Negative headlines surround the Chocolate Factory once again. Customers react with mixed emotions. Sponsors, such as the Zurich Film Festival and the Swiss Wrestling Festival, are under pressure.
This is not the first time that Laderach’s name has been the focus of negative reports. Former pastor Jörg Laderach has been accused of homophobia for years. In 2020, his involvement in the anti-abortion “Lappie March” became known, drawing criticism. There have been acts of vandalism at several Laderach branches and calls for a boycott.
The allegations against Jörg Laderach
On Thursday evening, Channel One broadcast the documentary “The Evangelist Laderachs World – Discipline in the Name of God.” In it, former students of Domino Servite claim they were regularly beaten and assaulted in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Jörg Laderach helped establish the school in Kaltbrunn SG. In a report commissioned by the school itself to deal with the situation, there is talk about beatings of all kinds and ritual beatings. In “SRF DOK”, those affected and involved say publicly for the first time that officials – including Jörg Laderach – were also part of this system. He denies this and says he only found out before the school’s investigation. He apologizes to those affected for the injustice done to them in the past. The signs were not perceived; Action should have been taken years ago.
History now seems to be repeating itself: one day after the documentary was broadcast on German-language Swiss Radio, the reactions outside the Laderach branch on Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich were violent: “Someone like this should bear responsibility!” One man who bought Laderach chocolate in the USA says: “I will never do that again!”
“I will definitely continue shopping there,” says a passerby. She believes the product and the attacks have nothing to do with each other.
Expert: The Laderach problem affects partners
It’s not that simple, because: “Where it says Läderach, it has Läderach,” says branding expert Stefan Vogler. It’s just that Jörg Laderach’s name and personal reputation greatly influence the company, especially if it is called that. And: “The problem with Laderach may also affect the ZFF.” The Zurich Film Festival is sponsored by Laderach for the first time.
The ZFF wrote to the SRF at its request: “We have considered the cooperation with Läderach very carefully. The company is run by the new generation that distances itself from the old generation. That is why we are committed to our sponsorship with Läderach.” It is important for the ZFF to “give this new generation a chance if they try to break away from the old generation.”
Chocolate: from Glarus to the world
It was founded by Rudolf Laderach in Glarus in 1962, and his son Jörg Laderach took over the company in 1994. After 10 years, the chocolate company acquired Merkur Confiserien and began its expansion abroad in 2010 by opening branches in Germany and South Korea.
In 2018, the three sons took over operational responsibility: Johannes Laderach became CEO, Elias Laderach became Head of Production and Innovation, and David Laderach was responsible for digital transformation. According to Laderach’s press spokesman, Matthias Goldbeck, all shares were then transferred to the third generation. Since then the second generation is no longer the owner and does not participate in the economic success of the company.
Produced exclusively in Switzerland. More than 1,800 employees are responsible for the chocolate business.
The Federal and Alpine Wrestling Festival ESAF, which will be held in Glarnerland in 2025 and sponsored by Läderach, among others, has enough time to pull the rope. A written statement also said: “ESAF 2025 Glarnerland+ management is in the process of obtaining an overview of the further development of the topic.”
What effect does this have on Laderach itself? “This largely depends on how Läderach Senior reacts,” says the brand expert. Whether he will offer help to get a strict clarification and apology. But in Laderach it cannot be prevented that this could lead to a loss of its image in the short term.
As part of the film DOK, Jörg Laderach denies the allegations and apologizes to those affected for the suffering they have suffered. After DOK aired, he did not comment again — but Laderach’s press spokesman spoke first in a video statement the next day.
Later, son Johannes Laderach also answered the SRF’s questions. Today the CEO and student of “Domino Servitute” at the time of the events. The documentary — which he watched with his brother — disturbed him. If what the film shows and what was stated in the investigation report are true, it condemns him in the strongest possible terms. Johannes Laderach says that there are no connections between the company and the Free Church in Kaltbrunn. He has also distanced himself personally, but his children still go to school in Kaltbrunn: “I will have to discuss the question of where the children go to school again with my wife,” admits Johannes Laderach. The documentary has already raised questions again.
At the same time, he is now committed to ensuring that Laderach is valued on the basis of its existing third generation business. There are no charges against us and we have contributed to the investigation.”
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