Sources.
- The Independent Press Standards Organisation have now accepted our complaint and evidence which completely renders this article and it's sources claims false. We await the outcome of this investigation to clear our good name.
- The article has been used as a weapon by convicted criminals we have never met to harass us as they have become obsessed with Paul S. Waugh & Lighthouse.
- They hurt and nearly destroyed many sensitive and honest people here. This continues daily despite increasing police intervention.
- Despite being the most targeted by these assailants, Paul S. Waugh has stated on numerous occasions that he would be there to help any ex-partners and family members if their physical safety was at risk and offered to meet them numerous times to reconcile.
- We continue to pray for these people every day despite their hate towards us.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven..
A big thank you to the anonymous ex clients who came forward recently & added much needed truth ..balance and clarity online in relation to the anti Lighthouse malicious falsifiers! Thank you also to all the ex clients who attempted to do the same but were attacked & cancelled🙏— Paul Stephen Waugh (@PaulWaugh64) October 31, 2022
EVERYTHING that the malicious Lighthouse predators have done to us has helped us grow in strength and character in Christ and is now just serving to help others who are being attacked no less children! Predatory trolls and trolls are not wanted by employers or customers🙏..— Paul Stephen Waugh (@PaulWaugh64) November 18, 2022
Truth Behind The Daily Mail’s Article On Lighthouse International Group
Welcome friends. Our aim here on this page is to walk you through the full Daily Mail article about us, section by section and to reveal the whole truth and context to its claims that was ignored and omitted by the journalists involved. We have done this in order for those who seek the truth to know the truth.
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” – John 7:24
It can be no coincidence that, within months of the majority of our associate partners becoming openly Christian, a handful of partners chose to leave Lighthouse and the first online attacks began against us.
For those who understand the spiritual warfare happening in this world, they will know that lies, deception, manipulation and character assassination are chief weapons of those seeking to suppress the truth and attack those who serve Christ. We are not hiding from truth, we want to expose it, because the truth is what will set all of us free.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12
Essential Context To This Rebuttal
These facts alone are enough to discredit and refute what has been written.
We have repeatedly asked the Daily Mail and its sources for their permission to release our evidence. Data protection legislation currently prevents us from releasing anything publicly unless this is given. However, we have heard nothing but silence from them on this matter. Where we have released certain information wrongly, in our work to defend ourselves, we have been lept on, chastised and relentlessly persecuted for it.
The paper and its sources have kept silent and ignored these requests because they know the evidence we have – written by their own hands and coming from their own mouths in recordings – categorically refutes and discredits the malicious and defamatory claims they’ve made. So much so that, when released, it will damningly expose (ironically given its title) their levels of deceit, manipulation and malice for what it is and who they are.
“Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips.” – Proverbs 24:8
We have done nothing criminal and no legal action has been taken against us. Not one person quoted or mentioned in this article or outside of it has taken any legal steps against Paul S. Waugh or Lighthouse International. Not even a single legal letter has been received directly relating to this, nor have we heard anything from the police or law enforcement of any kind since the toxic online smear campaign began in March 2021.
Where necessary we repent for mistakes and will always make amends where necessary. However, those behind this article and quoted within it have ignored ongoing efforts from us to privately resolve their grievances. They have shown they are not interested in reconciliation or repentance. Their motive is only to destroy our reputations, livelihoods and our well-being, including that of our children and the families connected to us who have all had to endure and suffer through this with us.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15
Helping Those Who Have Also Been Attacked & Defamed
We want to use this experience of being viciously attacked online and in the media to help others who have also been attacked like this. We are also appealing to those who see the danger of this and want to protect their businesses and families from the possibility of constructive sabotage like this happening to them too.
Our experience has shown we are all vulnerable to constructive sabotage (the deliberate and malicious act of trying to destroy a person or group’s reputation and opportunities through whatever numerous means possible). For nearly 18 years Lighthouse went without anything like this happening to us, which showed us that, just because it hasn’t happened to someone yet, doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t happen in future.
Because of this we are building a ‘Groundswell’ community to help protect one another, as well as offering our support and expertise through products and services that help teach others how to defend themselves, their families, their children and their businesses from malicious online trolling and constructive sabotage.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” – Ephesians 4: 31-32
An Article Based On Accusations, Not Facts
The full article is included below in blue italicised text, along with the necessary context from us that the Daily Mail ignored. The level of deception and manipulation of events will help serve as an example of exactly what constructive sabotage is about and what it can look like. Through this we want to show you how we’ve handled this situation, how it’s strengthened us and how we’re now well qualified to provide opportunities for others to learn how to protect themselves online against similar vicious attacks. Whilst those involved here have done an enormous amount of damage to our lives, families and business through their malice and bare faced deceit, we pray for them and ask all those reading this to do so with us too.
“Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world” – 1 Peter 5:9
The above clearly sensationalised title and bullet points are where the Daily Mail article begins. The rest of the article follows below (in blue italicised text) along with interjections from Lighthouse International Group to add the crucial missing facts and context for a balanced and fair perspective.
The Daily Mail’s Tom Kelly & Adam Luck claim above that we have “fleeced” and “threatened” our ex-clients and yet, as mentioned already, none of these people have taken any legal action or instigated any criminal investigation. This is despite us encouraging them to take us to court, so we can present our evidence.
