Dahn Yoga’s Official Response Letter to CNN (January 11, 2010)
January 11, 2010
Campbell Brown Show, CNN
Dear Ms. Rodriguez,
The third report by CNN on the lawsuit against Dahn Yoga and affiliates was a capstone in a systemized program of distortions and misinformation. What incentive does CNN have for painting such a dire picture of Dahn Yoga and its founder, Ilchi Lee? CNN could have had an interesting story and attracted many viewers without the distortions and omissions. CNN’s viewers deserve to have the whole story..
First of all, it is important to note that Mr. Lee is no longer directly involved in the operations of Dahn Yoga. He is the founder and his books teachings are a part Dahn Yoga curriculum, but he does not run the company, nor does he have ownership interest in the company. We have informed CNN on several occasions that Mr. Lee serves as a consultant to Dahn Yoga and earns a consulting fee and royalties on his books and programs. He provides similar services to other companies as well. Why do you choose to follow the speculations of the plaintiffs who have never had positions of authority in Dahn Yoga and who do not have an understanding of business in general?
Also, there seems to be some primal impulse on the part of your editorial team to paint Mr. Lee as some type of preacher. That you took several quotes out of context is not surprising to me. What did surprise me is that you purposely mis-transcribed one of the quotes. When Mr. Lee said “Hong Ik Vision” it was presented on the screen as “Holy Vision.” The two meanings are quite different. “Hong Ik” refers to an outlook that is focused on what will benefit all of humanity rather than an individual or single group. You have already informed us that you have Korean speaking people on your staff, so it does not seem like an innocent mistake. Especially, since you said that Mr. Lee considers himself “Holy.” There is also some reference made that he considers himself a “savior”. You insist on calling anyone who supports or is friendly with Mr. Lee a “believer.” Is that what you were insinuating about the dignitaries who were photographed with Mr. Lee? Contrary to the statements of the plaintiff’s attorney, Mr. Lee has not created an “image” which people follow. His popularity, like the popularity of Dahn Yoga, stems from the effectiveness of his methods and the positive actions he has taken for the benefit of communities in his native South Korea and elsewhere.
Your producer, David Fitzpatrick, asked me what Mr. Lee meant when he said that Brain Wave Vibration is a “holy scripture,” but you chose not to broadcast my answer. I said that Mr. Lee believes the human body is sacred, the human brain is sacred and that all humans have a natural sense of connection to the earth and their own divinity, however they choose to identify it. Mr. Lee works to empower others to develop healthier bodies and develop a deeper connection following their respective spiritual paths.
It is a real disservice to the public that Mr. Lee’s discussion about goals for the One Dollar project were misconstrued to make him look greedy. The One Dollar Project is part of a movement to gather small contributions and turn them into big solutions to the global problems highlighted in the UN Millennium Development Goals. It is a new project, but more than $38, 000 (thirty-eight thousand dollars) has already been donated to UNICEF’s project to prevent Mother to Child Transmission of HIV. This is the first of many intended recipients of One Dollar Project Funds. Also, a quote was used from one of his private lectures where he was talking about how to get over any fears and discomfort they had about money. Why not broadcast more of the recording?
The use of Dr. Gupta’s comments about Brain Wave Vibration to undermine Mr. Lee’s credibility was clumsy at best. Has Dr. Gupta examined any of the people who say they had health improvements? We offered CNN the opportunity to speak with our members directly. Did Dr. Gupta examine the research and findings of the scientists in Korea whose work has informed the methodology for Brain Wave Vibration? To say that hundreds of people in a room all wanting to believe something produces a mass placebo effect is shoddy science. Our classes are small and friendly, not full of hundreds of desperate people. Most people come to Dahn Yoga classes for stress relief and are always surprised to find other health effects. Further, Dahn Yoga does not interfere with our members’ medical treatments; we do not discourage them from taking their medication and consulting with their health care practitioners. On the contrary, some physicians send people to us, because they see the benefit in the gentle exercises for the reduction of pain and improvement of flexibility. As I told Mr. Fitzpatrick, we have not done formal studies on these diseases, but we have medical records from members whose conditions have improved.
I also mentioned to Mr. Fitzpatrick that are have studies which have shown improved sense of well being and changes in the stress response of Dahn Yoga practitioners. (See Prospective Study of New Participants in a Community-based Mind-body Training Program, J Gen Intern Med. 2004 July; 19(7): 760–765.) This is what all of these people have in common. Dahn Yoga is not some cure-all miracle; it helps people respond differently to the stress in their lives, even Dr. Gupta must believe this is good for what ails you. I am attaching information about these studies with this letter.
Finally, CNN introduced Ryan Kent, the plaintiffs’ lawyer who seems to spend more time courting media coverage than in the court room. He claims that Dahn Yoga is out to take peoples’ money and nothing else. What is he doing? Is he working for free? Or does he expect to retire early if his clients win the tens of millions of dollars they were asking for? It’s no wonder the judge dismissed 8 out of 10 claims in his original complaint. The judge already dismissed their claims, but gave them another chance to submit a complaint. She will dismiss the claims again, too. Why? Because their new complaint shows that the plaintiffs were running financial games on each other and are now blaming Dahn Yoga. They are using claims of brain washing and manipulation to avoid responsibility for their own actions. Also, Liza states that she feels she has a duty to warn people that they are being deceived. If she has such strong conviction in her beliefs, why not do it for free? Why does she need millions of dollars to prove her point?
Overall, this final broadcast practically advocated for the views and claims of the plaintiffs, though we are confident the truth will come out in court. . Ms. Phillips also gave a plug to the Korean magazine, Shin Dong Ah, who supposedly did a 40 page expose on Dahn Yoga in Korea. That article was actually a restatement of plaintiffs’ claims, speculation and false statements as well as some that were previously made on certain Korean websites. Dahn Yoga’s Korean affiliate has filed a complaint with the Korean Press Arbitration Commission against the magazine to make corrections and seeking recovery for multiple damages. Clarification on the points mentioned in this letter is also available on dahnyogavoice.com.
The totality of the three broadcasts, associated ads and on-line stories reflect an editorial decision to present information in a certain tone, in spite of all of the information in your possession which would rebut such a depiction. You have knowingly damaged the business and reputation of Dahn Yoga and its founder, Ilchi Lee. With respect to intentional omissions and misstatements, we request that you issue an on air retraction or apology. Please respond to this request by 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on Thursday, January 14, 2010 or we will seek to redress these harms through the legal options available to us.
In- House Counsel and Vice-President Communications