One shouldn’t laugh upon receiving a letter from a law firm charging them with defamation and/or libel. There is nothing funny about being charged with crimes one hasn’t committed. Even so, seeing the big letters BFD at the top of the letter caused me to giggle sophomorically. I found the charges therein to be equally laughable. The letter came from the law firm of Baca, Findlay & Dziak, which purportedly represents T.S. Wiley, the developer of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) known as The Wiley Protocol. In addition to accusing me of malicious intent, defamation, libel and something called tortious interference, the letter demands I correct and retract all statements made to harm the various interests and entities associated with The Wiley Protocol.
The mission of this blog, is now and has always been, to provide women with interesting, empowering, edifying and thought-provoking information. Though every opinion I share may not be agreeable or correct, nothing here is ever written with malice or intent to harm anyone. I may at times be snarky, but I am not malicious even with my would-be enemies.
Furthermore, though some have no problem exaggerating their credentials, I am not comfortable inflating mine. Reluctantly, I call myself a writer, but am degreed in neither English, nor Journalism. I am a blogger, and as such, I direct the reader to what is stated on my ABOUT page.
“My opinions may make some uncomfortable. If you find this to be true, please realize they represent one woman’s take.”
Even so, I have this governing thing within me called integrity. It’s a nuisance, but it compels me to strive to write with fairness and accuracy. Additionally, because I esteem highly the intelligence of my readers, I make every effort NOT to write things which can’t be substantiated.
That being said, if I had any intent to harm any of the Wiley interests, I could have linked to sites which discredit The Wiley Protocol, or quoted the testimonials of former Wiley Protocol users. I could have linked to comments of Wiley’s former colleagues, including Bent Formby, Ph. D, who served as lead investigator on two of the three(?) published research papers which bear her name. Formby, who has distanced himself from The Wiley Protocol, has spoken out about Wiley’s lack of academic understanding, and her unwillingness to conduct clinical trials on The Wiley Protocol.
The text below (in red) is transcribed verbatim from the letter from the offices of BF&D, dated March 13, 2012. (Prepare to be confused.) The italics indicate my response.
This law firm represents T.S.Wiley individually and Wiley Chemists, Inc., and we have been asked to write this letter to you. Many of your statements about my client in your March 6th, 2012 www.deblogsite.com posting are untrue and defamatory. You have clearly made them maliciously to injure Wiley Chemists, Inc. in its trade, office and profession. As such they are defamatory per se. Under Cal. Civ. Code §§44, 45a, and 46 this letter constitutes a demand for immediate retraction in writing on www.deblogsite.com of these false and libelous statements.
In accordance with Cal. Civ. Code § 46, my client demands that your retraction and correction be accompanied by an editorial in which you specifically repudiate your libelous statements. Your web postings and conduct constitute tortious interference with the business and contractual relations of Ms. Wiley and Wiley Chemists, Inc. As such they are actionable and expose you to the imposition of compensatory as well as punitive damages. Furthermore, if my client is forced to file suit to stop your wrongful conduct, it will also seek an award of it s attorney fees and related litigation expenses.
Below we have noted some of the more patent, malicious and libelous comments made by you in your posting; some of them also evidence your tortious interference. Please note, however, that this listing of your errors does not constitute a complete nor exhaustive tally of all the defamatory errors present in your posting. Nothing stated herein is intended as, nor should it be deemed to constitute a waiver or relinquishment, of any of my client’s rights or remedies, whether legal or equitable, all of which a hereby expressly reserved. This letter is a confidential legal communication and is therefore not for publication.
Notice it says, “Below, we have noted some of the more patent, malicious and libelous comments made by you in your posting.” However, I didn’t say ANY of the things listed below, nevertheless, I am prepared to address each statement individually.
-Ms Wiley’s protocol is supported by over 100,000 pages of peer reviewed bench science.
If you say so, but I owe it to my readers to explain that though Teresa Sue Wiley cites the research of others exhaustively, many of her citations, neither validate, nor support her hypotheses. The statement above suggests there are 100,000 pages of research directly related to The Wiley Protocol, but The Wiley Protocol has yet to be evaluated by conventional scientific method. It has not been subjected to a randomized placebo-controlled double-blinded study. At this time, there are no published studies regarding the safety or efficacy of The Wiley Protocol. To date, the only studies, I am aware of, are uncontrolled observational studies. If I am wrong on this, I will eagerly set the record straight and am happy to provide links to any published or peer-reviewed research done in specific regard to The Wiley Protocol.
-Ms. Wiley is a published and recognized scientist and has never held herself to the public to be any type of medical doctor, whatsoever.
Once again, this list confuses me. I clearly stated that she is not a doctor in the following statement, “Experts who have spoken out against this course of treatment, say the dosages Wiley “prescribes” are dangerously high, but Wiley says she’s not prescribing anything. She can’t. She’s not licensed to practice medicine. Instead, she has a cult-like following of doctors who are treating patients with her protocol. She holds the patent, so presumably she makes money without having to worry about being sued for malpractice. “ Notice the use of quotation marks around the word “prescribes”.
You accuse me of “erroneous and false statements”. I am not sure by what chutzpah or civil code, you accuse me, as clearly we agree she has no medical background.
