Exorbitant payday loans are apparently not the only dubious product that C-list celebrity Montel Williams gets paid for hawking to desperate people.
The ex-talk show host was recently named in a class action lawsuit for helping a clothing company peddle a questionable pain remedy.
According to the federal lawsuit, Williams vouched in infomercials and on “Dr. Oz” for expensive “copper-infused” clothing and accessories that the “Tommie Copper” company markets as a “revolutionary” treatment for pain and inflammation due to arthritis, MS, lupus, fibromyalgia and other maladies.
The copper accouterments, such as shorts and t-shirts, plus knee and elbow braces, supposedly also help with muscle rejuvenation but cost a pretty penny.
A special compression t-shirt for men, like the kind Williams claims to wear, costs $49.50 and a back brace sells for $69.50. Men’s underwear is $34.50. Compression tights for guys go for a bargain $79.50.
Several plaintiffs say they plunked down good money for Tommie Copper’s supposed miracle products because Williams so enthusiastically endorsed them. But the stuff proved useless, delivering none of the benefits promised, they say.
The federal lawsuit, filed in New York this summer but not reported elsewhere, cites independent scientific studies to argue that there is no evidence that copper provides any of the benefits which Williams and his corporate paymaster assert.
“Defendants’ hoax involves numerous false and misleading statements concerning its Products that have injured Plaintiff and the Class (defined herein) by inducing them to purchase a worthless and/or overpriced product,” the evidence says.
“Contrary to Defendants’ claims, Tommie Copper Products do not aid in relieving pain, let alone chronic and debilitating pain such as arthritis or MS… In fact, clinical tests have found no meaningful therapeutic effect for copper concerning pain, inflammation, physical functioning, and stiffness beyond those of a placebo for patients with pain symptoms.”
As paid celebrity spokesman Williams exuded in infomercials that wearing Tommie Copper compression t-shirts helped relive the pain he suffers due to MS. But Williams, who recently falsely accused The Daily Caller taking money from Donald Trump for favorable coverage, also pitched Tommie Copper products as a Godsend for others.
“In one of Defendants’ infomercials, Montel knocks on the door of an alleged pain sufferer and introduces himself as [her]’Tommie Copper delivery man,’” the lawsuit reads. “Defendant Montel expresses that he heard the individual suffered from pain around her hands and instructs her to use a certain Tommie Copper Product for the next two weeks.”
In a 2012 interview with Examiner.com, Williams insisted the Tommie Copper clothing “can reduce swelling,” “increase mobility” and “increase blood flow.”
Tommie Copper’s corporate office in Westchester, NY declined comment.
Jonathan Franks, the spokesman for Montel Williams, responded to emailed questions about the lawsuit with a slew of threats, schoolmarmish lectures, non-denial denials and tweeted insults.
Franks, who has repeatedly tangled with The Mirror Doyenne Betsy Rothstein, apparently got unhinged because this reporter asked if Williams thinks people should pay for the copper clothing with money from the kind of 1300% interest payday loans that he promoted in New York until state authorities interceded.
First, Franks, his subtle wit much in evidence, tweeted: “@EvanGahr I’m going to assume from your ridiculously unprofessional note you got drunk or high at lunch.”
This is from a guy who re-tweeted a tweet that called Betsy Rothstein a liberal retard and “media whore?”
Asked again for comment and whether Williams stands by the copper products, Franks, quite the PR genius, tried a great spin control method, sure to tamper down any controversy and win sympathetic media coverage everywhere: threaten your interviewer.
“If you aren’t prepared to behave like a journalist, I won’t dignify your questions.”
“Let’s be very clear – you are on notice – so much as ONE inaccuracy and you’ll find yourself spending a great deal of times in courtrooms and meeting with your insurance carrier.
“I give you that warning because you’ve already [missing word] a question with a false premise – the correct information is right there for the taking, so I’m going to infer willful and reckless disregard.”
Franks did not reply when asked where the “correct information” appears and to identify the “false premise” the unspecified question supposedly contained.
Williams and Tommie Copper have not yet filed court papers in response to the lawsuit allegations. Google does not indicate any answers from Williams elsewhere.