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- Three British influencers were secretly filmed agreeing to promote a non-existent weight-loss drink that supposedly contained the fatal chemical hydrogen cyanide.
- Lauren Goodger, Mike Hassini, and Zara Holland have over 1.3 million combined followers, and all said they would post Instagram ads advocating the lethal drink, as documented in an investigation by the BBC and anonymous Irish presenter Blindboy.
- During the documentary episode titled “Blindboy Undestroys the World: Why Are We So Anxious?” all three reality TV stars also agreed to advertise the drink without even trying it themselves.
- A statement from Holland said: “Although I had read out the ingredients which included hydrogen cyanide, I did not immediately know what this was at the time.”
- A representative for Goodger also told Insider there was “quite a large sum” offered, which they believe to have been a “blatant attempt to get her to attend the meeting.”
- In a statement sent to Insider, Goodger said: “As with any audition you people please and say what they want to hear.”
- Hassini did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Three British influencers were secretly filmed agreeing to promote a non-existent weight-loss drink that supposedly contained the fatal chemical hydrogen cyanide.
In an investigation by the BBC and anonymous Irish presenter Blindboy, the influencers — all reality TV stars — were caught out saying they would promote a product without trying it or checking the ingredients.
It was described as “a class new weight-loss drink that contains everything you need to shed those horrible, ugly pounds.”
However, it was also listed as containing hydrogen cyanide, a lethal chemical that was used by the Nazis in gas chambers during World War Two.
“We wanted to see whether they’d actually check the ingredients or whether they’d accidentally murder one of their friends,” Blindboy said in the documentary episode, “Blindboy Undestroys the World: Why Are We So Anxious?“
They were also told that Cyanora was still in production so they would have to start posting about it before trying it.
Weight loss weightloss weight loss programs weight loss foods weight loss tips The influencers didn’t know they were being filmed
The influencers were all invited for a meeting — in person or over Skype — to discuss the product and the collaboration, and Goodger and Holland both included their agents.
Unbeknownst to the talent, the meetings were being filmed.
“All followers of mine do believe in what I post, from the spa weekends to what clothes I wear,” said Holland, who also said it wasn’t a problem to promote the drink before trying it — although her agent later said she wouldn’t.
Hassini suggested that doing an Instagram story was better than an actual post as it would be less clearly a paid partnership, and he said he was fine to promote it before trying too.
Goodger said the same thing and also admitted she’d never tried Skinny Coffee, despite having previously posted on Instagram saying she was “loving” it.
How much money the influencers were being offered for the fake promotional work is unclear.
All three were given the script for the audition, and it clearly mentioned cyanide multiple times.
“If you want to boost your weight-loss, try Cyanora,” the script read. “Cyanora contains all-natural extracts: calamine, magnesium, lemon balm, red clover, hydrogen cyanide.”
Hassini commented: “From what I know that all looks pretty natural.”
Weight loss weightloss weight loss programs weight loss foods weight loss tips ‘I would never deliberately mislead my followers’
Only later did the influencers find out the truth.
A statement from Holland said: “Although I had read out the ingredients which included hydrogen cyanide, I did not immediately know what this was at the time.
“My agent did state that I would not promote a product without trying the product first, and we needed to be provided with more details.
“I would never deliberately mislead my followers or promote a product that was dangerous.”
Meanwhile, Lauren Goodger’s former agent said in a statement: “Our client would not endorse the promotion of products that contained harmful or suspect ingredients, or without knowing the contents.
“Our client was told the product was in production.”
Goodger has since changed management firms, and one of her new representatives told Insider that there was “no mention” of what was in the drink before the meeting.
“The money on the table was quite a large sum which was offered, we believe this to be a blatant attempt to get her to attend the meeting,” the spokesperson said.
A statement from Goodger sent to Insider said: “I was asked to read a script which I did to screen test me for the job. This script was given to me at that precise moment. No deals were signed and it was an audition. As with any audition you people please and say what they want to hear.
“They asked me would I promote the drink without using it. In the heat of the moment I said yes and also said I hadn’t tried skinny coffee in the hope of getting the job. Of course I would never promote anything that contains poison and proper checks would have been made before any promotion.”
The statement added: “I also have never said I lost two stone using skinny coffee. That is a complete fabrication and I’m unsure where that has come from. I would never promote anything on my Instagram that I don’t feel is right for my followers and that I haven’t used.
“The sit-down meeting after the audition was filmed undercover without my knowledge, and questions were put to me that have been edited out of the programme to present me in a certain light. I am now under new management who look into everything thoroughly before allowing me to attend meetings or promote products that are unsafe to use.”
Hassini did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
It’s not the first time Goodger has got into trouble for making misleading claims on Instagram — the BBC reports that in October 2019, her posts promoting the diet drink BoomBod were banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for making irresponsible claims.