Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Air America and the Repugnant Huckster V: JABBS Talks With Friesen

And the saga continues:

Wendi Friesen e-mailed:

An attempt to publicly smear someone shows your extreme lack ofcharacter. I am not bullying you, simply using my legal rights to stop you from spreading lies about me and asking the public to stop doingbusiness and return all merchandise. If you had a problem with what I was doing you had the ability tocontact me or anyone on my staff.

I would like to let you know that I have a very successful corporationand we have the monetary resources to sue you for damages. I will pursue the defense of an attack by you in any way I can, to stop you fromspreading lies and harming my very good reputation with the media, themedical community, my customers and staff.

Wendi Friesen


So I called Friesen, because it seemed things had gotten out of control. Maybe I could reason with her?

Good luck. I got Friesen on the phone pretty quickly, but couldn't string together more than a few words without her interrupting me, telling me that she was going to have her lawyer contact me, and that she would have him explain how I was breaking the law and damaging her business.

Even when I tried to calm things down, and ask that she consider the merits of my protest, and the possibility that she should clarify the pitch on her website, Friesen wasn't interested.

"I don't have to listen to you," she said on several occasions, as she cited that she had worked with doctors, spoken at hospitals, etc. She tried to convince me such information is on the web page that I am protesting, although clearly it is not (it might be elsewhere on her website, but that is irrelevant).

"Why can't you just consider clarifying this advertising pitch?" I asked. But she said she wasn't interested in changing anything, and that her lawyer would do the talking from now on.

Apparently, Friesen says that because I responded on one blog with a comment suggesting that the blog operator consider returning a product they had bought from Friesen, I have severely damaged her business. Because I have questioned the way advertises its "Heal Your Body" CD, I have severely damaged her business. Because I called her a "huckster," I have severely damanged her business.

Who knew I had such incredible power?

I can safely say that in 16 years in journalism, talking with literally thousands of sources (some of whom control billions of dollars of assets), I have seldom had a discussion like the one with Friesen.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Wendi had her way, a movie company, actor or director could sue a reviewer for giving a bad review, and "damaging" their business. Same for a television network, producer, director, actor or creator, or a record company, producer or band.

Any television or radio pundit telling people to stop shopping at Wal-Mart or buying Nike would be subject to a lawsuit, if Wendi had her way.

Consumer Reports? Out of business, due to all the lawsuits from product makers, upset at the "damage" the magazine had done by giving bad reviews.

Sportswriters would have to write only nice things, because any athlete, coach, athletic program or team owner would sue them for criticizing them or suggesting fans stay home -- if Wendi had her way.

Absolutely ludicrous. Has she not heard of freedom of speech?

She sounds like someone who is way too defensive, and with a real small ego. I can't imagine her company is all that successful, because (no offense) one person posting on a few blogs and contacting a few radio stations usually is not enough to severely "damage" anything, let alone a successful corporation.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correct. Way too defensive.
Her "successful corporation" sounds like a shaky start-up, much too concerned about someone knocking down its legs before the foundation has even been built.
Forgive me if I missed it, but what are the credentials of this Wendi? Is she a bonafide authority on hypnosis and medical science, or just a entrepreneur wanna-be who managed to connive some investors to finance her national radio commercials?

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She's a licensed hypnotherapist, according to her website.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The better analogy would be to all the diet pill commercials on radio and TV. Have you noticed how they all now say that a person should take the magic pill as part of an overall plan that includes a well-balanced diet and exercise, and a doctor's care?

Friesen just needs to put the appropriate language on the web page. The protesters would be happy, and Friesen could continue selling her CD.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Um, if she actually has a lawyer they should know that you are free to make any true statement you want to anyone you want - even if it harms someone's "corporation".

You are only outside of your rights if you are publicly lying about her, and it causes her damage. So now, let's see if she can prove (she has the burden, as she is sueing you) that your statements are intentionally not true.

Maybe she is just trying to intimidate you, but I doubt any real journalist would buy that cr*p. Keep after her - she is obviously worried.

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt she's going to file a lawsuit. What court would even listen to it? And does she really want the national press to get wind of this?

I could just see it: Cancer survivor blogs away in protest, and big bad corporation sues to stop him from knocking their "anti-cancer" CD (which to any normal person looks like a crock.) Friesen would become a laughingstock, and Mr. Mark would be christened muckraker of the year.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if friesen can be classified as a public figure, you can get away with saying virtually anything (like movie reviews etc). she probably would be so classified. this is true as to libel.

while i doubt she will do anything other than "yell" at you, it would seem to me that she would only resort to action if you significantly impede her ability to do business. in that case, you may be outside of libel and in the tort arena. however, i do not see it getting there anyway.

