Sunday, August 27, 2006

Why Is George Stella Mad At Me Over This?

The world's most famous low-carb chef has a beef with Jimmy Moore?

When you talk about the most influential names in the world of low-carb, nobody will argue that television chef George Stella is near the top of the list. This amazing man has done more to share the message of livin' la vida low-carb with our culture than just about anyone aside from the late Dr. Robert C. Atkins because lives are being changed for the better as a result of what he is doing.

To say I'm a fan of the star of the hit Food Network television show "Low-Carb And Lovin' It" would be an understatement. I had nothing but great things to say about his "Eating Stella Style" book and even wrote a feature blog post on his fantastic "Stella Style" web site. My relationship with the Stella family has been one of mutual respect for our respective weight loss successes following a low-carb lifestyle and we had exchanged several very friendly e-mails.

But that all quickly changed when I wrote this recent post.

What did I type in that post that would have George Stella so mad at me? Well, it appears the subject of that particular blog post, Kelley Keener's inspiring low-carb weight loss success story, was already appearing on the "Stella Style" web site. Actually, I had no idea it was there until well after I had written my blog post.

Let me back up for a moment and tell you how I got Kelley's story.

One of my faithful blog readers here at "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" is a lady named Kay Witt, the loving and proud mother of Kelley. Kay had been telling me about Kelley's progress on her weight loss for a while on the "Stella Style" program and would send periodic updates with pictures for me to see. As a proud mother who was pleased to see her daughter get her weight under control at last, she was so excited to share this with me.

About three weeks ago, I received an especially enthusiastic e-mail from Kay telling me how much Kelley had changed and she sent the breathtaking before and after pictures for me to see. When I saw them, my initial reaction was, "WOW! She looks incredible!" Since I am all about encouraging people to lose weight here at my blog, I asked Kay and Kelley if I could have permission to tell her amazing story to my readers. Of course, they both immediately agreed and sent me pictures via e-mail as well as a synopsis of Kelley's story in her own words so I could write my column.

However, it seems George Stella saw my blog post featuring Kelley and it infuriated him based on some assumptions he made about it. I received an e-mail directly from him demanding that I immediately remove Kelley's story I had written from the Internet because I had essentially stolen it from his web site.


Well, first of all, I don't just go around trying to fill this blog with content. I have PLENTY of material to work with in the media, with new products, interviews with people in health, highlighting new blogs and web sites, etc. There is NEVER a shortage of things for me to discuss here. But I didn't seek out Kelley's story, her mom came to ME with it! What's the big deal about sharing a weight loss success story in multiple places anyway, George? Aren't we all supposed to be on the same team helping others shed the pounds and change their lives forever?

Unfortunately, Stella would have nothing of it and asked me to take down the blog story about Kelley immediately and to stop using likenesses from my site.

Why would I take something down that both Kay and Kelley have said they enjoyed very much? I put a lot of time and effort into writing that column and I don't appreciate being accused of taking anything from anyone when that story was offered to me as a possible future blog post directly from the person I wrote about. If anyone deserves an apology here, it's ME for being wrongfully accused of doing something unscrupulous and conniving. As you can see, I clearly did nothing wrong.

Interestingly, another problem Stella shared was my use of the phrase "livin' la vida low-carb" in my post about Kelley.


Say what? Are you SERIOUS, George? Regular readers of my blog know that I use the phrase "livin' la vida low-carb" in virtually EVERY SINGLE BLOG POST I write. It's my signature phrase which is why I had it trademarked. Just because I referred to Kelley as "livin' la vida low-carb" does not mean she followed some low-carb plan I came up with. In fact, I explain what I mean by that phrase in this blog post. It's just my way of referring to the low-carb lifestyle. Nothing more, nothing less.

Even still, I clearly attributed Kelley's weight loss to "Stella Style" in my column about her and even provided a link to Stella's web site where people could purchase more of Stella's products and services. Was this not generous enough on my part? What more should I have done? Why is George Stella making such a proverbial mountain out of a molehill here?

Because of my great respect and admiration for George Stella, I decided to respond to his concerns about this misunderstanding in a return e-mail addressing his specific objections and asking for a resolution to this.

"George, I greatly admire what you have done as an ambassador for livin' la vida low-carb in the mainstream, but I think what you are asking me to do is unreasonable since I was given explicit permission by both Kelley and her mother to write about her weight loss success story and they both enjoyed what I wrote immensely. In other words, I didn't do ANYTHING wrong here and don't know why I am being chastised for it.