They have used the term “sinister”, yet there is nothing in the article that provides any credence, proof or substance to this claim that could not have easily been made up or distorted, as much of it has been.
None of these accusers, all of whom were happily involved for many years, made any such claims until AFTER they decided to leave Lighthouse. Their claims were only made once they were denied refunds they were not entitled to and our evidence will show this in their own messages and conversations on record.
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.” – James 4:1-2
As you begin to read, take note of the frequent use of terms such as ‘is accused’ and ‘members said’ or ‘they say’. The reason for this is that all of the information used in this article is based on the hearsay of a handful of individuals where no tangible proof or evidence has been provided to substantiate these claims. The Daily Mail begins the main body of the article by saying…
A life coaching group that uses LinkedIn to target hundreds of middle-class recruits is accused of abusing, exploiting and fleecing vulnerable victims.
Former members said Lighthouse International Group ‘groomed’ them with promises they would find personal fulfilment and a dream career through its up to £100-an-hour mentoring programmes.
But they say they ended up in thrall to its leader Paul Waugh, who lives in a £2 million country estate, drives a Range Rover with plates bearing the initials of his group and boasts of ‘numerous’ celebrity friends and of being ‘very connected’ in government.
Persistently emphasised through the article is the claim of victimhood throughout. The overall theme being that the sources have been abused, manipulated, taken advantage of, stolen from and used for nefarious and criminal ends. In contrast they paint themselves as courageous, vulnerable and innocent ‘survivors’. However, their actions outside of this has contradicted such claims.
“And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” – 2 Corinthians 11:14
None of these individuals have taken any legal action or pressed any criminal charges, but all have resisted and ignored requests from Lighthouse for permission to publicly reveal evidence, written and spoken by them (even days before deciding to leave the company) which proves in each case that they were on good terms with Paul and Lighthouse right up until such point.
New recruits, who are often vulnerable because of divorce, depression or previous abuse, are assigned a mentor who becomes like a ‘brother’ to them and to whom it is claimed they are encouraged to share their ‘inner most secrets’ in sessions which are recorded and stored by the group’s leaders.
But these turn into ‘abusive relationships’ with members later ‘pressured’ into ‘investing’ tens of thousands of pounds, often by taking a loan which plunges them deep into debt, without any formal written financial agreement or receipt, it is alleged.
Some members asking for their money to be returned were reminded their innermost secrets had been recorded in coaching sessions — which made them feel as if they were being threatened.
Each of the people making claims outlined above were involved with the company for several years (on average). All of them at some point had received services at much reduced rates or even pro bono and were very happy to receive such concessions. Several have left Lighthouse actually still owing large unpaid sums.
To suggest recordings are used for blackmail, as is alleged here, is complete fabrication. Any recordings made are for studying and support purposes and accurate documentation, which applies both ways. Lighthouse have not released or used any recordings against any former clients or partners, however the Daily Mail published a extremely edited 2 min private recording of Paul Waugh taken grossly out of context.
“A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish.” – Proverbs 19:9
The below picture of Paul Waugh, printed by the Mail, was taken from a Lighthouse Christmas party event in 2011 posted on Lighthouse’s Social Media.
A Manipulated Audio Of A Private Conversation Presented In False Context
Lighthouse has evidence of text messages and a recording between Mr Waugh and the female subject of this recording taken a full 6 weeks after the one published by the Daily Mail. In these messages and the recorded conversation the ‘woman’ in question is clearly enjoying a positive and meaningful interaction with Mr Waugh, thanking him profusely for his generosity and kindness towards her.
The private recording contained in the online article has been malevolently manipulated out of context. It does not accurately describe the purpose of the conversation or why such language was used, nor the nature of the relationship between those involved.
Mr Waugh was offered no opportunity to comment on this recording before it was published. You can read about the full context by clicking here.
Here are the key facts omitted by the Daily Mail:
- The Daily Mail says the call came about because the woman “questioned the group’s methods and politely requested a refund.” This is categorically untrue as the transcript and full recording will show in court. The call came about because the woman was being toxic and a manipulative towards her mentor and other Lighthouse partners, deliberately trying to damage relationships. She acknowledged responsibility and apologised for this, recorded in text messages, later the same day.
Lighthouse has sought permission to publish its evidence on this matter, purely to give the public an opportunity to see a balanced account, all of which has been resisted and ignored.
- The very fact this woman possessed a recording of the call in the first place is because Mr Waugh insisted on having a copy for review and to all learn from it. To do so is out of context with the context the Daily Mail have sought to portray.
- Mr Waugh and Lighthouse International Group would like to publicly release the full (unedited) 2 hour recording, with the woman’s permission. If her claims are accurate this would surely only add to her case. However, she and the Daily Mail have ignored this request. They know that her claims would not be seen in the same light in its full context and their deceptive manipulation would become evident.
- The Daily Mail claims this call happened after an innocent inquiry from the woman to which Mr Waugh had an irrational and extremely abusive reaction. This is not the case. In fact it was a confrontation over the culmination of 12 months of negative destructive behaviour from this person who had been warned and counselled several times but not relented.
