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Amway Forever: The Amazing Story of a Global Business Phenomenon by Kathryn A. Jones

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Reversing the Damage

Their next appearance before the TV cameras didn’t turn out so well for them. Talk show host Phil Donahue interviewed Rich in April that year. Jay had tried to talk Rich out of appearing, but Rich thought he could counter some of the negative media reports. He agreed to be on the show with the stipulation that he could give Amway’s position in a one-on-one interview before the audience was allowed to participate. But Donahue showed a film clip of Amway’s rallies and put Rich in the middle between current Amway distributors and former ones who had stories of personal and financial problems they blamed on the company. There was a lot of emotion, and the accusations flew. Some callers supported Amway. After the show aired, former First Lady Barbara Bush sent Rich a note that read “DeVos—10, Donahue—0!”17

After the 60 Minutes show, the company was inundated with mail, both positive and negative toward the company. In one letter, the writer said, “I consider myself to be the victim of aggressive directs and their upline. I got caught in an ambitious and aggressive group.” Another letter charged that directs leading his group were determined to reach their goal “at the expense of the distributors, come hell or high water. Their philosophy, ‘Mortgage your home, cash in your insurance, get a bank loan and borrow from whosoever (sic) will loan you.”18 Then the sales organization’s leaders told distributors at a meeting that certain things discussed there were to remain ...

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