I will certainly honor your request if both Kelley and Kay ask me to remove her story from my blog. This situation truly saddens me, George, and I certainly hope this does not create any bad blood between you and I as a result. My intention was not to cause harm to anyone in this and I sincerely apologize if you feel that is what I have done to you in this matter. I assure you there was no malicious intent with my blog post about Kelley and that I had no idea you had her story featured at your web site prior to today. At this point, what can we do to resolve this impasse?"

By the way, Kay and Kelley asked me NOT to remove the post as George wanted because they enjoyed it very much. That's why it is staying up. Unfortunately, this didn't sit well with George Stella as you will see from his final response to me.


Okay, I have done as I see fit and decided NOT to remove the column, George. It's the right thing to do since that is what Kay and Kelley BOTH want. As for the profits that I make off of featuring stories on my blog, now we're getting into the nitty gritty of what this is all about. It appears that George Stella thinks I'm making a killing off of the products and services I offer at my blog. HA! Don't I wish!

For someone like Stella who has made this his career--in other words, it's how he makes his living--then I can see how he would get upset from someone taking something from his web site and making it their own. But that is clearly NOT what happened in this case as he so ardently believes.

Furthermore, it seems he didn't like the way I improved the flow of Kelley's story from the one he has posted on his web site. I'm a writer and, as such, I enjoy making stories like weight loss success come to life for others to help motivate and inspire them to do it for themselves. I didn't change anything about Kelley's story that made any part of it less truthful than the one on Stella's web site. Like I said previously, both her and her mother were THRILLED with what I had written.

So, what about this whole soap opera between me and George Stella? What do you think about it and does he have a point? Or am I doing the right thing by keeping the post about Kelley's weight loss up and running to help others who are overweight and obese to find some real encouragement and inspiration? Is there anything more I should do?

One thing I DON'T want to do is discourage people from taking advantage of the great services that George Stella is offering at his fabulous web site. Despite his false accusations against me, I have no hard feelings for George Stella because he is a wonderful man for what he has been able to accomplish in terms of weight loss success as well as television and publishing stardom. Many low-carbers love and admire him for what he has done and rightfully so. He has raised the banner high for people who are livin' la vida low-carb helping them lose weight and get healthy. Nobody can ever take that away from George Stella.

Perhaps you can get George Stella to explain why he is so mad at Jimmy Moore over this issue by sending him an e-mail at I'm just wondering what I COULD have done differently to prevent this squabble from ever happening in the first place. It's baffling to me and frankly I'm pretty hurt by it. Let me know if you hear back from George. Of course, I welcome George Stella to provide any additional insight into why he reacted the way he did by e-mailing me directly at I hope to get some answers to this mystery.

8-28-06 UPDATE: Unfortunately, rather than addressing my concerns about this, I received another e-mail from George Stella today about the way I put this issue out in the open.


I'm not at "peace" George because you were WRONG about the accusations you made about me and you are STILL trying to make me feel bad for what I wrote.

Like I said, I support what you do helping others overcome their weight struggles. But the way you have reacted to this issue is an even bigger problem that perhaps needs to be worked on in your own life, my friend. I wish you the best, too, because this kind of attitude is unbecoming of someone in your position. Take care!


Blogger Newbirth said...

By saying precisely that she lost the weight 'livin' la vida low-carb' is paramount in this context to saying she attributes it all to your book."

What is he smoking?!?

8/28/2006 1:06 AM  
Blogger Bowulf said...

As much as I appreciate George Stella and his cooking show (minus his constant use of Soy Flour), he definitely seems to have eaten the wrong salad vegetable that day. I reread your story, and couldn't find anything objectionable in it. He couldn't even offer "plagarism vs. Fair Use" as an reason to take it down since the original person authorized you to post it. Success stories need to be distributed as far and as wide as possible to encourage others. It seems George wants to control and author all Stella Style successes in to a small camp. Would he feel the same way if a local TV show exhibited one of his weightloss success stories?

8/28/2006 8:32 AM  
Blogger Suzique said...