- The woman herself recognised her responsibility and apologised to her mentor and Mr Waugh for her destructive behaviour. She and Mr Waugh spoke a number of times after this recording, on good terms up to 6 weeks later. He apologised for his language at the time, sent her flowers and both made amends, which is totally out of context to her later claims, after she asked for refund without basis and was denied.
The recording as revealed by the @DailyMailUK in their heartless articles! I exploded that day!! I’m sorry man.. I’m human!! If every one of your conversations were recorded as mine are..! What would you not want in the public domain? Get real!! Phew! 🙏..
— Paul Stephen Waugh (@PaulWaugh64) May 29, 2022
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
False & Distorted Accounts By Toxic Abusive Families
In the below section, the Daily Mail uses the word ‘investment’ in a way that gives the impression its sources had paid for some form of share or equity in Lighthouse. For the record this is not the case.
The ex-partners / clients quoted in the article had paid for services in the form of medium or long-term personal and leadership development programs. Having made full use of these services they have no legal right to or entitlement to a refund and have taken no legal action whatsoever which confirms this fact.
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” – 1 Timothy 6:10
In one case, a mother says she remortgaged her family home to help raise over £200,000 for her two sons to invest in the group, which they were promised would be repaid. She says she has not received a penny back.
Ex-members said they were told to isolate themselves from friends and family who criticised Lighthouse, with the group’s leaders even urging husbands to sue wives and children to sue their parents.
There is no tangible trustworthy evidence in this article to show anyone at Lighthouse is told to isolate themselves from family and friends whatsoever, let alone any who criticise the company.
It’s true some partners have distanced themselves from family. This is due to anti-religious or anti-Christian attitudes and/or abusive treatment toward them from such family members. With a heavy heart many have shared their accounts here on a dedicated page to ensure the truth prevails. Please pray for them.
The ‘mother’ mentioned above is regrettably a highly toxic and manipulative person who has sought to use the Daily Mail’s article as a means of preventing her sons from speaking out about her abuse. We have a detailed page about this person here.
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” – Mark 9:42
An environmental consultant who questioned the value of the mentoring with other members said she was left ‘terrified’ and in tears after Mr Waugh bombarded her with abuse during a two-hour phone call.
When she later politely emailed requesting a refund on her £25,000 investment, Mr Waugh refused and reminded her that the group had recordings of her describing the ‘long-term sexual abuse’ she suffered as a child — which she felt was a threat.
Lighthouse strongly denies this was the intention, saying it referenced the recordings to ‘remind [her] of the level and extent of work Lighthouse had done with her’.
Her mentor told her that for several years when he was being ‘negative’ with other Lighthouse members and clients, Mr Waugh ‘helped’ him by arranging a senior group member to chaperon him whenever he wasn’t alone and to check his text messages because: ‘Paulie couldn’t trust me, I couldn’t trust myself.’
Ex-members said Lighthouse implied part of their cash was going into African water purifying programmes — but it never produced firm evidence of this and the published company accounts give no indication of where the cash has gone.
Some key facts in relation to the above to resolve inaccuracies and fabrications:
- The sons in question have a written agreement with their mother for the money she gave, with years still left to repay her, which is not mentioned by the Daily Mail.
- The sons HAVE made payments back to their mother to the tune of thousands of pounds, which they can prove.
- As well as the sums quoted by the Mail, an additional £150,000+ was raised for the mother’s own personal use as part of the remortgage on inherited rental properties. It was NOT a mortgage on her ‘family home’.
- Any references to refunds have no legal legitimacy and no legal action has been taken by the sources to try and refute this.
Complaints About A Lack Of Receipt When One Was Not Requested
Primary school teacher Jo Holmes asked for a receipt for her £19,000 ‘investment’ and evidence of what it had been spent on, only to receive a reply from Mr Waugh calling her a ‘psychopath’ and ‘malevolent’ and implying her behaviour made her a danger to the children she taught.
When she later posted her concerns about Lighthouse online to try to warn others, the group complained about her to the headteacher of her school and threatened legal action.
The reply from Mr Waugh was not sent as a result of Ms Holmes’s request for a receipt as his reply was sent the day before she requested this and records prove this.
Mr Waugh did not call Ms Holmes a psychopath. This is totally misconstrued. He described her outrageous behaviour during her final phone call and the manner in which she left the company as psychopathic. Any person is capable of isolated outbursts of psychopathic behaviour, without being an actual psychopath.
A computer graduate mentored for anxiety and depression who shared his concerns with other members when he left was deluged by messages from Lighthouse leaders, initially suggesting he was having a ‘paranoid episode’, then warning they would take out a restraining order against him and finally saying they would be giving police ‘various recordings and communications’ he’d had with his mentor.
The group says it has ‘mentored’ individuals who have ‘suffered from the most terrible abuse’, but senior Lighthouse counsellors are not part of any professional body, have no academic qualifications in their field and said their only expertise comes from the ‘university of life’.
The above ‘computer graduate’ referred to here anonymously is in fact the same person, web designer Anthony Church, who is described again in the section below by name. The facts in this case are that:
- Mr Church was warned (not ‘threatened’) for harassing several other Lighthouse clients after he left the company.
