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Paying for Lying

The Associated Baptist Press has an article that makes it quite obvious why lying is a bad decision, even apart from the moral issues involved. It reports that Procter & Gamble won a more than $19 million judgment in a lawsuit against Amway. What got Amway in trouble was spreading a false claim that Procter & Gamble donated money to the Church of Satan. This should be a reminder to all of us that our false statements have consequences, and that we must work very hard to make sure that what we are saying is accurate.


  1. you know, I remember in middle school, notices that P&G was affiliated with the Church of Satan were posted in every classroom, with notice on which products not to buy. I stopped eating Pringles for years. Only recently did I find out it was an urban legend ... apparently started out of malice.

    The middle school was nominally Anglican, but this is in a country (Singapore) where far too many Christians listen to the worst parts of the Christian Right in the US.

  2. Robin Luymes6:53 AM

    I get alerts for different times our corporation is mentioned in blogs, and I came across your post and thought it would be important to clear up a misimpression you seem to have.

    First, Amway was not found by the courts to be lying. In fact, although P&G did sue Amway, the company was released from the legal actions a couple years ago.

    Second, the Independent Business Owners (sales reps) who were found "guilty" by the Utah jury were guilty of spreading a rumor that has been circulating for some 30 years or more. That doesn't make it right. It was not a smart move. But these IBOs also quickly issued a retraction when they realized they had just spread a rumor.

    I joined Amway's corporate PR staff in 1991 and have personally helped squash the rumor on several occasions where it came to my attention. That includes a couple instances where our IBOs called into the office. It also includes my wife's real estate office and other individuals I've met who have shared the rumor.

    So, I will agree with your point that it doesn't pay to lie ... whether it's to build a business or to make yourself look better. But I did want to make sure your facts were correct.

    Robin Luymes, APR
    Quixtar Inc. (sister company to Amway)

  3. Thanks everyone for the comments.

    Weiwen: I, too, remember hearing some of these rumors years ago as a kid. It is kind of sad how gullible we can all be sometimes. Giving up Pringles—that’s commitment!

    Robin: Thanks for offering your perspective. I am glad you have worked to help stop the rumor; if only everyone would have acted the same way. It is sad that some Amway distributors apparently passed on this lie even though they knew it was false. I am going to trust the ABP article on this issue because they are an unbiased source and do not represent either side.

  4. jennifer h12:34 PM

    I remember those rumors too. We had a P&G plant in the town where I grew up. Every time I drove by, I thought about that. I didn't have the dedication of weiwen, however. I didn't stop any of my consumption. . . Of course, I just heard it from a friend, not posted around my school. Or I was just lazy.


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