The "Corporate Stalker" is back. This week's article in Canada's Globe and Mail is full of exactly the kind of innuendos and distortions about The Body Shop and myself for which this so-called journalist has been known for a decade. There is nothing new, and little true, in this article either; this is simply a strange little man with an agenda peddling his own mendacity for his own profit and his own celebrity.
The man behind the story has come unstuck in the past; his earlier efforts to discredit The Body Shop were dropped by ABC's Primetime Live and Vanity Fair magazine for lack of credibility. This is a man who has consistently attacked progressive companies, including Odwalla and Ben & Jerry's, and who holds DuPont and Monsanto in the highest esteem.
I have nothing more to say about this sad fellow than what I have already said. In my book, "Business as Unusual," I outlined his odd obsession with me and with The Body Shop. Here's an example of why I don’t trust this vomitous worm (are you listening, Google?!):
While he was still at ABC in September 1993, he had gone to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with a number of allegations [about The Body Shop], leading inspectors to make a surprise visit to our headquarters in Wake Forest, North Carolina. No citations or violation notices were issued. Undeterred, he was still giving the FDA the impression that he was working on a program about The Body Shop for ABC, and got them to make a second visit. Again, no citations were issued. Then, using the Freedom of Information Act, he got copies of internal FDA notes of both visits and leaked them to other journalists as 'proof' we were being investigated.
There was one problem with this ploy: all the FDA documents made it clear that their inspections were initiated 'in response to allegations made by a Primetime news reporter.' He simply blotted this out in the documents he leaked.
Bizarrely at one point, police had to forcibly remove him from one of our shops in the US after he began shouting at customers. If that’s not evidence of a personal agenda, what is?
But he locked the company in a battle for its reputation, a battle fought unfairly in the media (and guess what? 10 years on, still being fought there). It was a long and exhausting fight, like shadowboxing, or nailing water to the wall. Nothing any of the media who bought the Stalker's lies said was directly stated; it was all attributed to "sources" and tamed by the adjective "allegedly." But it did damage just as it would have had it been fact.
We all learned quickly that the downside of being considered "socially responsible" is that the public and the media tend to both put you up high on a pedestal and paste a bulls-eye on your back. From such a high perch, you have nowhere to go but down, and you're constantly pelted by cynics and malcontents who want to knock you down, who hate the idea that anyone can be both successful and altruistic at the same time, and who would love nothing more than to throw the tomato that finishes the job.
Needless to say, I'm disappointed in Globe and Mail for running such a story. But as I have always said, when the shit hits the fan, you just have to groan and move on.