Mean ABC 20/20 skewers (and crucifies!) gorgeous fitness model
“Being filmed in a Rolls-Royce with a gorgeous fitness model at your side is a lot different than being interviewed by a sharp mainstream TV news reporter.”
~ Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale, February 7, 2010
"Being filmed in a Rolls-Royce with a boastful buffoon whose mailing list you paid THOUSANDS to get your hands on in order to expand your own scams is a lot different from being accosted in a parking lot by some bleeping mainstream TV news reporter wanting to quibble about the claims you've made in your infomercials."
~Jennifer Nicole Lee, gorgeous fitness model*
Y'all probably remember that last year Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale had an actual celebrity guest on one of his famous Rolls-Royce Phantom ride-alongs, as opposed to the usual lineup of irrationally hopeful wannabes with more money than sense. The celeb in question was "Bikini Diva" Jennifer Nicole Lee, aka JNL, who's most famous for hawking an exercise machine called the Ab-Roller Pro, and the ride took place in early 2010. This was a true breakthrough for Joe. And it was right in keeping with one of his own passions, fitness; after all, besides being the Buddha of the Internet, he is also the Charles Atlas of the Internet. What made the whole thing even more thrilling was that ABC News went right along and filmed the historic ride.
In a March 2010 post, Joe breathlessly blogged:
I confess that when Jennifer booked her evening with me for the Phantom Rider experience, I wasn’t sure how I could help her. After all, she’s already successful. And she’d already read all my books and listened to all my programs.
What was left?
But she later told me — as well as ABC News — that she got her money’s worth within the first 15 minutes of our conversation. We generated new ideas and came up with money-making plans she hadn’t thought of before. She loved it.
It was all one big party. A little over a month before he wrote that post, Joe had written another blog post about "attracting ABC news. This is the one in which he praised the sharp reporter who grilled him, Dan Harris. Some of us haters and naysayers saw it as kind of a proactive move: we figured he was thinking that if he kissed up to Dan (after all, they have so much in common! They both love indie music!), the report that ultimately aired would show Joe in a flattering light. And if things didn't go his way, Joe could always blame the mainstream media for stubbornly refusing to see all the good that the selfish-help industry does, or for editing out all the good bits. Either way, he had his bases covered.
Meanwhile, there was all that link love between JNL and Joe (not to mention the probable list love going on in the background). I'm sure JNL did pick up some marketing tips from Joe, and if so I'm guessing -- but only guessing -- that they centered on a few basic hustledork/hustledorkess principles:
1. Say anything you think you can get away with. People WANT to believe (well, except for those nasty mainstream reporters and those hater bloggers).
2. Don't be afraid to change your story as frequently as possible to make your marketing more effective. People love stories, and they have short memories (well, except for those nasty mainstream reporters and those hater bloggers).
3. Don't be afraid to pick your customer's pockets.** Find out your customers' credit limits and work around that. Forced continuity is the key to a healthy bottom line. And remember: Upsell, upsell, upsell!
Months passed, and finally ABC aired the results of those interviews in June 2010. The first one seemed like a fluff piece on the surface. One could almost hear Joe breathing a huge sigh of relief as some of his critics wondered WTF. But some saw the piece as a straightforward depiction of the facts, and the facts spoke for themselves. ABC didn't have to expend any effort make a buffoon out of Joe or out of the people who really pay $5,000 or more to ride with him. (JNL, as you'll see below, claimed she paid TEN grand. If that's true, methinks it's that list-love thing again.)
Anyway, as I've noted here before, despite all of Joe's kissing up by describing Dan Harris as tough but fair ("and I really liked him!"), ABC did not return the favor . The segment they finally aired on June 29, 2010 was mostly about James Arthur "Death" Ray, but it was also about the selfish-help industry in general, and Mr. Fire was showcased briefly and not flatteringly towards the end. (Here's Salty Droid's take on it: http://saltydroid.info/death-ray-mind-games/ )
So I imagine Joe rued the day that he ever agreed to be interviewed by ABC. But he showed them. As another proactive measure, he'd had his sweetie Nerissa (who says she is his wife, although to my knowledge he's never described her as such) record the entire interview with her flip camera. And he provided a link on his podcast blog on July 12, 2010, in a brief post entitled, "ABC News TV interview -- not aired." He wrote:
ABC news interviewed me for almost an hour early this year. But what they aired six months later was about one minute of the 47 minute interview.
