Rogue’s Gallery second round
Wow, has this class ever grown since its inauguration!
First, if you would like to see the inaugeral class (Jennifer Nicole Lee, David Zinczenko, Jillian Michaels & Dr. Suzanne Gudakunst), click here. Without further ado, I would like to introduce to you the second class of The Rogues Gallery:
Kevin Trudeau: Pretty much the father of the current healthcare scams. He has run afoul of the FTC on numerous occasions, but why he earned his place in the Rogues Gallery is for The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About. I think claims of “They” not wanting you to know something goes back as long as there were at least 3 people, but nobody milked that paranoia as much as Kevin Trudeau.
According to Healthy Weight Network, Kevin Trudeau was the 2008 winner of the Slim Chance award, category, Most Outrageous Claim:
MOST OUTRAGEOUS CLAIM: Kevin Trudeau infomercials. It’s rare that regulatory agencies look at books, given our free speech laws, but the infomercials for Kevin Trudeau’s weight loss book and his repeated violations were just too much for the Federal Trade Commission, and this past August he was fined over $5 million and banned from infomercials for three years. In “willful efforts” to deceive, Trudeau told listeners they could easily follow the diet protocol at home, even though his book calls for human growth hormone injections and colonics that must be done by a licensed practitioner. The tortured case began in 1998 when FTC charged Trudeau with false and misleading diet infomercials. In 2003 he was charged with false claims; in 2004 he was fined $2 million and banned from infomercials. Again in 2007 a contempt action said he misled thousands with false claims for his weight loss book “in flagrant violation” of court orders.
You can read all about this man’s history here at The Skeptic’s Dictionary. It is an interesting read and clearly shows why Kevin Trudeau is proudly standing in the middle of the gallery, shunned by all.
Dr. Alan Hirsch The inventor of Sensa (you can see the discussion of this diet here). Why Dr. Alan Hirsch? He seems like a legitimate doctor, and for much of his life he clearly was. He has studied how smells effect your behavior and he has done some pretty amazing research, but the reason he makes this list is for his shoddy research to support a product that he is unscrupulously marketing. From ridiculous claims of free to auto enrollment programs, this guy knows all the tricks. The thing is, I do hold doctors to a higher standard. Other people may not understand how science works or what studies mean and what they don’t mean (I am talking about you David Zinczenko), but the entire profession of doctors is based upon this understanding. So when a doctor tries to apply his research to the real work, claims he has one of the biggest studies in history with results that are almost unbelievable, it is unacceptable that he does not release the study and further, that he continues to tout his study! This video discusses some of the issues. This is before he became the tarot card reader of sandwich preferences…
Dan Wakeford: Editor of Life & Style Magazine. If anyone is going to be fighting to be the king of this class it is Dan. He is in a deathcage match with David Zinczenko for the king of useless and soul sucking content. It isn’t just the oversimplifications and half lies, nor the vacuous celebrity worship. Anyone who has been reading this blog for awhile knows that I think people who offer false promises for weight loss are stealing part of our self esteem. This isn’t harmless escapism, which is of course exactly what these people defend themselves with every time. They are just creating entertainment. They are just giving the people what they want. I have no patience for people who make money giving the people what they want, when they think the public wants half truths and lies. Yes, the public wants an easy diet, but they don’t want to hear about an easy diet and find out it doesn’t work. There is a huge difference between the two. Hard Abs and Quick and Easy Celebrity diets are your thing. It allows you to show thin, beautiful, young celebrities wearing nothing more than bikinis on your covers. I have no problem with the images of beautiful women on your cover, just stop the fake diet claims to go with them.
New category of Inductees, the devices:
3 Minute Legs: This one just cracks me up. It is amazing that you can sell just about any idea if you give it a scientific name… guided assistance technology and the principle of unloading… I think that principle refers to what they are doing on us with this device. The funniest part about the ‘guided assistance technology‘ is that this is pretty much the opposite principle of exercise, but it sounds scientific… You can read my review here.
Abdoer This was the stupidest exercise device EVER… okay, I keep saying this and it is losing meaning, but in this case I think I mean, this device kicked off the beginning of the Stupid Ab Device Goldrush. Up until this one came out, the only devices out there helped round out your back and keep you from straining your neck. The were those on the ground 10 dollar things. I don’t know if they work, but they never claimed to be a whole body workout either, just a ‘sit up helper’.
I saw this device for the first time on Penn & Teller’s Bullshit. The episode was titled Exercise vs. Genetics, and the idea of it was that you pretty much have the body that god gave you and you can’t do a lot about it. Although I don’t agree with this part of the statement, the point they make quite often is that you can get fit, but you may not have the height or bone structure of a supermodel. They are right about that. They interview John Abdo, the inventor of the Abdoer, who was already onto a new device, the mini trampoline with painted on clock…
Thane is now selling the Abdoer, Fitness Brands (the Ab invention powerhouse) claims they created it and neither mention the inventor. I asked John Abdo about this, and I received only this message:
John Abdo is the sole inventor of The AB-DOer®.
Watching John Abdo on this episode of Bullshit makes me weep for our world (between holding my stomach laughing at how stupid people are)… You must see this episode with Penn and Teller to truly grasp the stupidity of this device. I am incredibly indebted to Penn & Teller for this episode. It was instrumental in helping me realize that I have to stop buying things from fit people, because most of them are either shills for people out to scam me or they are out to scam me themselves.
Abdoer Extreme Do I even need to say anything… seriously….
Welcome to the second class of the Rogue’s Gallery. I would just like to note that I have recently received some comments suggesting that some of the people in my gallery are really nice people and I am wrong to go after them because of this. I want to be clear that I don’t doubt that some of these people are awesome people. I bet Bernie Madoff was a blast to party with, at least his parties did sound pretty fun, but that doesn’t mean that what he did for business wasn’t wrong. This is always a tough call to make and I don’t like being the one making it, but I feel I have to because almost no one is.
The magazines that some of these people are making are crap and they are hurting society. The hypocrisy that some of these celebrities and doctors are committing is just plain wrong and we can’t allow the message to get across that it is okay to do anything in the name of greed. The very least we can ask of our role models is that they don’t get so greedy that they try to rip us off.
I have decided on some limits though. I was going to comment on Earl Greenburg, who has done much in his life to create the model of television sales known as infomercials… Forbes has coined him the Prince Of Infomercials. In fact, he is quoted as saying:
For better or worse, the infomercial business still attracts a disproportionate share of diet products. Greenburg has struggled with his own weight, and he says most diets are doomed to failure. But diet products sold via infomercials, he says, are no worse than those sold in drug and nutrition stores.
“People want to believe things,” he says. “No matter what you tell them, no matter what disclosures you give, you can’t control the gullibility of people who watch the programs.”
You have to know that this is the kind of behavior that will get you in my gallery, but Earl Greenburg passed on in 2008. Turns out he was a pretty incredible guy when he wasn’t up to these things too. I have decided that anyone can get out of the Rogues Gallery by writing a letter owning up to what they have done with a promise to stop the behavior that got them in the gallery in the first place. Choosing to turn from the dark side will get you forgiveness. Obviously Earl would never have had this opportunity, so I will not post people to the gallery who have already passed.