- The clients he was harassing also wrote to Mr Church urging him to be more reasonable
- None of the other clients in the same group as Mr Church shared Mr Church’s concerns or issues.
False Claims On Lighthouse’s Response To Grievances
Everyone, including Mr Church, who has an issue with Lighthouse International Group has been invited to sit down to discuss their grievances in order to find win-win solutions with us. However, these have all been ignored and even mocked.
Mr Singh supported Mr Church for 4 years through challenging times; helping him with job interviews when he was unemployed without payment and finding a volunteer position with Lighthouse as a developer eventually leading to him starting to earn income.
Unfortunately, due to his struggles with mental health in the past, which he refers to below, he could not reciprocate this and was easily and very negatively affected in his views about Lighthouse by the false accusations of the malicious online smear campaign.
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:35
This is a problem we want to help other companies and individuals with when malevolent external influences negatively affect those they work with or who work for them.
The Vulnerability of Goodhearted People & Businesses
For 17 years we had never experienced any online trolling or attacks whatsoever, so the point we want to make is that, if this can happen to us, then it can happen to anyone. In the last 18 months we have not just been trolled by the odd bad review, we have been on the receiving end of relentless and varied forms of constructive sabotage through dogpiling (trolling in groups). This means coordinated efforts with the blatant intent to destroy us emotionally and psychologically, our reputations, our business and our families. One such attempt has been to report us to external organisations such as Catalyst Counselling who have never once attempted to contact any of us, including Paul Waugh, in order to verify any accusations made against us. Neither have they apparently scrutinised or questioned the motives of those making such claims to them, all that were made within the space of a few months.
Parliament has heard calls for statutory regulation for counselling groups after peers described hearing how lives had been destroyed by an explosion of unqualified and unregistered counselling, mentoring and life coaching groups in recent years.
Graham Baldwin, of Catalyst, a charity that deals with abusive groups and the victims of psychological manipulation, said: ‘In the past year, 10 per cent of our calls have been about Lighthouse, from families and individuals.
‘In my opinion, they are one of the nastiest and most dangerous groups we have come across in 30 years of working in this field.’
Lighthouse was set up in 2012 by Mr Waugh to ‘inspire, empower and unite’ through coaching and mentoring programmes which mix self-help and spirituality. Espousing his philosophy, Mr Waugh frequently references self-improvement books, especially the 1989 bestseller The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People.
He also regularly discusses the teachings of Christ — though Mr Waugh told the Mail he often stresses to members that they should not ‘idolise’ him or paint him as a modern-day ‘fat, bald Jesus’.
The group, which claims to have helped thousands of people in their personal and professional lives, has global ambitions and plans to launch in India, the U.S. and China. A sister organisation called Lighthouse Kidz, which claims to help children and their parents, has previously enjoyed glowing coverage in The Guardian.
A senior member of the main group has said one aim is to get a ‘Lighthouse beacon’ in every UK school and have teachers reporting to the group.
Our experience here has made us, as a business and individuals too, acutely aware of the problem of constructive sabotage. Many businesses are forcibly going under within just 3-6 months of being relentlessly attacked online with false accusations nowadays. We want to advise and to help anyone going through this themselves.
Fictional Stories About The Reasons For Ceasing Involvement With Lighthouse International Group
As was highlighted above in the section presenting the manipulated audio recording of a private conversation, key information pertaining to the call was omitted to deliberately present Paul Waugh in the most negative way possible. The ‘48 year old consultant’, described below, is the same person as the recording pertains to. Saying she moved abroad to “escape” Lighthouse is complete fabrication. She left Lighthouse International Group of her own accord after refusing to invest in the extensive mentorship she received over and above what she had paid for. Her toxic behaviour caused numerous issues with other Associates. Lighthouse even encouraged her to take time out and offered her a win-win opportunity where she could receive a return on the investment in herself and be less involved. The only contact with her afterwards was in response to her emails.
But a 48-year-old consultant who borrowed £10,000 to invest in the group after joining in 2019 said she eventually felt she had to move abroad to escape them.
The woman, who did not want to be named because her counselling involved discussing previous childhood sexual abuse, said: ‘I was going through a divorce at the time and it felt extremely positive to begin with. They encouraged us to use LinkedIn, for us to connect with people, so it is just like multi-level marketing.’
But when she raised concerns about the mentoring with other members, Mr Waugh turned on her and during a two-hour call branded her ‘nasty’, ‘pernicious’, ‘selfish’, ‘horrible’, ‘vindictive’, ‘broken’, ‘very damaged’, ‘stupid’, ‘dishonest’, ‘duplicitous’, ‘misleading’, ‘f*****g deluded’, ‘seriously f****d up’, ‘sinister’, a ‘cynical little old witch’, a ‘weasel’, a ‘negative, self-defeating, self-sabotaging automaton’, ‘the worst, weirdest, sickest f**k’, having ‘an ego like a feral dog’ and being an ’emotional, mental and spiritual toddler
Although extreme language was used, Mr Waugh has expressed this was an overreaction without excuse and a full apology was later given, to which the woman accepted, over a year before this article was published. She also apologised at the time for her toxic behaviour that had caused the situation in the first place (see notes above regarding the recording). She was offered and given a recording for her own reference and to ensure accountability was clear on both sides.
