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.