Idle musing: was the Sham Wow guy set up?

After doing some reading, I’m not ruling it out. Something stinks about this.

What we know (or think we know) is that Vince Shlomi, better-known as the Sham Wow Guy, was arrested on felony battery charges after a woman named Sasha Harris claimed he beat her. The Smoking Gun:

The affidavit notes that Harris sustained facial fractures and lacerations all over her face, though I’m not sure how a beat cop could ascertain “facial fractures” without X-rays, but oh well. He obviously hit her, he admits it, and I’m not excusing him for that. Both were arrested, but “prosecutors this month declined to file formal charges against the combatants.”

But, now it gets weird(er).

If someone beat you up, even if you were a prostitute, wouldn’t you want to cooperate with police, even though the police are not always on your side? Ok, maybe not, prostitutes and police don’t get along, and maybe she didn’t want the hassle of going through a court system. However:

Ok, guy beats you, and you don’t want him brought to justice via the justice system, but you’re thinking about suing him. Why might that be? Two reasons I can think of:

  1. take advantage of who he is and get some free money.

  2. Fair game. “May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.”

Now it gets even weirder(er).

Vince Shlomi, aka Vince Offer, aka The Sham Wow Guy, is a former Scientologist who was (allegedly) ruined by Scientology and has been an outspoken critic since digging himself out of the hole they put him in and has become a successful pitchman.

According to the Skepchick,

Woah. What? Really?

Btw, Scientologists have no sense of humor at all, so this is not surprising.

Woe be to anyone declared a criminal by Scientology. That makes you an SP, a Supressive Person, and that makes you fair game for Fair Game.

In a cautionary tale, Vince should never have put all his eggs into one Scientology basket:

Still, the guy found a new job and in the American spirit he pulled himself up by his bootstraps and became a success. Sure, it’s as an infomercialman, but hey, so what? He’s selling products people seemed to want and is a self-made man. Who can fault him for that? All might have been well, except…

Oh my god, whatever you do, don’t sue Scientology. From Offer’s Wikipedia page:

Original source material, btw.

So, that’s just about all I know at the moment. What I can’t find is, what’s the state of the lawsuit? Does anyone else have any more tidbits or details to add? Please post if you do, or bump if you find something in the future.

It is just all very very strange. I can’t help but wonder if Offer was set up to break him down utterly by getting the money he already has and destroying his reputation. Anyone who thinks that’s paranoid anti-Scientology ranting needs to read about the case of Paulette Cooper or Steven Fishman or Larry Wollersheim, Arnie Lerma, or really, so many other Scientology critics (scroll down, then spend a couple of weeks reading). They’ve done it before, and they’ll do it again. It’s just that most aren’t well-known.

You have, remarkably, pointed your finger at the one person on earth I care less about than I do about the Church of Scientology.

But, I’ll play along.

First, I dunno why, but I always think of him as the Shamu guy, which leads me to wonder if his towels are made of German killer whales. And them I think of them in Nazi uniforms, with holes in the hats for the blowholes. But I digress…

The setup thing seems like a low probability. IMO he was too invovled in the events for it to be something other than a hooker-john dispute. Pluse if it was a setup, wouldn’t the church have pushed to to follow through with the cops?

I have no dog here, at least on his side. I’d never heard of this guy and have never even seen a Sham Wow commercial since I don’t watch TV. However, knowing the sordid criminal history of Scientology and their penchant to Fair Game critics, my ears perked up when I heard he was an ex-Scientologist, and even more when I heard that he had sued them.

Sure, possibly, but an involved setup is the Scientologist’s MO. Did you read about Paulette Cooper, and the lengths they went to to bring her down?

Here’s just some of it. If this isn’t involved, I don’t know what is.

Note that all this was confirmed by internal Scientology documents, and that they settled with her out of court. There’s more at the link, and that’s just one instance, one person. They have a history of this sort of thing, and what’s come to light is probably only a fraction of what they’ve done/tried to do. They would surely have known that Offer had a penchant for prostitutes via auditing/PC folders and surveillance and it would certainly be easy enough to set up a rendezvous. If not one night, then another, or another or another. They’re very patient.

Not necessarily. Too much official investigating via cops, private investigators and prosecutors could be sticky. Assuming my tin-foil hat is adjusted correctly, they would have achieved their first goal, ruining his reputation and destroying his business. If she sues and wins, they would achieve another goal, getting the money he’s made since leaving Scientology, which actually would achieve two goals: getting money, and leaving him broke so he would have to drop his lawsuit.

It’s just something that makes me go…hmmmm.

Am I the only one who had no idea what ShamWow was?

I didn’t either, until I started hearing about this. I guess it’s some sort of whiz cloth to clean with.



And despite the report that says it’s not sold in stores, our local Target sells them, … for less than the advertised price on TV or online.

Well, that’s pretty much standard for anything “not sold in stores.”

The surprising thing, to me, is that he jumped from the C of Sign Towels to being a television Shaman.