He also reminded the woman that every conversation she’d ever had at Lighthouse was taped and ‘every journal you’ve ever written is stored’.
And he told her that if she had behaved with her children the way she had been behaving in the group he would immediately have reported her to social services — where he claims to have connections. When she broke down in tears, he berated her for ‘crying for herself’, saying: ‘It’s all about you.’
The woman said: ‘It is terrifying. We need to stop them.’
In line with the last sentence above, it has been mentioned already but no legal action has or is being taken by these sources, nor have the police been involved in relation to Lighthouse International Group. By contrast the police have indeed interviewed and warned more than one member of the smear campaign behind this article for harassment.
The Mocking Of Our Comprehensive Response To Accusations
Whilst the Daily Mail did invite us to comment on some accusations, our comprehensive response was either ignored or mocked with the liberal use of inverted commas. We informed them of the background to their sources and the destructive agenda, but this was completely ignored. In the interests of transparency we are also publishing the 17,000-word response that was originally sent to the Daily Mail.
Fiona Ballantine Dykes, Deputy Chief Executive of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, said: ‘We’re concerned that vulnerable members of the public looking for support with their mental health don’t realise the risks of seeing unqualified, unregistered practitioners.
‘Our fear is that clients working with unregistered therapists are more at risk of harm, as their practitioner won’t be required to meet the training, proficiency and ethical standards of a recognised professional body.’
In a 17,000-word response to the Mail, Lighthouse described the allegations as ‘false and baseless’, said it was a ‘healthy community’ that does not tolerate abuse or bullying and was a victim of ‘persecution’ and ‘trolling’ from ex-members with whom it had financial disputes. It said the group offered ‘life coaching’ rather than therapy, and was supportive of stronger regulation for the ‘personal development industry’.
It said police had twice visited Lighthouse members at their homes after warnings from concerned relatives that they were being ‘manipulated and held hostage financially’, but in both occasions the officers left without taking any action.
Lighthouse initially told the Mail that active police investigations were under way against former members, but when asked which forces, it said it had not yet reported them to the police.
Lighthouse Associates do not purport to be clinical therapists or counsellors. Our work is focused on mentoring and coaching and any counselling is a supportive measure to this in the same way that a family member or friend might ‘counsel’ someone. In 2022 Paul Waugh launched a government petition for greater accountability in the personal development industry. The Daily Mail ignored the offer of an opportunity to back such an initiative that’s most definitely in the public interest.
Publishing Personal Information To Present Paul Waugh In A Negative Light
The personal information sent to the Daily Mail to describe Paul Waugh and his character was taken and then presented in a way to paint him in a negative light. The below section mixes real facts with fabrication and blatant over-exaggeration to paint as derogatory a picture as possible.
Boss who loves to boast about wealth
Paul Waugh’s online profile describes his habits as including ‘impromptu random dances’ and ‘outbreaks of deep laughter’.
And the leader of the Lighthouse International Group has much to be merry about. He lives in a £2 million, six-bedroom, secluded country home — complete with a sauna — set on the northern edge of the Cotswold Hills and drives a Range Rover.
The 57-year-old father-of-two, who moved from South Africa to the UK in 1999, is a regular at his local golf club, where he plays off a ten handicap, and claims to have many famous friends and to have previously mentored a Premier League and England footballer.
Mr Waugh has told Lighthouse members he is very connected in government — both in the Commons and the Lords — and has helped to get laws passed.
And he says he is now so personally wealthy that other nations have ‘courted’ him to try to get him to emigrate and take his money into their country.
Current Lighthouse members told the Mail Mr Waugh had generously supported them financially in times of need and they had benefited greatly from his mentoring.
Given his expertise, on the open market, his time would be worth up to £5,000 an hour, he adds.
In YouTube videos, he describes himself as deeply ‘spiritual’ with a ‘very sophisticated and advanced understanding’ of what can be known compared to most people.
This, he believes, sets him apart from the group’s new members, some of whom he says are of ‘exceptionally low emotional intelligence’ and ‘know nothing about how to succeed in life.’
His life’s work, as he explains it, is to empower and unite them in a ‘genuine state of family and community’ through mentoring and coaching.
The most obvious proof that this article by the Daily Mail is an act of constructive sabotage and part of a malicious smear campaign against Lighthouse International Group is the purely biased and prejudiced nature of what’s written, along with the twisting of truth and omission of crucial contravening facts.
The Daily Mail is notorious for preying on opportunities for sensationalised clickbait headlines and has thrown its sources under the legal bus here with their libellous claims by adding no opinion of its own to back or uphold what’s being said. It is a ‘he said/she said’ story of trashy journalism with no investigative rigour, but minimises legal risk for the Daily Mail. This is the only way such wild claims could be reported.
The above (amended) picture printed in the Daily Mail was effectively doxing Mr Waugh by printing a picture of his home of residence; putting him and his family, including two teenage children, at personal risk. (It has been edited here by us to distort the original and protect his safety as much as we can).
