Kirstie Alley has long struggled with her weight, but she’s turned her plight into a cash cow in recent years with her new company, Organic Liaison, a weight-loss program designed to “liaise” consumers from a junky diet to a healthy one with supplements, diet and lifestyle tips, and online support. She claims it’s responsible for her recent 100-pound weight loss, but customer Marina Abramyan calls bullshit: She’s pressing a class-action lawsuit against Alley for making false claims; believing its her recent stint on Dancing With The Stars–and a low-calorie diet–that really led to her transformation.
There have been a slew of class-action lawsuits over the false or misleading claims in health product ads, but so far none have touched the celebrities who shill for them. Of course, Kirstie Alley isn’t just a rep for Organic Liaison; she’s an owner. She started the company in 2009, and claims to have developed the program with the help of an expert panel (which some people believe includes Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard, although she denies the company’s religious affiliations). But she didn’t drop significant weight until 2011–coincidentally, the same time she was on Dancing With The Stars.
Should Abramyan win? I hate to say “no”–I’m not a fan of celebrities shilling for products that don’t work, especially when they claim to deliver health benefits and unrealistic weight loss results–but health turnarounds and weight loss are elusive, even to researchers and doctors. It’s aggravating to see already-wealthy celebrities make money by lying about products that don’t work or aren’t worth your money, but still: It’s foolhardy to assume that someone else’s solution–whether it’s Kirstie Alley’s or your best friend’s–will work miracles for you.
If Organic Liaison doesn’t work for consumers, I hope it doesn’t work as a business. But if we’re going to level lawsuits at false advertising and misleading health claims, I think there are bigger fish to fry–like food labels and nutrition labeling–that would actually make it easier for people to get healthy and lose weight.