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Urban Legends: Procter & Gamble Is Run By Satan!

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The ongoing battle between good and Amway.

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Perhaps you've seen the email:

The President of Procter & Gamble (PG) appeared on the Phil Donahue Show on March 1, 1994. He announced that, due to the openness of our society, he was coming out of the closet about his association with the Church of Satan. He stated that a large portion of his profits from Procter & Gamble Products goes to support this Satanic church. When asked by Donahue if stating this on TV would hurt his business, he replied, 'THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH CHRISTIANS IN THE UNITED STATES TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.'

"P&G's product list includes:

Cleaning supplies: Mr. Clean, Spic & Span, Tide, Top Job, Downy, Bounce Food: Duncan Hines, Folgers, Crisco, JIF, Sunny Delight
Deodorants: Secret, Sure
Diapers: Luvs, Pampers
Body Care: Head & Shoulders, Prell, Pert, Vidal Sassoon, Ivory, Clearasil, Scope, Crest, Always, Ivory, Lava, Safeguard, Zest, Oil of Olay
Medication: Aleve, Pepto-Bismol

"If you are not sure about the product, look for a Procter & Gamble written on the products, or the symbol of a ram's horn, which will appear on each product beginning in April. The ram's horn will form the 666, which is known as Satan's number. Christians should remember that if they purchase any of these products, they will be contributing to the church of Satan. Inform other Christians about this and STOP buying Procter & Gamble Products. Let's show Procter & Gamble that there are enough Christians to make a difference.

Could it be? Mr. Clean, tool of Satan?

Well, no. Despite his somewhat intimidating appearance (and that suspicious-looking earring), Mr. Clean is not, in fact, one of Beelzebub's minions – he's just a mascot with very distinctive fashion sense.

Procter & Gamble was forced to file a series of lawsuits in an attempt to dispel these surprisingly tenacious rumors, which have persisted for nearly 3 decades. But where did they start?

P&G

In the same place where so many of the most pernicious rumors -- that Elvis is alive, that Bob Dylan is dead, and that Newt Gingrich was formerly employed as a Rockette -- begin: at Amway.

At one of its many Satanic-rumor trials, P&G's lawyers presented the transcript of a voicemail message. In it, an Amway distributor could be heard repeating the claim that the company's president had proudly come out about his close personal relationship with Satan on a nationally-televised TV talk show.

But P&G -- like Liz Claiborne (LIZ), another company plagued by devil-worshipping rumors -- isn't in league with the Dark Lord.
P&G

And we have that on the best authority: Phil Donahue himself has denied (and denied, and denied) that the president of P&G ever appeared on his show. As he wrote in a letter on behalf of the company in 1995: "It seems impossible that [this] rumor... is still circulating after more than a decade. There is absolutely nothing to this rumor.

"The president of P&G has never appeared on DONAHUE, nor has any other P&G executive. Anyone who claims to have seen such a broadcast is either mistaken or lying. It never happened!"

Who would disbelieve Donahue? In March 2007, Procter & Gamble was awarded $19 million in a lawsuit brought against 4 Amway distributors for disseminating rumors that the company was in league with Satanism.

And for the record, no symbol of a ram's horn, nor the number of the beast, appears anywhere on P&G products. The company's Man in the Moon logo -- with its supposedly damning 13 stars (they actually represented the 13 original colonies) -- was retired in 1991, in a futile attempt to lay the rumors to rest once and for all.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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