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Would You Fire Someone for Practicing Urine Therapy?

A museum fires an employee of 23 years after he shows a DVD about the practice to a colleague.
Visitors stand in front of Gustav Klimt´s painting 'Der Kuss' (The Kiss) at the Belvedere Museum in Vienna.

A famed Austrian museum has fired a long-time employee for washing his hands and face with urine.

Alfred Zoppelt, 57, worked for 23 years as an attendant at the Belvedere, a castle in Vienna with a major art collection. (It has the world's largest collection of Gustav Klimt paintings, including the famed The Kiss.)

"I was promoted to being a warden—in charge of the porters there. It was there that I showed a colleague a DVD about urine therapy. After that he said I was fired," Zoppelt told Austrian media. Believers in urine therapy claim massaging it into skin and drinking it is the body's own remedy against cancer, acne, wrinkles, allergies, and more, but the claims so far are unproven.

Zoppelt said that before he showed the DVD, his use of urine therapy was "never a problem."

He said his notice from Belvedere told him he was fired because "you regularly rub urine into your skin, particularly the face and hands. With this, you soil your place of work...and threaten the health of your co-workers."

A woman answering the Belvedere press department phone confirmed to the Associated Press that Zoppelt was fired but refused to give her name or further information.

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Aug 15, 2011


Inc. contributing editor Courtney Rubin was for five years a London-based staff writer for People magazine. Rubin, a former senior writer for Washingtonian magazine, has written for the New York Times magazine, Time, Marie Claire, and other publications. She is the author of The Weight-Loss Diaries.

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