-Your failure to quote or cite to opinions or statements of any identified experts supporting your position smacks of base and unprofessional journalism.
Again, I am a blogger, not a journalist, however, I linked the piece to an article published in Newsweek which quotes the opinions of Dr. Isaac Schiff, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Harvard Medical School, as well as the opinion of Dr. Wulf Utian, founder of the North American Menopause Society, Gynecologist and consultant at Cleveland Clinic. (Incidentally that authors of the article, Barbara Kantrowitz and Patrice Wingert were awarded The Endocrine Society Award for Excellence in Science and Medical Journalism for the article.) Some might think the failure to fact-check or accurately characterize what I wrote, smacks of of sloppy lawyer-ism.
-You mention a “following of cult-like doctors” but do not provide even one appropriate example.
For which you should thank me, as I didn’t want to go there, but once again, you have carelessly misquoted and misrepresented what I wrote. What I actually said was “cult-like following of doctors”. The term “cult-like” refers to followers of a particular thing. The statement is value-neutral and could be interpreted as an endorsement of T.S.Wiley’s protocol, as it seems many are convinced Wiley is a visionary. The statement is no more derogatory than it would be if I were to say, “The Grateful Dead still enjoys a cult-like following.”
(Incidentally, the woman in this video alludes to what has been previously said by me and others about Wiley’s credentials.)
-Ms. Wiley never prescribes any medication, of any type, to anybody; licensed doctors do.
Not sure what issue you meant to address here. My statement was, “She can’t prescribe anything–she’s not a doctor”. However, the video linked calls into question the meaning of “prescribing”.
-The article is rife with biased “reporting” and a complete lack of fact-checking and/or journalistic professionalism.
The statement above is false.
I research and fact-check before I begin writing. Because of my own interest in The Wiley Protocol, I was researching it long before I realized it was a pertinent subject for my audience. Initially, it sounded SO good, I was well on my way to becoming one of T.S. Wiley’s fans. I ordered and read both of her books. As I researched, I began to have questions about the safety of the protocol. I wouldn’t have written this article, if I couldn’t back up what I said. I am happy to correct any statement, which I believe is misleading. (To avoid having to waste time with more threatening letters from the distinguished firm of BF&D, I will refrain from sharing my opinion of her books. Those interested, can read what others have said on Amazon.)
Your failure to retract and/or correct ALL of your erroneous and false statements and their repetition after notice of their falsehood constitutes further publication of libel. It also confirms your malicious intent.
If you do not immediately publish the requested retraction, and CEASE AND DESIST from tortious interference and making false and malicious comments about Ms. Wiley, The Wiley Protocol, or Wiley Chemists, Inc. or it’s [sic] officers, and its programs, we will file suit against you. Please govern yourself accordingly.
Respectfully sir, I assure you I will govern myself as always–with ethics and integrity.
To set the record straight:
The letter states that Ms. Wiley is a published scientist. Perhaps my definition of scientist was too narrow. In my mind, a scientist is one who has been educated in science and/or one who conducts experiments using scientific method, submitting findings for peer review and examination.
If the definition of scientist is expanded to include all who put forth theories, or all who write about their experiments, then Ms. Wiley is to be recognized as a scientist, along with the renowned Hunter S. Thompson, who wrote extensively regarding his experiments with pharmaceuticals and other substances. I therefore retract the remark that Ms. Wiley is not a scientist. If putting forth a hypothesis and writing about it makes one a scientist, she is clearly a scientist, as is every child who has ever written up a science fair experiment.
If T.S. Wiley is on to something. I wish her nothing but the very best. I hope she makes a “bazillion” dollars. (I have no idea how much that is, but it’s a term I got from an explanation of interleukins in one of her books.) If she is successful in helping women solve their menopausal problems without causing harm, she deserves our praise. However, as I wrote in the article, we never know the full implications of medical therapies until they have been tested on a large sample of users. Therefore, I stand by my original statement that the BHRT experiment is the least monitored medical experiment of our times.
It is my sincere hope that safe and effective treatments will be developed to help every woman who finds mid-life changes a challenge to their health or well-being. If T.S. Wiley is the one who succeeds in doing this, I will gladly join the cult of Wiley Protocol true believers. In the meantime, it is my hope that anyone considering the use of HRT, BHRT or ANY other medical treatment, will explore their options before making the dangerous assumption that doctors are always right. Doctors and scientists, like lawyers and writers, are human and therefore subject to error.
Lastly, this is neither a scientific, nor medical forum. Though appropriate comments are welcome, I will neither debate, nor argue the merits or dangers of this therapy any further. Anyone who wants to know more, can use the resources below to reach their own conclusions.
The Wiley Protocol: An Analysis of Ethical issues Also available at : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18551081
After this post appeared I heard from writer Andrew Tilin, who has also researched The Wiley Protocol. His experience with The Wiley Protocol for Men is chronicled in his book The Doper Next Door. I recommend it for anyone who would like to learn more about T.S. Wiley or The Wiley Protocol. The story of how his life was altered by supplemental testosterone, is one told with candor and likable guy-next-door humanity.