Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Kiss of Death


Does becoming a feature story in the Kimkins newsletter or a front page model equate to the Kiss of Death as far as someone’s Kimkins experience goes?

Does Heidi Diaz, owner of Kimkins, warn her testimonial candidates that they will come under close scrutiny – not only by other members of the Kimkins website, but by anyone interested in the legal actions being taken against Heidi Diaz? I mean, warn them beyond “You might get some nasty IM’s”?

Does Heidi Diaz advise her testimonial candidates that she herself forwards her newsletter each and every month to many, many people on the “outside” of Kimkins, including several people she refers to as “Ducks”? Does she tell them that it isn’t necessary for those she calls “haters” to come looking for folks inside Kimkins, as she herself provides that information to them -- directly to their personal email boxes? Surely Heidi realizes that she is exposing her members to these risks. Does she warn them?

So, what does happen to people who become the current public face of Kimkins? For one thing, they allow themselves to fall into the spotlight. By virtue of allowing their stories and their photographs to testify to the effectiveness of Kimkins, they are also representing that Kimkins is a safe program and that Heidi Diaz is a person worthy of collecting the monies of people who are desperate to lose weight.

Consider Christin and Deni, former members who were featured in the Woman’s World article that lured many of the current Kimkins members to the site. Neither of them is there any longer. Both are involved as principal parties in the ongoing civil litigation against Heidi Diaz and Kimkins; both have requested very clearly that their story and their likeness no longer be associated with Kimkins, or be used in any further advertising or promotion of the program. Yet their photos and stories can still be found in numerous advertisements on the internet. Heidi claims ownership of those photos and stories based on her terms of service and permissions given at the time of original use.

How about Heather? Remember Brian and Heather? What happened to them when they asked to be removed from the front page? (See the bottom half of this post for Heather’s story in her own words.) I find it fascinating how Heidi responded when they opted to not get involved in her legal problems, declining to sign a affidavit endorsing her plan.

Some, like swalt, will be allowed to stay on site, but at what price? Ask AmyB. She tells her story here.

Heidi Diaz doesn’t really care what happens to you after she has been given the story she needs. She no longer needs you to actively promote her business – she already has you, regardless of whether or not you continue to endorse the diet. That is one reason why so many of the past people who were asked to step into that spotlight (or offered to step in it themselves) are now blogging about the reality of their experiences. Many, like deedlynn, LauraLa and AmyB - highly respected people within the Kimkins community – have been exposed to the truth of what Heidi Diaz has done and who she really is. They have seen with their own eyes the words she has written or had others write on her behalf. Their conclusions have been that they value their own integrity too much to allow themselves to be used to promote a fraudulent business. Unfortunately, because of their prior support and affiliation with Heidi Diaz, they fall under intense scrutiny of those working hard to provide information vital to the demise of Heidi Diaz’ operations.

Heidi coaches people to be sure and talk about how they felt before joining Kimkins, whether they were lonely, ashamed or resigned to their overweight condition. She explains that allows people to relate to them. In other words, it plays on people’s emotions – drawing them in and giving them hope. In many cases it takes a great deal of courage for people to be willing to even put their story to pen and paper, as writing those feelings down actually can cause one to relive painful past moments. There are instances where individuals who would be too timid or reserved to reveal so many personal details if left up to themselves have been encouraged by a stronger personality to do so. They ultimately take the risk of that exposure in order to please one who represents a friend to them, and one whose approval they have come to depend upon. That person could be Heidi, or perhaps another well intentioned friend. They may also become convinced that it is their obligation to reach out to others, not realizing that they are exposing themselves to scrutiny. Then, when they realize who Heidi is and what she has actually done, Heidi attempts to use that information to intimidate and dissuade them from speaking out against her.

There have been a handful of people who, once they realized the outside attention they were getting, asked to be removed from the front page. Why would that be grounds for banning? I don’t know. But it has happened, on several occasions. The provided excuse is always violation of TOS.I guess they failed to read the fine print in that TOS that states, “Thou shalt not speak against Heidi Diaz, Kimmer or Kimkins in any venue, and management reserves the right to follow you everywhere in order to enforce this rule.”

It is my fervent hope that people will count the cost before they step out and do what Heidi Diaz herself has never been willing to do. Ask yourself why that is – why Heidi, rather than honestly write about her weight loss struggles and encourage people with her personal and private details instead chose many years ago to take on an imaginary persona, with a totally fabricated weight loss success story, bolstered with photos heisted from obscure websites. For all of those years she denied the truth. She continues to deny the truth today. She continues to fabricate and embellish. She continues to speak ill of her own members behind their backs.

One last thought on this: Does Heidi, perhaps, only use people on the front page, or her newsletter that she considers expendable? Is being asked if you would be willing, or being allowed to be featured the equivalent of the Kiss of Death?