Saturday, September 8, 2007

Disturbing Disconnect

I said I would post several more things, and I will post them. First, though, I want to take another shot at explaining a little better just how disturbing Heidi/Kimmer's remarks felt to us at the time, and why they precipitated a mass exodus of those of us on the receiving end. As I said, it is hard to describe without some context how it hit those of us in the conversation.

Bear in mind, we were people who had borne the brunt of the work load of the massive explosion of membership, working many long hours, most volunteering with no pay at all, and even the couple of paid people were voluntarily putting in many more hours than compensated for, because we truly wanted to help out and help others have success. We had gone to the mat for the members, for the diet, and, by extension, for Kimmer. We felt like we were having to address things we shouldn't have had to do, in essence doing Kimmer's work and making excuses for her, because she would not produce an ebook, would not clarify the vagueness of the diet, would not fix the site problems, would not take even the tiniest simple steps to clear up what should have been easily-solvable non-issues, like her name and appearance. (And, yes, that obviously DOES matter, both legally and ethically, if she promotes her diet business with herself as the prime example and selling point.) People who were working their hearts out for the site with little or no pay were being wearied and compromised and scrutinized and criticized, without thanks, while she deliberately hid herself behind them and let them take all the heat. We were the ones interacting with the members, answering their posts and PMs, hearing their concerns, watching their struggles, seeing things fall apart for many of them. Yes, we had success losing weight, and yes, others were, too, but we could not overlook the fact that others just as important, members who had paid money for this, were also having horrible health problems that were being completely ignored and denied with woeful disregard. And, we thought we finally had a chance to speak to her about these things.

We poured out our hearts about real issues, real problems, real people being hurt, and, instead of real solutions, we were answered back with corporate brainstorming about how to spin it. No acknowledgment that the people mattered at all. In fact, in another conversation at around this time, she went so far as to say she couldn't help it if they were 'too stupid' to go to the doctor with medical problems, because it could NOT have anything to do with the diet at all. Why not? Because she KNEW so - low carb never hurt anyone. So, I pressed back with the idea that, no, maybe not just low carb, though it does have a natural diuretic effect, but how about combined with low calories, low essential fatty acids, low sodium, low mineral intake from inadequate vegetables and supplementation, overuse of laxatives, and then exercise on top of that, which is a subject she knows nothing about. She basically answered that 200 calories a day from a piece of chicken and a cup of salad were all anyone needed, and nothing about adding fat or anything else would make that better. Period. The message to us was clear, and clearly disconnected from reality: she cannot be wrong, and she will not back down, so therefore those things must not be happening. End of subject.

We talked about how all the controversy was distressing members and causing them to drop out, and she answered back with glee about how Kimkins was financially solid and all this was good for 'sales'. (So, once you pay, she has your money, so you can leave for all she cares. After all, it saves her bandwidth, and she can just replace you with new paying customers.)

We talked about her responsibility to address these issues for the sake of the members and her business, and she just repeatedly went off on a paranoid rant about how Amy/Cutie and Catherine were out to get her and it was all their fault. That is simply not true, btw, and, even if it were, it completely denies her own personal responsibility for having banned them when they suspected her of her dishonest and illegal business practices. It became so clear that she cares nothing for us or the other members as persons, or their actual well-being, or even their weight loss, except as useful tools, a means to her ends, another selling point for her. It is, in her mind, all about her, all about her money, and all about 'us' vs. 'them'. It felt like a frightening peek into a disordered mind.

One of the admins disclosed her very deep personal concerns about the anorexia issues, and admitted that she had gone 'off plan' at a youth event, rather than let the teen girls see how little she normally ate. Kimmer answered with some bizarre non sequitur one-liners that of course all fat people having EDs, but not to worry about low calories because WLS people eat 500 calories and don't have EDs. What??? That doesn't even make sense on the face of it, let alone answer the real concerns. Kimmer just has a bank of flippant answers she tosses out like they mean something, and gets away with it because people don't call her on it. (Or, if they do, she leaves that site and starts her own where she controls the ban button.)