I'm really surprised at George Stella's comments. All it says to me is that he's for making sure all his web content is "exclusive" (he should have told kelly this) so that he can sell more books and drive more viewers to his show, which also makes more money for him. Whereas you, Jimmy, tout your book very little and are all about encouraging people living the LC lifestyle. Good for you for not caving to the "celebrity" pressure.

8/28/2006 1:44 PM  
Blogger LCforevah said...

This is the internet. Good stories spread faster than the speed of lightning. This is not old school print media. As long as there wasn't a contract signed between Kelley and George, there is no exclusivity to be inferred and obviously, George assumed there was exclusivity without even having a conversation about it with Kelley.

There is no reason to get so angry! Heck, Jimmy even gave a link to his website and wrote about what a fan of George Kelley is--that link just gives George an opportunity to get new readers on his site--which is how this works--by repeating stories and linking them!

I don't think George knows how this medium works.

8/28/2006 3:17 PM  
Blogger TeaJay said...

In my humble opinion........I think you both showed bad form. George assumed that the story was stolen and initiated a confrontation, and it IS considered internet bad taste to be publicly posting a private e-mail without the author's permission. I think this could have been handled a lot differently and tactfully on both sides.


8/28/2006 4:36 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Sorry, but me and my wife had a run in with him and his son Christian last year. Aside from the fact that Stella was prefectly alright with letting his son cyberbeg to his audience (very poor taste IMO), he had a fit when my wife posted a link to her Low Carb Kitchen Web Site at his web site, and allows no posting of links at all because, his reasoning, that they lead away from HIS site, and that she has recipes up, and for free I may add. That unnerved Georgie-boy to no end.

The guy encapsulates all that is wrong with mainstream low-carb dieting. Talk about a phony, first he readily admitted that he lost all his weight by doing Atkins induction for like 2 years, but now wants to claim he did it "Stella Style", which you know is BS because his recipes and non-plan allow for so many carbs I bet few would really lose any significant weight by eating nothing but what he suggests. He deserves little respect and admiration IMO.

The Zero Carb Daily

8/28/2006 4:50 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Hm. I read Jimmy's post and explanation and cannot find anything wrong with it. Maybe Stella needs to add more saturated fat to his dietary regimen: he definitely shows all the signs of some short circuits in the gray cells :)

8/29/2006 12:27 AM  
Blogger Jeff Hamlin said...

Jimmy you were entirely too kind to Stella. I think you should have told him in not so uncertain terms to stick it. He's nothing but a pure jackass with a show on Food TV.

8/29/2006 1:06 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Stella's indroduction to the lowcarb community was selling overpriced cheesecakes over the net back in 1998 or so. He was railed because obviously his carb counts on the cake were wrong and way too low. Other posters commented on it at the time and he got all pissy. You can do a google groups search and find it.

Stella is looking for the huge low-carb payday and I think he's getting frustrated. He allows no posts or links on his website forum, and zero negative publicity. If you check out his forums there are NO comments about his run in with Jimmy Moore. If anybody did I'm sure he or his sons pulled it.

His show has been relegated to the 4am "contractual obligation" spot and now has this fantasy that he can sell DVDs directly to his audience. His carb counts have always been dicey, yet he continues to blame FoodTV for the counts.

8/29/2006 1:43 PM  
Blogger Barbara Kellmann said...

What a jackass, I'm glad I never bought his book, and now I sure never will. He is all about money it seems, and this will come back to haunt him.

good for you Jimmy, for being so respectful, I don't think I would have been able to keep my cool!

Keep up the good work, you've given me loads of motivation and information, and I really appreciate all you do.


8/29/2006 9:47 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

I agree with TeaJay about posting private e-mails, although anyone who knows Jimmy knows that he's always done this.

8/29/2006 10:34 PM  
Blogger Sherrie said...

He sounds very arrogant and greedy, I am glad you held your ground.

I assume thats its because I am an Aussie but I had never heard of him or his site or atleast don't recall it and I have been lowcarbing since 2002, I think I will keep it that way!

8/31/2006 3:43 AM  
Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...


I don't think you have done anything wrong in this instance.

I would have thought it would be free publicity for stella? *shrugs*


9/03/2006 8:16 AM  
Blogger Ray Kelly said...

Lol, thinks he has ownership of the story does he?

Jimmy, if it were me I'd post your article up on a few Article Directory web-sites. These are places where webmasters go for content so he may just find a few hundred sites with the story up in a few weeks! Lol!


9/26/2006 12:48 AM  

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