Presenting Our Character Based On A Manipulated Recording
What this section shows is that the Daily Mail’s perception and portrayal of Paul S. Waugh and Lighthouse International Group is based on a manipulated recording of a private conversation which you can read more about here. Neither Tom Kelly nor Adam Luck from the Daily Mail invited Paul S. Waugh to explain the context and reality behind the recording, the nature of our work, our resources and the reality of the controlling family members who have actively sought to destroy the reputation of him personally and Lighthouse International Group. Paul S. Waugh even decided to subsequently invite Tom Kelly to meet him and his own family.
But recordings shown to the Mail show that when people start questioning the value of the group’s methods, Mr Waugh’s happiness vanishes and he turns to abuse.
Mr Waugh classifies members from level 1-4, depending on how ‘evolved’ they are.
But former members said only he and his partner were ever ‘very high level 4’, while others were ‘bullied’ and ‘intimidated’.
Mr Waugh acknowledged hostility from some relatives of Lighthouse members, and in a YouTube video he denounces ‘toxic parents’ who try to stop their children from continuing with the group.
‘I just couldn’t believe the narcissism in families. It’s a real problem,’ he said. ‘It’s huge.’
Apparent Money Issues But No Court Action Taken Despite Our Encouragement
The money in dispute is not money that was ‘given’ to Lighthouse, it was spent on legitimate products and services. Resentful ex-clients have made claims for refunds with no legal legitimacy. These refunds are not deserved, hence their approach to the press with sensationalised and fabricated stories, rather than pursuing things legitimately through the courts. 18 months after their claims began, no legal action has been taken against Lighthouse despite our encouragement for them to do so.
Money is a major source of dispute. From four ex-members and the relatives of two members, the Mail has identified at least £300,000 given to Lighthouse, all without a formal written agreement because the group says it operates on ‘trust’.
They say they were told some of the money was going towards investment in a clean water scheme in Africa, a plan Lighthouse stresses on its website is a central tenet of the group.
One post by a Lighthouse member in January says: ‘We are currently launching a global initiative to help look after our children, giving them hope and a glass of water.’
But Lighthouse told the Mail it has ‘never claimed to be currently providing funds to clean water in Africa’ and the initiative was an ‘aspirational long-term goal’.
They said members’ investments funded their ‘growth and development’ through mentoring and training, and that members who chose to leave were not legally entitled to a refund.
In fact, one commenter on the Daily Mail article itself, rightly asked the question as to why the article’s sources had not sued us.
Unfounded Accusations About The Legality Of Lighthouse International Group
Lighthouse International Group has, until 2022 been run as a start-up community in a long-term research and development phase which has largely been unsuccessfully in trying to cover costs. Individually and collectively, Lighthouse Associate Partners have been willing to make numerous sacrifices over the years to ensure this research work has continued through hard work, little reward and high levels of dedication. This of course has also been mocked by Reddit commentators, but in itself is contradictory to the accusations of ‘fleecing’ people that’s claimed in the article.
Lighthouse International Group is in ongoing communication with HM Revenue and Customs regarding its finances which are all above board. Due to the status of being a Limited Liability Partnership it is not obligated to publish certain financial figures.
Mr Waugh and other group members are directors of registered businesses Lighthouse International Group Holdings and The Lighthouse Self-Leadership Society, and community interest company Lighthouse Kidz [sic], all of which have shown £0 in every return filed with Companies House since their incorporations in 2012 and 2013.
Lighthouse said it had no property or fixed assets and thus is not required to publish any profit and loss accounts.
It added that ‘any income has simply been reinvested in cost-covering research’.
The group did tell the Mail that some of the cash had been invested into ‘research papers and retainers for PhD students’.
But when asked at which universities, it said it did not fund any PhDs.
It said other cash went towards business infrastructure costing £10,000 a year, legal expenses, a house in Rugby, Warks, for nine of its members and supporting vulnerable members.
It said verbal financial agreements with members were ‘sufficient and legally binding’ under UK law.
It added that Mr Waugh was very supportive of ‘healthy families’ and personally devoted to his partner, Amanda, and their two children.
It said: ‘He is a strong man, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.’
Presenting The Biased Stories Of Sources Without Verification
The Daily Mail article is based on a handful of individuals’ experiences who have never provided evidence for their claims. We have not had a single legal letter or police visit given these allegations; including the two named sources below (Richard Thomas and Joanne Holmes). The Daily Mail conducted no investigation and we are in the process of submitting a formal complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) as well as suing the sources of this article for defamation and slander. Lighthouse International Group have text messages from Mr Thomas directly implicating his wife’s hostility towards the company and his involvement that we can publicly publish with his consent.
‘They threatened to sue my wife. They need to be stopped’
Lighthouse leaders branded an e-commerce accounts manager’s wife ‘destructive’ and wanted to sue her after she supported her husband’s decision to quit the group.
Father-of-two Richard Thomas, from Essex, became involved in Lighthouse in 2015 when his then company offered to pay for a mentor.
One of his colleagues was already being mentored by one of Lighthouse’s leaders, Shaun Cooper, and so he did the same.
The now ex-colleague mentioned here is still being mentored by Lighthouse International Group and does not agree with or support Mr Thomas’s claims about the company.
But things started to go wrong when he invested thousands of pounds in the group.
