MIAMI, Dec. 29 Celebrity doctor and author Sanford Siegal, D.O., M.D., creator of the immensely popular Dr. Siegal's COOKIE DIET® weight-loss approach and products, and Dr. Siegal's Direct Nutritionals, LLC, the brand's global distributor, this morning filed a lawsuit against reality TV personality Kim Kardashian over two statements they allege Kardashian made on her Twitter page on October 29, 2009. A total of four counts are contained in the complaint stemming from the following statements:
"Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet is falsely promoting that I'm on this diet. NOT TRUE! I would never do this unhealthy diet! I do QuickTrim!"
"If this Dr. Siegal is lying about me being on this diet, what else are they lying about?"
"Perhaps I shouldn't presume to question Kim Kardashian's medical opinion. After all, I'm no reality TV star, just a physician who's treated more than a half million overweight patients during a fifty-year medical career," said Dr. Siegal. "But when I saw her derogatory comments about my diet and my character, I knew we had no choice but to take action. Disparaging someone's product while surreptitiously hawking someone else's in the same breath is, to use Kim's words, 'not cool!'"
Dr. Siegal went on to say that his diet is safe and that not one of the hundreds of thousands of patients whom he has treated with Dr. Siegal's COOKIE DIET® experienced any significant problems.
"At 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day, Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet isn't even a VLCD, a very low calorie diet. It's actually a pretty mainstream approach that's safe, that works, and that many other doctors have used in their own medical practices," added Dr. Siegal.
According to Dr. Siegal's and DSDN's complaint filed in Florida's 11th Judicial Circuit in Miami-Dade County, Florida, Case 09-93439CA15, Dr. Siegal recently received at his Miami medical clinic a letter from Kim Kardashian's attorney claiming that, by placing a link to a certain article stored on a third-party news web site on www.CookieDiet.com, which is owned and operated by Dr. Siegal's Direct Nutritionals, LLC, Dr. Siegal and DSDN had created the "false impression" that Kardashian was a paid endorser of Dr. Siegal's COOKIE DIET® products. The letter demanded that the link to the story be removed from CookieDiet.com.
The complaint notes that Kardashian did not disclose in the Twitter message or "tweet" in which she called Dr. Siegal's COOKIE DIET® "unhealthy" that she is a paid endorser of the other product that she mentioned in the same message.
Siegal's attorney responded to the letter by phoning Kardashian's attorney and explaining that the hundreds of news stories to which hyperlinks are displayed on the In the News section of CookieDiet.com were published and broadcast by legitimate, third-party media outlets and web sites, none of which are affiliated with Dr. Siegal or DSDN.
"Our attorney explained to Kim Kardashian's attorney that the news story to which he referred in his letter wasn't written by us. We had simply put a link to it along with all of our other press clipping links. What's more, the part of the story that mentioned Kim was comparatively brief. The story was substantially about us, not about her," said Matthew Siegal, president and CEO of Dr. Siegal's Direct Nutritionals, LLC.
On December 25th, a copy of Kardashian's letter to Dr. Siegal was published on a popular entertainment news web site. Dr. Siegal said that he was disappointed but not surprised that Kardashian's threatening letter was leaked to the media.
"When I saw that her letter containing false accusations had been furnished to the media and was all over the internet, I can't say that I was shocked. Given the extraordinary media coverage that Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet enjoys, who wouldn't want to share our spotlight?" said Dr. Siegal.
Matthew Siegal speculated that Dr. Siegal's and his company's damages from the proliferation of Kardashian's statements on the internet and other media could ultimately be in the tens of millions of dollars.
"It's hard to say what the monetary damages will finally come to since they're mounting by the hour as Kim Kardashian's defamatory statements propagate throughout the internet," Siegal added.
Dr. Siegal's COOKIE DIET® is constantly in the national media and has been for several years. This year it was featured in a People magazine cover story and on the front page of The Wall Street Journal. NBC's Today Show has covered the brand two or three times. Dr. Siegal made his second appearance on ABC's Good Morning America in October and was recently interviewed on ABC's The View, Entertainment Tonight, E! News, and CNN's The Joy Behar Show. He was also the subject of major stories in The New York Times, Forbes, and more than 100 other media outlets.
"When you command that kind of attention, your spotlight is understandably alluring," added Dr. Siegal.
Matthew Siegal added that his company has issued dozens of press releases about company news over the past three years and that neither Kardashian nor any other celebrity was mentioned in any of them.
"Kim's attorney's letter demanded that we remove from CookieDiet.com the link to the story and publish a statement saying that she doesn't use our products. Since we had never published any statement saying that she does, we refused to publish one saying that she doesn't use them. But we did, in a spirit of friendliness, comply with her request that we remove from our web site the link to the news story in question, even though we didn't write the story and had no legal obligation to remove the link to it. It's interesting to note that we removed the link a week before Kim's lawyer's letter was splattered all over the web. So much for letting sleeping dogs lie!" added Siegal.
According to Dr. Siegal, media reports that Kim Kardashian may have used his famous cookies did not excite him.
"My first reaction when I was informed many months ago that some entertainment web site had reported that Kim Kardashian was a fan of Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet was 'Kim who?'," said Dr. Siegal. "I'd never heard of her."
Matthew Siegal, who is Dr. Siegal's son and was the driving force behind the 2007 retail and consumer launch of his father's 35-year old brand, added that Kardashian waited more than six months after it was published to comment on the news story to which she now objects.
"That minor story about Kim Kardashian using our products surfaced about eight months ago. If the report was untrue and she objected to it, why did she wait so long to make her position known?" asked Siegal.
Matthew Siegal added that it was Kim Kardashian's recent actions, and not those of his company or his father (who turned 81 yesterday), that have made the Kardashian/Siegal story a news item this week.
"In my opinion, whether or not Kim Kardashian ever chowed down on my father's cookies was a really boring story that nobody ever cared about," concluded Matthew Siegal. "If she didn't want to be publicly associated with Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet, which is perpetually in the national media, all she needed to do was keep quiet. Instead, she has--perhaps inadvertently--resurrected the original story, spawned many outlandish new ones, and ensured that this former non-story will be front page news for the next fifteen minutes."
ABOUT DR. SIEGAL'S COOKIE DIET®
Dr. Siegal's COOKIE DIET® is a profitable, 100% debt-free, family-owned business comprising several companies with corporate locations in the Miami, Florida, and Washington, DC, metro areas. Under license from Dr. Siegal's SM Licensing Corporation, Dr. Siegal's Direct Nutritionals, LLC operates the web site CookieDiet.com (115,000 members) and distributes products directly to consumers and resellers including GNC and Walgreens.
Media Relations Dr. Siegal's COOKIE DIET(R) (CookieDiet.com) 877-377-4342 (North America) 703-677-8068 (Elsewhere)
SOURCE Dr. Siegal's COOKIE DIET (CookieDiet.com)