I came across this little article this morning on MSNBC about
Jillian Michaels has been sued for alleged false advertising by a woman who claims she was duped into buying a diet supplement endorsed by the celebrity trainer.
Christie Christensen of Lake Elsinore, Calif., is seeking class-action status for the case she filed Tuesday in Los Angeles. Michaels is a hard-charging, no-nonsense trainer best-known as one of the stars of NBC’s hit reality show, “The Biggest Loser.” (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
Christensen’s lawsuit claims she bought a product called “Jillian Michaels Maximum Strength Calorie Control” last month and that it has failed to lessen her appetite or cause her to lose weight as advertised.
Michaels’ picture and endorsement appear on the packaging, touting her as “America’s Toughest Trainer.” The product and a Web site advertising include the claim, “Two Capsules Before Main Meals and You Lose Weight … That’s It!”
“Ms. Michaels knows better — taking two pills before eating does not miraculously cause weight loss,” the lawsuit states.
The Web site and packaging however note that the statements haven’t been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Christensen is also suing Utah-based Basic Research, which manufactures and markets several diet and weight loss products endorsed by Michaels.
Michaels’ publicist, Heidi Krupp, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment Wednesday. A representative of Basic Research said the company may issue a statement later Wednesday.
“Calorie Control” is not among the products that NBC lists for sale on its “Biggest Loser” Web site, which include video games, DVDs and equipment, some bearing Michaels’ image.”The Biggest Loser” has been a hit for NBC, often appearing in Nielsen Co.’s Top 20 rankings for prime-time TV programs.
Christensen’s suit seeks unspecified damages that are not expected to total more than $5 million. Her filing states she has “struggled with weight loss her entire life” and bought “Calorie Control” because of Michaels’ endorsement.
Now, I’ve got to tell you… although I don’t believe she will be successful in her case, I wish she would win it. Here’s why.
I know I’ve said this before, but I am not a lover of The Biggest Loser. I respect the contestants but the actual set up for the show itself doesn’t appeal to me (aside from the fact that I am simply not a lover of reality TV). I do enjoy the hustle and the polite reminder that hard work DOES have its payoffs, just… not at the expense of something else – lately, USA’s White Collar – on my screen.
A while back, I was looking up some information on a site, and came across this ad. It had Jillian Michaels – trademark sportsbra and tight spandexy pants outfit – with the question “How much weight do you have to lose?” and little buttons that said “10-20”, “20-40” and “50+.” Because I was curious, I just clicked on Jillian’s figure and waited for the ad to take me somewhere. Sure enough, it was a website pushing a diet pill. I thought it had to be someone using her image inappropriately – a la the Oprah/Dr. Oz ads that got someone sued a little while ago – but a quick trip to her website proved otherwise.
You mean to tell me that a woman who is the “toughest trainer in America” and works the hell out of people on a nationally syndicated television show weekly thinks it makes sense to push a pill that’s supposed to make weight loss “easier?”
Am I in the Twilight Zone?
I mean, seriously – if weight loss pills worked, would we need trainers? Would gyms be as successful? A woman who makes a living whipping people into shape allows a company to use her likeness for something that – if it worked – would essentially end her field?
And that’s another thing – if the pill works so well, why aren’t we seeing her make her trainees on Biggest Loser take it? It just sounds like she sat in a back room with her managers and said, “Well hell, if people aren’t gonna listen and still want to take pills, then let me get my cut.” Which, no… I can’t knock her hustle if that’s what happened, but dang if I don’t feel like she should be taken to task for misleading the public like that.
I’m going to write more extensively about this in the future, but read my words: pills don’t/won’t do for you what you need. I’d bet my OWN weight loss on it. In fact, I did. Like, three times. Save your money and buy some nice shoes instead.
I admire Jillian a lot. I aspire to one day be an all-star-lean-mean-training type. I appreciate what she does on Biggest Loser. What I don’t dig, however, is that she allowed her good name and image to be put on a scam product to make a little money… especially considering how she has daily reminders of the result of people being scammed by “quick” and “easy” solutions. Those contestants. Nine seasons worth.