Dallas Bodybuilder Sues TV’s Pat Robertson For Unauthorized Use of Weight-Loss Photographs

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A professional bodybuilder is suing television evangelist Pat Robertson and others over RobertsonÂ?s improper use of photographs showing the bodybuilderÂ?s dramatic weight loss.

A professional bodybuilder is suing television evangelist Pat Robertson and others over Robertson’s improper use of photographs showing the bodybuilder’s dramatic weight loss.

Through diet and exercise, including the use of a diet shake recipe promoted on Robertson’s TV program, “The 700 Club,” bodybuilder Phil Busch lost 200 pounds in 15 months. Busch is a natural bodybuilder who lost the weight and gained muscle without using drugs or steroids. He sent pictures showing his body’s transformation to the show’s producers and agreed they could be televised because he hoped to inspire others. He also allowed “The 700 Club” to use the photographs to promote Robertson's “Weight Loss Challenge.”

Weeks later, Busch discovered Robertson was selling “Pat's Diet Shake” for profit through General Nutrition Center stores (GNC). When Busch realized his images had been used to promote a commercial product, rather than to inspire people to lose weight, he approached Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and asked for compensation, but was turned down flat.

“This was never about weight loss; it was all about money,” Busch says. “They only had my photographs because I thought ‘The 700 Club’ was trying to help others and because I knew CBN was a non-profit. Had I known Robertson and his corporate buddies were making money using my pictures, I would have handled everything differently.”

Attorney Jim Davis of Davis Munck, P.C., in Dallas, represents Busch in his claims against Robertson, CBN and GNC. Davis says he wants to know why a non-profit such as CBN would promote Robertson's commercial product.

“Pat Robertson should not have used Phil’s photographs to make money for himself and GNC without offering some compensation,” Davis says. “In addition, if I were someone who had sent money to Pat Robertson, I’d be very concerned about the blurring of the lines between CBN's charitable mission as a non-profit corporation and a Robertson commercial venture with GNC. It seems pretty clear to me that Robertson and his commercial partners, GNC and Basic Organics, have received private benefit from the ongoing promotion of Robertson's diet shake on ‘The 700 Club.’”

The suit, Phillip Busch v. M.G. "Pat" Robertson et al. (05-09781), was filed in the 95th Judicial District Court in Dallas County, Texas.

Davis Munck, P.C., is a Dallas-based law firm that represents clients from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies in high-stakes commercial litigation, corporate transactions and business formation, employment and intellectual property law.


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Alan Bentrup

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