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The above blogger was wrong in stating that Wendi characterizes herself as a licensed hypnotherapist on her website.
My below inquiry calls into question the true legitimacy of hypnotherapy in the eyes of the legal and professional communities. Although I'm not inferring that such therapy does not work, I am saying that the practice appears to have a long way to go to earn recognition as a bonafide treatment for health and addiction concerns.
Wendi does not call herself a licensed hypnotherapist. I spoke to one of her company reps today who confirmed that nowhere does she make that claim on her website or anywhere else. To do so would be in violation of California law (see below).
Instead Wendi describes herself a "certified" hypnotherapist. See her exact description on the bottom of this posting.
It is worth pointing out that while the medical community and state laws recognize hypnotherapy as a professional practice, no where do they require any certification or licensing at all for the practice.
Consider the following:
Wendi's website states she is certified by a number of listed hypnotist and hypnotherapy trade organizations. But these amount to little more than industry trade groups.
This certification is not even necessary in California where Wendi bases her business (see below).
A comprehensive web investigation confirms that anyone can obtain this certification by taking a minimum of 150-hours of class room training followed by a "Practicum Training" to become a "Certified Hypnotherapist." Such training is offered by part-time "night schools" such as the New England Institute of Hypnotherapy and the Hypnotherapy Training Institute. This training is offered at non-prohibitive tuition costs.

Here are some facts from

Wendi bases her business in California.
California State Business and Professions Codes under Alternative Health Care requires that hypnotists and hypnotherapists must provide a formal written disclosure that they are a "legal alternative/complementary health care provider; not a licensed physician" and "inform their clients of their hours of training and experience."
California advertising regulations state: "A person who advertises such lawful (alternative) services (as hypnotherapy) must say that he or she is a Alternative Healthcare Provider and not a California Licensed healing arts practitioner."
Also under California law "Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy is a Self-Governed Profession" and since hypnosis is self-regulated, no certification is required to engage in the practice.
The law also does not require membership in any hypnotherapy organization or association.
However, the Hypnosis Federation at least endorses such certfication and membership to add professionalism and credibility to the professions, as well as to provide practitioners with training.

For those who are really interested, this is exactly how Wendi defines her credentials on her website.
"Wendi Friesen is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP practitioner, and Master Hypnotist since 1995.
Member and speaker for the National Council Of Hypnosis
Member of the APHP, Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy and Member of the National Guild of Hypnotists."

8:14 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Well, I might be wrong but I guess any nationally recognised board of licensing physicians wouldn't go near someone who claims to...

enlarge your penis for $199,

enlarge your breasts for $99,

or grow hair with a CD for $49!

I suspect there is more magician than physician to her. And clearly (if her corporation is as wealthy as she claims) she must be pretty good at getting money from desparate people.

I wonder if Air America has bothered to do half as much research on her as this blog has?

6:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is there are several natural supplements many in the medical community insist can help treat problems like stomach ulcers, cardiovascular/breathing problems, hay fever, obesity and etc.
Many economic and medical experts predict that before 2010 more of these supplements will become recognized under health care plans causing a boom to the industry.
One problem has been the Food and Drug Administration which is little more than a mouthpiece for its big political campaign contributors: The Big Pharmaceutical Companies.
These companies act with the FDA to suppress any "preventive" medicines reaching wide acceptance so they can continue to dominate the market with "treatment" remedies. The U.S. healthcare industry is based on a treatment system not a preventive system.
But that's expected to change as the medical community becomes more widely accepted at alternative preventive treatments, such as natural supplements.

So how does the discussion relate to Wendi and her hypnotherapy? All this big mouthed witch does is contribute to taking away from treatments that undeniably do have strong endorsement from the mainstream medical community.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This big-mouthed Wendi and her exaggerated claims of hypnotherapy contribute towards taking away from the growing acceptance and legitimacy of natural nutritional supplements and other alternative treatments that, on a relative basis, enjoy broad support among the medical-science community.
People might actually equate her quacky hypnosis with far more legitimate alternative remedies.
And that's sad.

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note: I acknowledge sending both of the above two posts. The first was the unedited version I unintentionally posted. The second was the edited version I meant to be the only post. Thanks.

2:45 PM  

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