Procter & Gamble suing Amway, too Distributor accused of falsehoods linking it with Satanism

April 03, 1996|By BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS

CINCINNATI -- Procter & Gamble Co. said yesterday that it has added Amway Corp. to a lawsuit that accuses an Amway distributor of spreading false statements linking P&G with Satanism.

Cincinnati-based P&G, the largest U.S. consumer-products company, filed the suit against Randy Haugen in August, alleging that he used Amway's electronic voice mail system to spread the rumor to other Amway distributors.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Utah, is the 15th such legal action initiated by P&G over the years.

P&G said it added Ada, Mich.-based Amway and five additional Amway distributors to the suit because the company -- a competitor in several consumer product lines -- failed to stop its distributors from spreading "false and malicious statements" connecting it with Satanism.

"We have seen little or no evidence that Amway has tried to stop this rumor," which Amway distributors have used "to encourage a consumer boycott of P&G products," said James Johnson, P&G's general counsel.

Amway spokeswoman Kimberly Bruyn said the direct seller of household, personal care and other products is "completely surprised and disappointed" by P&G's action.

"Amway does not condone the spreading of false or malicious rumor against Procter & Gamble or any other company," she said.

P&G said it has been plagued by the rumors for 15 years, and has logged nearly 200,000 phone calls and letters about them.

Typically, the false stories claim that P&G's president discussed Satanism on the nationally televised "Donahue" talk show and that its moon-and-stars trademark is a satanic symbol, the company said.

Neither the president nor any other P&G executive has ever discussed Satanism on any nationally televised talk show, and the trademark dates to the mid-1800s, "when the man in the moon was simply a popular design," the company said.

The 13 stars in the design represent the original 13 U.S. Colonies.

Pub Date: 4/03/96

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