Paying for Lying

March 24, 2007

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.

5 comments

  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.

    ReplyDelete
  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
    Manager--PR
    Quixtar Inc. (sister company to Amway)

    ReplyDelete
  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.

    ReplyDelete
  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.

    ReplyDelete