5. MONAT Lawsuits: Timeline of Events
In this section, I will cover the timeline of events and how all the lawsuits started.
I'll also show how the media was hacked by the hairdressers to manipulate public opinion, and how class-action lawyers jumped on a chance to make a lot of money.
Four Hairdressers Start a Dumpster Fire on Facebook
In 2017, Mags Kavanaugh, hair stylist and salon owner in Clearwater, Florida began making defamatory statements about MONAT online.
Kavanaugh, who sells products that compete with MONAT, was posting a lot of stuff on Facebook that was not only damaging but also factually incorrect.
In late 2017, 3 other hairdressers, all selling competing products, began also posting defamatory content about MONAT.
These hairdressers include:
- Vicki Nittinger of Jacksonville, Florida
- Adele (Toni) Miller of Las Vegas, Nevada
- Kayla Baker of Highland Township, Michigan
In addition to the four hairdressers, a woman named Vickie Harrington, was also involved in online defamation of MONAT.
Harrington, a resident of North Carolina, joined MONAT as a Market Partner (meaning she was a distributor and could buy the products wholesale and was able to earn a commission selling them). Harrington used or sold the initial product shipments she received, representing approximately $900 in value.
Within approximately three months of becoming a Market Partner, Vickie Harrington demanded a full refund of all products she had purchased from MONAT (approximately $900 in value). MONAT rejected Harrington's demand for a refund because it was beyond MONAT's 30-day money-back guarantee window.
In the next section, we will learn how the Facebook hate group was started.
The MONAT Facebook Hate Group
Around November or December of 2017, the 4 hairdressers and former Market Partner Vickie Harrington started a Facebook “hate group” called “MONAT – My Modern Nightmare”
The original group no longer exists (see below — MONAT required them to take it down after they settled) but at the height before it was shut down in February 2018, there were somewhere around 15-20,000 members in the group.
The admins were adding people to the hate group to the tune of hundreds of people per day.
If you know how Facebook groups work, anyone can be added to a group without their permission or knowledge.
It's disingenuous of them to claim that they had 20,000 people in their hate group, since many (most?) people were added by someone else without their knowledge.
I took the screenshots above of the second Facebook hate group, which was started after the first one was shut down. But I remember looking at the original group and it was the exact same thing — admins adding people to the group.
Libelous Posts in the Hate Group
Women in the hate group were blaming MONAT shampoo for everything from heavier periods and mood swings to miscarriages to tumors.
Yes, they were claiming that this natural shampoo was giving people cancer.
Here are a few examples of the kind of outrageous posts that were in the MONAT hate group, being spurred on by the 4 hairdressers and Vickie Harrington:
MONAT Filed Suit for Defamation
In an effort to protect their reputation and stop the libel, MONAT filed 4 defamation lawsuits against the 3 hairdressers and the former Market Partner.
Mags Kavanaugh was the first one sued for defamation, all the way back in July, 2017.
Not to mention hateful and vitriolic:
Subsequent lawsuits were filed against Vickie Harrington in January, 2018 and against Kayla Baker and Adele (Toni) Miller in February, 2018.
Vicki Nittinger was not sued.
Links to the Lawsuits
You can read the MONAT defamation lawsuits yourself — they are online:
Some of the Women Settled in MONAT's Favor
Some of the four women sued by MONAT — Mags Kavanaugh, Vickie Harrington, Kayla Baker and Toni Miller — settled.
UPDATE: I say “some” because I don't know how many actually settled. I was told by my source that they had all settled but now I'm being told it was only one or two who settled so far.
Also, it seems at least one or two of the women MONAT sued for defamation has countersued. I heard this from Adele (Toni) Miller who text messaged me on Facebook Messenger today. I asked her for more information regarding the suit so I could update this post, but she blocked me (not sure why — I have the screen shots and I didn't say anything offensive)… so I couldn't find anything else out from her.
A woman who goes by “Dixie Dust” on Facebook, who has been writing blog posts today in response to this one, says that two of the lawsuits were settled: Mags Kavanaugh and Vickie Harrington. Kayla Baker's and Toni Miller's lawsuits are still pending.