Oh, and about laxatives, well, one member's doctor gave her a prescription for a strong one daily, so there you go, doctors say it's fine for everyone and, anyway, it's not as if she is suggesting a FULL dose every day, just a partial dose.

When the admins pressed harder on the issue of teens on the site, Kimmer's response was classic - What! Teens here! No way! I'm shocked! Shocked! I'll refund their membership! Yet, elsewhere in the conversation, she frankly admits there are teens on the site. (And we know what happened later with a teen, and I might address that with some additional info in a later post.)

We were pushing her to address members' needs, and she answered that she was not ignoring the members' needs. Then, she launched into what is clearly her carefully-laid 'exit strategy' - how she would slap up enough of a forum so that the members could carry on helping each other without her, so she wouldn't owe them refunds if forced to cease operations (What? Forced to cease? I thought she said she was completely unconcerned and above the law?)

Oh, and if she was not ignoring member needs, then why are the plans vague, the ebook not written, the Ask Kimmer questions often going unanswered for days and days at a time, but she has time to read PMs, delete threads and ban people she doesn't like, and heap praise on those who praise her. If member needs have top priority, then why were the recipe box and other site bugs not fixed while the tech guys had time to put up all the sales and promo pieces and take the site down to scrub PMs and install tracking bots and open member PMs suddenly to all admins a few weeks ago. (Yes, multiple reliable witnesses can confirm this.) Why was there time to take the Who Is Kimmer blurb down to protect her (totally unconcerned?) but it took so long to take down Christin's blurb? Whose needs come first? Is Kimmer serving the members' needs, or are they serving hers?

How about refusing the cruise by making it Jimmy's and the bloggers fault, on the grounds that it won't be fun? She was talking to the people who were expected to make it a working holiday in exchange for free tickets (free to Kimkins as a kick-back from the cruise line) yet the one whose full-time, income-producing enterprise it is will not go because it won't be 'relaxing' for her? Anyway, she had already told me she never had the least intention of going, so no fair pretending it was suddenly a safety issue because of stalkers. She simply wouldn't let herself be seen.

Likewise, it was typical behavior to blame the bloggers for delaying the ebook, and to make excuses again about the Maintenance Plan, when she had told me before she had one ready to go up with the new site back at the end of May.

When we pressed her about our serious concerns for people's welfare, and the potential implications of that, she replied that we ought not be concerned for her sake. What the heck?! When one of the admins replied that, yeah, well, it is our real faces and our real names out there, and it wasn't just about her and her 'privacy' anymore, she proudly boasted that she was completely unconcerned for her liability. Yet, it was obvious she knew there WERE legitimate concerns. She had an elaborate plan to conceal her identity, she had structured the business to protect herself, had legal liability insurance for herself, had an exit strategy, and had published very little in her name, really, and that mostly vague and open to interpretation, while she set up her moderators to be the ones out saying things for her. She has clearly operated in such a way as to think she can brazen her way out of any charges or suits that might be brought for laws broken or harm brought to others. It is as if all that is irrelevant, as long as she makes a profit and gets away with it. And, by saying that if Kimkins is sued, it won't be her in court, she is also saying that she really doesn't care who gets burned, either as victims or fall guys, as long as it isn't her. AND, she is saying this to the very ones she had set up to take the rap for her! And, even then, she had to try to lay a weird guilt trip on US about, well, if we don't trust her word and her superior knowledge, and are unwilling to take a bullet for Kimkins, that we were on our own to hire an attorney! Hire an attorney at our own expense to protect ourselves from her misdeeds, for an unpaid or underpaid position? How bizarre and incredibly self-centered is that statement?

This was the clincher: With all the hoopla and probing, shouldn't people be coming out of the woodwork who "know" me? Nope. No one knows who Kimmer is.

It felt like she was losing it a little, like she just couldn't keep herself from bragging about how clever she feels to be putting one over on people.

To me, that is admission that she was lying in all those after photos.
After all, she has put multiple photos on multiple websites, plus in a magazine. How could she claim no one knows who she is if ANY of them are true?

If any of those photos are her, she is irrational and delusional to say no one knows who she is. And, if they are not photos of her, as she strongly implies, then she has just admitted deliberate criminal fraud.