I have little interest in ShamWows, but I’m going to buy some just to say thanks for standing up to Scientology. I don’t know if it takes extreme stupidity or unbelievable bravery to sue the cult, but dammit, he deserves props for it anyway. And you know, while I do not condone violence, especially violence against prostitutes, who have a terribly dangerous job anyway, if someone bit my tongue and wouldn’t let go, I’d hit the shit out of them too.

Shamwow! Now it’s wiping out Scientology!

I was wondering if I was the only one to think this. You know, just because he’s male and she’s female doesn’t mean he’s got to take abuse from her without defending himself. If she really did do that, then I don’t blame him a bit for hitting until she let go–it’s not as if he could just peacefully walk away with someone’s teeth sunk into his tongue!

Ok, I’ll do it then. If she really did bite his tounge, and didn’t let go, that’s grounds for a smack down. Or in otherwords, self-defense.

Equipoise, thank you for your very interesting and informative post! I agree, it does sound extremely fishy, and very possible that he was set up. Have you seen anyone else posit the same theory, online or anywhere else? I think you’re on to something here…

Well, did they examine his tongue to see if there was any evidence that she bit him?

Right. After I posted the OP, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I would have hit and hit hard too. Chanteuse caught my update (thanks). Thinking about her biting his tongue and holding on also reinforces my conspiracy theory, which goes something like this: if a prostitute, like most prostitutes (or so I hear), has a no-kissing policy, she could have just told him no. If, say, he said something like “I paid $1000 and dammit I’m going to get a kiss” then I could see maybe biting his lip or even his tongue in retaliation and to reinforce the no. What I can’t understand is why she would bite and hold on, to the point where he has to hit her to get her to let go. It’s bizarre, because if you bit someone, wouldn’t you run like hell afterwards? She stuck around (remember, she was arrested by the police too). It was Shlomi who ran out of the room to go get help.

[tin foil hat]If she was part of a setup, I wonder how much she was paid?[/tin foil hat off]

I can’t take credit. I saw the vague theory mentioned (it pretty much consisted of “This stinks”) on another (political) message board and ran with it. I haven’t (yet) seen any blogs or posts in anti-scientology sites, though they may exist. I just don’t get around elsewhere all that much. If you or anyone else sees it mentioned elsewhere, please post because I’m interested to see if it’s just me and this other guy (I don’t know him) on the other message board. He had the link to the Skepchik blog (which was written in January).

I assume the cops saw his tongue and took pictures. They probably took pictures of her too, but we wouldn’t see those unless she takes him to court in a civil suit (and maybe not even then). This info has to be out there somewhere, but I haven’t seen it yet. He looks pretty miserable in his mug shot, and his tongue could be swollen, and it does look like he has blood on his chin, but he keeps his mouth closed so we can’t tell for sure. However, she doesn’t deny it. She could have told her side of the story but she refused to cooperate with police or The Smoking Gun.

I don’t have any experience in soliciting a prostitute, but wouldn’t it be difficult for the Scientology people to get to the exact hooker that he ended up propositioning and convince her to goad him into an assault?

Somewhere a Scientology-brainwashed hacker is, at this very moment, trying to ferret out Equipoise’s real name from the SDMB database.

Oops! I just added myself to the list!
But seriously, if a foreign power tried to pull off some of the stuff that these guys are known to have done against the U.S. government and its citizens we would be at war with them. Hell, forget the foreign power thing. These guys are terrorists–we’re already at war with them. It must have just slipped our minds to add them to the target list. I’ll call Barack in the morning and start the ball rolling.

He picked up a drunk whore and gave her close to $ 1,000 dollars :eek:. She bit the crap out of his tongue. Whether this was drunk whore psycho-bitch behavior or he was trying to french her against her will only the two of them will know. You’d think a G would get you a little tongue.
Trying to tie a Scientology plot to this little bit of people-with-money-behaving-badly street theater is a stretch.

True but it makes it more entertaining.

Maybe I’ve read too much about Scientology and its criminal doings over the past 30 years (that’s how long I’ve been horrified at their doings, not how long they’ve been doing criminal stuff) but, IF this were a setup, and I do realize I could be totally wrong (but if this cult weren’t so well-known for their criminal doings and setting people up, it’d never pop into my head now would it?) then it would be an easy setup.

Either get a Scientology girl who wants to climb the Bridge and promise her riches and a meeting with Tom Cruise to go along with it, or find a new recruit who wants to get out of prostitution and climb the Bridge, or just find a regular prostitute (most likely) and promise her riches and a life of ease. Have this girl go to where he hangs out and try to catch his eye. If it doesn’t work one night, try again another night. And another. And another. And another. As I said before, these crooks are very very patient and would easily spend days, weeks, months waiting for the perfect opportunity. IF this were a setup, it wouldn’t be a one-off chance in a million, it would be very carefully planned and executed. Once again, I urge people to read about Paulette Cooper, her story is linked at the end of the OP.