‘It took me months and months to actually do this because there was no actual financial agreement,’ he said.
‘But Shaun said: ‘Rich, you’ve been working with me all these years and you say you do not trust me? Are you invested in me?’
‘So, ultimately, I was stupid, obviously, because I did hand over the money.’
Mr Thomas says after investing he was expected to attend group calls lasting up to six hours with Lighthouse leader Paul Waugh.
‘We had to listen to him ranting on about what he thinks is happening to the world.
‘There was so much love and reverence for him from the group. But the interesting thing is that Paul classifies people individually in terms of levels. If you are evolved, you move from level 1 to 4.
‘Only Paul is ever at level 4. Everyone else is broken, you’re wrong, and it became very, very transparent.’
It was only after Mr Thomas became ill last year that he reflected on his involvement and with the encouragement of his wife decided to quit.
He says: ‘I went back to Lighthouse respectfully and said: ‘I would like to ask for my investment back.’ ‘
Crucially, Mr Waugh proactively offered Mr Thomas a full refund of the money he’d spent with the company on compassionate grounds due to this illness. Mr Thomas then ignored this offer and 9 personal texts from Mr Waugh over several weeks enquiring as to his well-being. He continued to ignore all contact for another several months. The offer was eventually suspended and eventually rescinded when suspicions grew that Mr Thomas’ wife and himself were actively trying to smear Lighthouse along with Ms Holmes, a close personal friend of him and his wife. Neither of these critical and hugely discrediting facts are disclosed by the Daily Mail here. Mr Cooper’s response can be understood in this light…
The request prompted a message on November 11 last year, in which Mr Cooper blamed the decision on the ‘animosity and destructiveness’ of his wife towards the group.
He added, if Lighthouse had to refund the cash ‘we would have to make a legal compensatory claim for that money’ from his wife ‘plus legal costs’.
‘Do we hold [your wife] accountable for that or you? Let us know because with your permission (in writing to our solicitors) we will hold her accountable by law.’
On November 24, Mr Cooper messaged to say no refund was possible and Lighthouse would be passing the content of Mr Thomas’s texts to their solicitor, whom he said would ‘act accordingly in connection with yourself as they have with others who have behaved unlawfully as you are behaving’.
Mr Thomas branded the threats made in the messages ‘ridiculous’.
He said: ‘These people need to be stopped.’
Lighthouse said it encouraged ‘healthy families’ and only advised legal action against members’ relatives or partners to protect them or when ‘all other options had failed’.
In more than 18 months of constructive sabotage within a persistent smear campaign there has not been one attempt to take us to court for undue refunds.
The reason for those behind this constructive sabotage and smear campaign not taking Lighthouse International Group to court is that they know we have information and tangible evidence that completely destroys any potential case against us. However, they also know we currently can’t release it for data protection reasons, but that will change when we see them in court.
We have invited our assailants to reasonably discuss their grievances on multiple occasions and even offered a refund on compassionate grounds to one ex-client. However, all offers to reconcile with us have been ignored, dismissed and even mocked by them.
Accused of being hateful and toxic
A primary school teacher persuaded to take out a loan to fund a £19,000 ‘investment’ in Lighthouse was branded ‘malevolent’ and a ‘psychopath’ when she asked how her money had been spent.
Jo Holmes, 50, was introduced to Lighthouse International Group in early 2018 by a friend who had been mentored by Shaun Cooper.
The ‘friend’ mentioned above was in fact Mr Thomas, yet this fact has been deliberately hidden by the Daily Mail because it was Mr Thomas who had encouraged and supported Ms Holmes’s involvement in Lighthouse. Something that, if disclosed, would cast severe doubt over the validity of their claims being made here and the evidence of a conspiracy to defame LIG that fact would support. We call such an act ‘constructive sabotage’ and we want to help other people and companies who are struggling with any similar situations.
She hoped it would help her self-development and professional relationships with colleagues and pupils.
‘My marriage was breaking down at the time,’ she said.
‘Shaun became like a brother and it felt like he was really helping me.’
After a few months, he made ‘very subtle’ suggestions that she should invest in the group.
‘He said I could build on my existing work with pupils and teachers and make a difference for them and said the charity part of Lighthouse would invest in purifying water in Africa.
‘Because a friend had invested, it seemed feasible.
Again, the ‘friend’ referenced was Mr Thomas who pushed for Ms Holmes to get involved, despite the hesitations from their mentor, Mr Cooper, that she wasn’t ready for such a commitment.
‘I invested £19,000 in instalments, but I had to get a loan out to fund it. But they knew I had a big asset with my house. I think they saw the long term.
‘Now I feel stupid, but they build a relationship with you and they know your secrets, you trust them and believe in them.’
Because of her investment, she became an ‘associate elect’ and part of a ‘business unit’ of members.
This meant, during lockdown, she was expected to join calls lasting hours on Saturdays, during which Lighthouse leader Paul Waugh would spout his wisdom and grill other members.
‘I began to question these calls. I did not like the way they spoke to people, it was quite aggressive bullying. I was a bit scared of Paul,’ she adds. ‘He pulled me apart and talks over you all the time . . . Paul was intimidating.’
‘Paul was intimidating to the point you felt you had to give positive feedback.’
