One movie premier Los Angeles-based Herbalife CEO Michael Johnson will not be attending is Bill Ackman’s producer debut in the “documentary” about the nutrition company.

Herbalife

Documentary on Herbalife is really “advertisement”

Getting the jump on Ackman’s Friday premier of what Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) is calling an “advertisement” designed to bring down a 34-year old company, Herbalife issued a statement deriding Ackman’s efforts.

“Ackman has spent more than $20 million to date on his campaign against Herbalife,” the statement said. “Herbalife views the release of this advertisement posing as a “documentary” as nothing more than propaganda. The company believes this is yet another tactic in Mr. Ackman’s calculated, coordinated and well-funded effort to destroy a 34-year old company and support his $1 billion bet against Herbalife.”

The release noted that Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) had noted been contacted by Connie Chung, the film’s on-air talent, or Pershing Square prior to the hedge fund’s release of the film.  “Herbalife believes Mr. Ackman is not interested in the truth or any semblance of a fair and impartial hearing of the facts. As such, Herbalife has no intention of participating in Friday’s media event.”

The  release then proceeded to talk its cause, saying they have no minimum purchase requirements, a money back guarantee and studies that show its members are satisfied.

First every movie created for activist short bet

Ackman’s release of Friday’s documentary about Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) will be historic, as it will be the first professionally produced movie used in an effort to support a hedge fund’s bet against a corporation.

As previously reported in ValueWalk, the movie will feature former distributors who say that the company defrauded them. The documentary will be Ackman’s latest evidence that the Cayman Islands-based company is a pyramid scheme. Pershing Square has planned an event in the New York City Friday to showcase the documentary. The hedge fund has invited members of the community, government, press and consumer organizations to attend the showing.  The documentary will be followed by a live panel discussion with former Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) distributors featured in the film. The discussion will be moderated by Connie Chung, the former CBS News anchor. Chung said she would not accept payments for the work.  Pershing Square said it hasn’t compensated people in the documentary beyond expenses for people coming to New York.