Incidentally, “Dixie Dust” was asking about my husband on Facebook, which was super creepy so I blocked her. I asked her several times to reveal her identity but she refused. I make it a rule not to interact with anonymous strangers online, but when anyone I don't know seems unhinged and they start talking about my family members, that's an immediate block.
No idea who this person is but she is obviously involved with these lawsuits, since she's been blogging about it for several months.
I will be updating this post with information as I receive it.
What that means is the women who were sued had to pay MONAT.
Additionally, they had to shut down their hate group and remove all their libelous posts on social media. (UPDATE: Yes, looking back it was Vickie Harrington who shut the hate group down. I remember that from a video someone sent me of Kayla Baker talking about it.)
You know what that means?
Scroll back up and read the definition of defamation. For a victim to prove that they were defamed, the statement has to be false. If the statement is true, it's not defamation.
In other words, if what these women were alleging about MONAT — that it causes miscarriages and hormone problems and hair loss — then why did they settle?
If the things they were saying were true, they should have been able to prove it.
Unless it was all a bunch of lies.
Haters Take Over Consumer Complaint Websites
The snowball of lies was rolling downhill and the faster it went, the bigger it got.
In addition to the libelous posts being spread in their hate group and on Facebook pages, the hate group members next turned to consumer complaint websites.
In a classic online mob fashion known as an internet “pile on”, they descended en masse upon 3 different websites — the Better Business Bureau, the FDA website, and Trust Pilot — in an effort to deluge them with complaints.
All three websites got hundreds of complaints in a matter of days.
As you can see in the screenshot below, Vicki (I believe this is Vicki Nittinger) is saying she's hoping they get more complaints on the FDA website:
It's small and hard to read so I'll quote what she says here:
“I'm not supposed to say so so keep it here but the only reason I posted that today is because the reporter was saying she needed more people to complain to the FDA because she had already called them asking for a statement and to find out how many people had complained and she's also called monat several times with no response but she messaged me because she saw the pictures that I posted of the scalp and wanted permission to use them so I posted the plea without including her hoping it would bump up the number of complaints to the FDA and she's doing the interviews tomorrow”
Wait… what? Hello! Does that not raise a major red flag for anyone else?
“The reporter was saying she needed more people to complain to the FDA”???
So Who Was This Reporter, Exactly?
I'm not sure who that reporter was, but I do know the hairdressers were conspiring with a few different TV stations to produce a story about their claims against MONAT.
The first story ran in March, 2018 on the Las Vegas Fox channel.
It was picked up by multiple FOX and ABC stations and in the coming weeks, the story ran in cities including Denver, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Tulsa, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, New York City, Tampa, San Diego, and others.
The video segments were also posted to YouTube and shared all over Facebook.
All in the Family
And it turns out that Adele (Toni) Miller's daughter, one of the women sued for defamation, is a news producer the local Fox affiliate in Las Vegas that originally ran the story.
UPDATE: I was contacted by Adele (Toni) Miller on Facebook Messenger today (2/18/19). She did not dispute the fact that her daughter worked for the news station but she wanted me to make a correction. Her daughter works for ABC News in Las Vegas, not Fox News. As far as I can tell, this is the same station that ran the first story about the MONAT hate group.
I confronted Michelle Linn, reporter at FOX 23 in Tulsa after her story aired and asked her about Toni Miller and her daughter, Jessica. She didn't seem to know anything about it.
But we have evidence that Toni Miller was working with her daughter, Jessica to get the story produced.
The photo below is a screengrab of a Facebook comment (sorry it's so small).
The comment is from Adele (Toni) Miller and it says:
“Truth. If you can get any of your clients to speak with my daughter for her News story that would be fantastic.”
Needless to say, it is clearly a breech of journalistic integrity that the news channel Jessica Miller worked for did not disclose the fact that their news producer was related to one of the women being sued for defamation, and therefore had a personal bias. Journalists do have bias, but we need to disclose it.
It's also sloppy journalism to produce stories with such little investigation.
But I guess they got what they wanted. A story that would go viral. Because viral stories equal more viewers, which is what news stations need.