After the calls, members were sent edited audio recordings to listen to in the evenings — which they were then expected to provide feedback on so that Mr Waugh could assess their ‘level of understanding’. But after speaking to another alienated member, Ms Holmes began to research the group and eventually decided to ask for evidence of where her cash had been spent.
The other ‘alienated member’ was the ‘48 year old consultant’ previously mentioned and who is the subject of the manipulated recording. Someone who, to reiterate, had caused great chaos herself with her toxic behaviour and was turning other partners against the company.
The response, following an email and a call, was a long message from Mr Waugh in which he accused her of being hateful, toxic and disturbed, claiming it was ‘downright terrifying . . . that you are a schoolteacher with delicate little and innocent children in your care’.
The full recording of this above mentioned call, which was between Ms Holmes, Mr Waugh and Mr Cooper, can be publicly released for clarity and in the name of public interest, with her permission. However, such permission is highly unlikely as the recording will only show Ms Holmes’s degenerate behaviour and her shouting over Mr Waugh and Mr Cooper for nearly an hour, with them barely having a chance to speak. Ms Holmes had expressed no serious prior concerns about the company or her finances previous to the single message she sent that prompted this phone call/meeting.
He also said he had sent a report and a recording of the phone call with her to PhD students who ‘work specifically with teachers and their pathology in relation to their profession for observational analysis.’
Ms Holmes said: ‘I took that as a clear threat to my professional reputation.’
She adds: ‘Lighthouse bears all the hallmarks of a group that takes advantage of people by promising to transform your life and the world. But I have seen no evidence that any of their global initiatives have ever happened and it begs the question where the money goes.’
She has yet to receive any cash.
Lighthouse said the recording had been shared in ‘full compliance’ of the law and with Ms Holmes’s details anonymised.
It accused Ms Holmes of trolling the group after leaving and said it had contacted the police and the school where she worked to complain.
Both Mr Thomas and Ms Holmes have been uncovered on Reddit as ringleaders of a coordinated online smear campaign forum, posting trolling comments and statements (and encouraging others to do so) about Mr Waugh and Lighthouse International Group, using pseudonyms. Ms Holmes was never due to receive any ‘cash’ from Lighthouse International Group. In fact she still owes payments for her mentoring that remain outstanding and money that was lent to her from another Associate Partner, totalling over £6,000.
As said, the purpose of this post is not to analyse the Daily Mail article in great depth. We are publishing articles and videos that spell out the reality of the article; the background, our response, how we have grown stronger individually and collectively as well as how we are helping others.
Below are what we have released so far in addition to this site:
YouTube – The Waugh Rooms: Response to the Daily Mail’s Article on Lighthouse International Series
Lighthouse International Community Site – Daily Mail & The Press
Medium – Lighthouse International Group: The Daily Mail
What You Can Learn From Our Experience
Our experience, and from those we have spoken to, has shown that all it takes is a disagreement with a customer, a colleague, a family member, a friend or a colleague that can lead to vicious attacks. To give you an idea, below are a couple of examples of the unsubstantiated vicious attacks through malevolent falsehoods that we’ve received. Simply substitute ‘Paulie’ for your own name, imagine this being written about the dream business you are (or could be) building and you’ll have a better idea as to how it would be for you. Please excuse the offensive language used in this post below that has since been removed from Reddit since we profiled it. We have received no apology and acceptance of responsibility from the author or subreddit moderators who believe, “some swearing is allowed to express frustration”.
Imagine being compared to a rapist paedophile groomer on absolutely no grounds whatsoever, but knowing that anyone who sees this before meeting you will likely trust what’s written online first.
How We Are Using Our Experience To Help Businesses & Families Handle Cyberbullying
What our experience has also shown us is how little genuine support there is for those on the receiving end of trolling and constructive sabotage. So we have needed to pioneer solutions like our troll register that we’ve needed to defend ourselves against these attacks. The troll register itself is unedited and uncensored to show the reality of what our assailants have to say about us when hiding behind pseudonyms.
We are also working with the police to hold those responsible accountable. Moreover we are suing the sources of this article for their part in this defamatory article.
We have learnt the critical importance of community in facing such adversity and now we are very well-positioned to help others who have been assaulted by constructive saboteurs/trolls. We are launching Project Groundswell to help educate goodhearted people about how to handle the challenge of constructive sabotage; getting the support and the guidance to stand up to the bullies in whatever way that’s necessary.
Through Project Groundswell and campaigns like Parents Against Trolls and Business Against Trolls we are starting multiple anti-trolling workshops and programs. Get in touch to learn more about the various products and services we are offering individuals, families and businesses protect themselves from online assailants.
Most tragically children are increasingly taking their own lives because of extreme forms of online trolling in which innocent souls are being hacked by psychopathic individuals and groups. Again, because of the wicked intent, this is constructive sabotage, which is quickly becoming a scourge of humanity due to the toxic behaviour of hateful individuals.
Therefore please also get in touch with us if you would like to join us in standing up to the bullies who are threatening the health, wellbeing and safety of our children across the globe.
If you’d like to be involved in a campaign to hold the press accountable or would value support protecting yourself or your organisation, then get in touch with us.