Of course, they did their best to mislead, distort and stay negative. You can listen to the entire unedited interview right here. It's sincere, positive, and complete. This was recorded by Nerissa as she held a flip camera in my office.
And now, after watching last night's 20/20 segment, I'm thinking that maybe the lovely fitness model Jennifer Nicole Lee doesn't like ABC so much either. She even threatened to have them arrested.
20/20 and Consumer Reports teamed up for a report on infomercials and some of the top infomercial stars. One of the ABC reporters caught up to JNL in a parking lot outside of her tanning salon to ask her about some of the claims on her infomercials for the Ab-Roller Pro.
She apparently did not like the questions.
"You're obviously trying to skewer me!" the distraught but gorgeous fitness model cried, more than once. She also said more than once that ABC was trying to crucify her. Or at least it appeared that she said these things more than once. It could be that the nefarious ABC editors looped it back around to make it appear that she was just repeating herself because she didn't have any credible answer to the reporter's questions. You know how those "gotcha" media types like to twist people's words around and take them out of context. It's too bad Nerissa wasn't there with her flip camera.
Of course Salty Droid had already skewered and crucified JNL -- as well as her Phantom mentor -- nearly one year previously, but important gorgeous fitness models like Jennifer Nicole Lee don't pay attention to those negative naysayer hater blogs. Evidently gorgeous fitness models, like New-Wage hucksters, are too busy inventing new frauducts and flopportunities, and then making up new stories about how they became successful by using the new creation. The stories they tell vary depending upon the frauduct or flopportunity they're promoting.
F'rinstance, a few short years ago Jennifer said, on Oprah, that she got skinny partly by an exercise routine that included "Baby Squats." She used her toddler Dylan as a weight while she did squats. Later when she began peddling the Ab-Roller Pro she ditched the kid from the backstory and said she she got skinny and fit just by using the Ab-Roller Pro. (That word "just" was apparently one of the main points ABC questioned her about.)
And even though ABC didn't mention this bit, I'd like to point out that even later, JNL decided to make it sound as if she got skinny and rich by hanging with overpriced success gurus, as quoted by Salty in the "Phantom Menace" blog post I linked to above:
“My name is Jennifer Nicole Lee, and I went from fat to fabulous, from poor to rich all from coaching and watching those who succeeded in their own lives, and then applied their trade secrets to my own life.
I recently enjoyed a chance of a life time being coached by Dr. Joe Vitale …
I gave myself the treat to visit with him, and purchased his “Rolls Royce Mastermind Meeting”, which I paid a hefty price of $10,000. And it was worth every penny!”
Alas, ABC had to go spoil things by asking her about the inconsistencies in her various success stories, as well as grilling her on whether or not the before and after pics in her promo material were Photoshopped -- and, to add insult to injury, questioning her claims that she got her fab body by working out a mere three minutes a day. That darned mainstream media again.
During the parking lot "grillfest," JNL finally said she'd had enough, and told the crew they could schedule a sit-down interview that very day. So, according to the reporter, the ABC folks waited...and waited...and waited... (apparently JNL simply sat in her car and drank bottled water while they were waiting). Finally ABC heard from Jen's lawyer, who told them never to contact her again, and if they even tried to do so, Jen would have them arrested.***
Take that, mainstream media!
"Dr." Joe Vitale, who of course is also known for changing his own "success" stories as the mood suits him, could have told her there would be days like this, and he probably did. In fact, another star of The Secret, David Schirmer, aka Shameless Schirmer, aka The Mini-Madoff of Melbourne, aka The Wanker of Oz, could have told Jen the same thing. After all, he got skewered by the equally mean Australian media, which resulted in some investigations into his business affairs by the ASIC (the Oz equivalent of the SEC), which ultimately resulted in his getting banned for life from practicing in the financial trade in Australia.
Maybe Jen and Joe can take another ride in his Rolls and whine about it together over Vitale steaks in the Vitale Cigar Bar. And if there's room for two more, maybe they can invite David Schirmer.
* She hasn't said it, but I bet she's thinking it. And in all fairness, Joe probably wanted her list too...or something.
** "Don't be afraid to pick their pockets" is actually advice that Joe gave me years ago, more than once.
*** Interestingly enough, though, some of the questionable claims (and photos) have since been modified in the Ab-Roller Pro infomercials. This is probably a combined result of numerous consumer complaints and the ABC grillfest.
PS ~ Here's the vid of JNL and ABC. You can also watch it (and the rest of the infomercial episode) on http://abcnews.go.com/2020/.