And what kind of person spends years constructing layers of false identities, anyway? Such a person would have to be either emotionally unbalanced, or extremely dishonest, or both.

Maybe you had to be there to get the full effect, but I came away believing that I was dealing with someone who is devious, manipulative, dysfunctional, disordered, smart, stubborn, selfish, greedy, and dangerous.

That is why I had to leave. And, that is why I finally felt I had to speak up.

And, from what I hear from inside the site, her behavior is only getting more desperate lately.

24 comments:

Sue said...

I just knew Kimmer was all that and more!! Everything she did or didn't do showed her as a scheming and deceiving b***h. But she's good at pulling the wool over people's eyes - still has her supporters - even after all this. Unbelievable!! Wake up members - especially the Admin moderators. Kimmer is using you for her own gain!!

KimPossible said...

You so rock. ROCK. I can only hope that the members still enthralled will see TRUTH once and for all...

Kelly said...

Wow - that must feel like a ton, maybe two off of your chest! Hopefully it was theraputic, I was exhausted for you just reading it! :) Becky - Kimmer/Heidi can't continue to hide. She has been outed and it is just a matter of time now, it's all going to unravel. I honestly don't think she is smart enough to have insulated herself from liability. Many, myself included have filed BBB complaints against her, and although she is urging members to give her good reviews there to up her rating (and it actually got her from 2 stars to 3 BTW), the authorities will have to get involved. Kimkins days are numbered. Thank you for your honesty and candor and your caring spirit.

Valerie Jacobsen said...

I wonder why some people stay with all this, but then I hear some of them on the record, that the truth doesn't matter and that other people's health and safety doesn't matter.

Time and time again: "All that matters to me is that I am losing weight. As to the rest, I don't care."

Hmmmm.... I don't know if those statements are coming from real members or not; if so, it's an interesting parallel.

Alex said...

How horrible it must have been... to finally realize what "the real" Kimmer was all about, especially after being her friend and helper for so long.

I can now understand the delay to want to talk about it openly.

I'm sorry that it took SO LONG for her nature to be truly revealed, and that you were deceived.

Thank you for doing this blog. Hopefully you will help others avoid the same sorrows.

KimPossible said...

Unfortunately Valerie, that is true of some members. Seen it myself... :-(

CK_Doodle said...

You are an amazing woman, Becky! I applaud your strength and honesty. There are SO many of us supporting you. Hang in there!

Carrie

Stephk817 said...

You need to write a screenplay and send it to Lifetime Movie Network or Court TV.

She is a sociopath. Other people don't matter, only what they can do for her.

BabyBug said...

Becky your recent posts are actually chilling and definitely set the tone of the days leading up to your departure. That woman operates without a conscious plain and simple.
I posted on another blog to her supporters the question- WHY?
Why would they continue to support Kimmer and I think your recent entries will make them ask that question of themselves as well!
Thank you for sharing this.

Valerie Jacobsen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Valerie Jacobsen said...

Kimpossible, it is the same exact thinking in both leader and _some_ of the disciples: I, the individual, am all that matters.

The health, safety, and comfort of the community and respect for that community are of no importance.

Stephanie said...

Becky....words fail me at the moment. But for anyone interested in the possible *whys* of what Becky has described, here's a site you may find incredibly informative.

http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/traits.html

Hugs to you, and thank you again. You are an amazingly brave and strong woman.

shera said...

Wow Becky that puts a whole new prespective on things. You have given me a lot to think about. I don't know about the other posters, but I am still going to kimkins site for the internet friends I have there.

Kimmer I am sure will have to answer for the wrong doings. I am so sorry that you and the others had to go through so much. You are in my prayers

Jimmy Moore said...

I have some e-mails from Kimmer that are very similar.

follmercarolyn said...

Becky,

Holy smokes! You guys were dealing with a real nutcase!

Glad you got out of it before more damage was done to you!!

It's unbelievable, isn't it?

I feel sorry for Brandon..

VernsWifeVickie said...

Oh my goodness...this is worse than I imagined...I am at a loss for words...other than...that woman is frightening.

