Dahn Yoga’s Official Response Letter to CNN (January 6, 2010)
January 5, 2009
Campbell Brown Show, CNN
Dear Ms. Rodriguez:
Last night’s broadcast surpassed my expectations. Both bad and good. Yes, there were more instances of input from our side of the story that I had expected. However, there were some low level shenanigans that I didn’t think CNN was capable of. Because they didn’t do their homework, they had to use speculation and innuendo to present their equation money plus abuse equals extravagant lifestyle. Below is a list of facts that CNN missed.
Fact 1: No promises were made to the plaintiffs. Kyra kept mentioning promises. What promises? This is the heart of the plaintiffs’ claims of fraud and the reason why the claims were dismissed by the judge. Plaintiffs cannot show any promises that were not kept.
Fact 2: Bowing exercise is meditative. Though rigorous, it is an ancient contemplative activity and does not necessitate moaning and rolling around on the floor. It is essentially a solitary and voluntary activity and the difficulty increases with the number– forcing someone to do 3000 bows is like forcing someone to run a marathon.
Liza’s description did not sound like any bowing meditation experience I had heard of. So I asked around and learned from people who participated in that particular bowing session that there was indeed someone who was wailing and crying and rolling around on the floor—it was Liza. Bowing meditation is a deeply personal experience, Liza’s insistence that she was required to engage in that activity to reinforce her dedication to the group signifies that she didn’t get it. When other people were quietly contemplating, she was howling and moaning. Maybe that’s why she thought there was “a lot of emotional distress.” It may also be why she says she was “refocused” to herself and her own problems. Finally, I learned that Liza was not able to complete all 3000 bows.
Because bowing meditation is an Asian tradition, CNN did not have to look very far to learn about the prevalence of this practice and to recognize the plaintiffs’ distortions of cultural differences. Rather than live up to its claim as an international media company, CNN is encouraging a type of xenophobia by not including important cultural facts.
Fact 3: Victims ran the Con. When Jade says someone encouraged her to take out student loans she didn’t mention that it was Lucie Vogel, one of her co-plaintiffs. This fact is revealed in the plaintiffs’ amended complaint, but conveniently left out by CNN.
Fact 4: Not my house! CNN wanted to impress its viewers that there was some substance to the claims of the plaintiffs, that Ilchi Lee has too much property and leads an elaborate lifestyle. The houses they showed do not belong to Mr. Lee, they are owned and used by a non-profit entity for very legitimate purposes. Also, the Arabian Horse ranch which they touted, has no horses. If they had bothered to call first or knock on the door like reasonable people, they could have found this out firsthand.
Fact 5: No mountain top retreat. How can a brother remember a death on a mountaintop retreat that does not exist? The location of the meditation and retreat center they are referring to is in a beautiful valley. Dr. Siverls unfortunate hiking accident occurred on a hike through national forest property.
Introducing the distraught relative is a really low blow for CNN. That case was dismissed and settled several years ago and Dahn Yoga was shown to have no culpability. Why is this news? Are you using this story to somehow convince people that the current claims against Dahn Yoga are believable? CNN has the coroner’s report, the sheriff’s report and the judge’s ruling in the case. Did you need something else to tell you that this case is over?
Fact 6: There are no accusations of “rape.” Why would Kyra use this supercharged word when she has access to the original complaint, which shows that Jade Harrelson is claiming “infliction of emotional distress”? The basis of the claim is allegation that she viewed the sexual experience as similar to assault.
Fact 7: We have not had the pleasure of Ms. Phillips’ company. While we would be happy to welcome Kyra to one of our locations in Atlanta or New York, we have no record of her visit. Her story sounds strangely familiar though. What she reported last night sounds like the circumstances of a visit paid to one of our locations by a Senior CNN Researcher.
Fact 8: Mr. Lee makes many public appearances. Just because Kyra and most Americans don’t know who he is does not mean he is not a celebrity somewhere. That somewhere is Mr. Lee’s native South Korea. Many of the people in the audience had come from South Korea for the event mentioned by CNN. If they had received an invitation or RSVPed, they might have known something about the other guests. Actually, Mr. Lee has a very rigorous schedule that involves public speaking around the world. Your Korean speaking cameraman could have googled for you and told you about Mr. Lee’s engagement schedule.
Fact 9: No bodyguards. The story highlights on CNN.com yesterday also mentioned that Mr. Lee does not make many public appearances. To bolster that image of a mystery man, he was said to travel with a retinue of bodyguards. The people walking with him in the footage CNN captured are not bodyguards.
Fact 10: Headquartered elsewhere. CNN stated that Dahn Yoga’s headquarters were in Sedona, Arizona. That is the site of Mr. Lee’s residence, but they failed to listen when we said that Mr. Lee has his own company which is separate from Dahn Yoga. Dahn Yoga headquarters are in Mesa, Arizona. Perusal of the state business records online, the court documents and even our stationery would have provided this information.
Fact 11: No one called. CNN says that Dr. Goldberg did not respond to requests for comment. Dr. Goldberg says he was not contacted.
I sincerely hope there are fewer distortions and less misinformation tonight.
In-House Counsel/Vice-President Communications