Cutie said...

i wish i could say i'm surprised by anything you've written here, but of course, as you know...i'm not.

she's been this way a long time...it's only just becoming more evident to some as more people have been allowed into her "inner circle."

like many sociopaths, the more successful she feels in her deviousness, the more invincible and "untouchable" she feels and can't resist the urge to gloat to "someone."

*HUGE hugs to you, beck*

i know it's not been an easy road for you to travel!

much love to you,
amy

getting better said...

Hi Becky,

I cannot tell you how thankful I am that you wrote all of this! I feel like we finally have answers to all that is going on!! Thank you so much. Actually, I feel like saying 'thank you' doesn't even do it justice! I'm just am overwhelmed at how GREAT it feels to finally have all of the suspecians cleared up for me. For the longest time, I kept having that gut feeling that something was not right, with both Kimmer and the diet. (I knew their was something about the diet due to the side effects) I just kept justifying those feelings away because I was loosing weight. I'm glad everything is coming out in the open. I'm also looking for a healthier new WOE that will help me shed those last 25 lbs and not ruin my health.

Charlotte said...

Becky, your blog is absolutely fascinating. I'm one of those longtime LCF "haters" of Kimkins because I always thought the diet was unhealthy long-term and I felt there was something "off" about her personally.

I had NO idea she was actually a psychopath. I thought maybe an insecure, unhappy woman loving the attention of a large message board, but she clearly has a serious personality disorder. I'm just stunned.

Thanks for being so forthcoming in your blog, I'm riveted as this unfolds.

And I have to ask, do you believe Kimmer/Heidi Diaz are the same person? My husband is an attorney and says she is absolutely kidding herself if she believes she is protected and has no liability. If the feds get hold of this, jail time may be possible.

Pat in Mich said...

Becky, thanks so much for your candidness....I'm sorry that this has turned into a nightmare for you and actually, this was the first I had read that Amy also had been banned. All of you were so good about answering questions and giving safe advice. Some of us on the forums have exchanged e-mail addresses becauase we are afraid her site will be closed down and we do not want to lose the support we've provided eachother. What I don't understand is that more people are not concerned about all the negativity surrounding Kimmer....Anyway, I will continue to read your blogging and hope you continued success. After reading all of this, even though I feel better than I did in June, I feel like maybe I should switch to some other diet plan. I really don't want to mess up my life with bad choices! Very scary to me!

Pat in Mich said...

I just want to say something to other who have posted that some of us Kimkins members say we only care about ourselves losing weight and not about anyone else. I don't think it's that we don't care about anyone having health problems....I for one certainly do care. I've said I don't care about the controversary because I am losing weight on the plan...but that's because I think most of us didn't realize all that had gone on. And when you have over 200 pounds to lose, and you can lose 50 pounds so quickly and feel so much better, maybe we do (I do) lose sight of what is really important. Please don't just generally think that those of us staying in the Kimkins forums don't care about others....really we do. And anytime anyone has mentioned problems with this way of eating, most people are very supportive of them trying a different method. It's just such a sad, sad experience.

theTRUTH said...

Thanks Becky. Putting this stuff in context helps recreate the scenario. As always, I salute your bravery and morality. I bet you are feeling a little better these days. Letting folks read the actual words and draw their own conclusions was the right thing to do. I only wish she had been even more clearly self incriminating. There is room in her comments IMO for some supporters to still read into it what they want to hear. Your eloquent first hand interpretation should help them realize theTRUTH.

Kristi said...

TheTruth,

I completely understand what you are saying! Yes, sometimes we have other priorities! Just because losing weight is the most important thing to you right now does not mean that you don't care about others. And just because you don't get just as enthusiastic about a cause as someone else does, well that does not make you selfish! We all have to choose our battles and the proper time to wage them.

bunnylumps said...

Becky, ((((((hugs))))))
You are a strong, honest, amazing good soul. You helped me in my journey and are helping me once again make sense of it all and take only the positive of this experience (my reaching goal and my friends I've made).
What comes around goes around.
Thank you for your candidness.
-Kim T
PS. Can I get my pics from posts and success stories deleted or do they belong to her now?