Yvette d’Entremont, better known to many as SciBabe, posted an article she wrote today about these weird electric shorts called the ‘BionicGym.’ The idea behind them is that they’re shorts you can put on and they’ll exercise for you, and will prepare you to run in a marathon.
I can only assume they went with “bionic” because it sounds science-y, and the “Quantum Gym” must have already been copyrighted.
According to d’Entremont’s article on SciBabe.com:
The BionicGym is a pair of electrified leg wraps that claim to “burn calories on your sofa, at your desk, anywhere.” The videos on BionicGym’s Facebook page show people wearing the things, a little out of breath, with their legs twitching.
d’Entremont continues in the lengthy article, expertly dismantling the complete nonsense that is the “BionicGym,” highlighting the fact that they managed to dupe thousands of people into buying one on Indiegogo, raising over $3 million for themselves in the process. And despite the crowdfunding phase ending in January of 2017, no one has received their electric shorts. Curious.
Prior to publishing her article, d’Entremont reached out to the creator of the BionicGym – Louis Crowe – starting in December of 2017.
I’ve seen the replies back and forth, and they mention that the creator used the product, then ran a marathon in under 4 hours… Somehow. Apparently it was 14 years ago and there was nobody around to see it.
I’ll spare diving into more details about the emails here, since you can read all about it in her article, but suffice it to say that the conversation didn’t go much of anywhere, the “science” they use to support their product is bad (and they should feel bad).
She posted the article earlier today on the SciBabe Facebook page:
She also reached out to them on the BionicGym Facebook page. Hilarity did not ensue.
The manager of the BionicGym page, putatively Louis Crowe himself, blocked her rather quickly. So others stepped in and to our surprise, weren’t blocked.
First, I tried on my personal account and was pretty much ignored. The comment is still up here.
So I decided to #flex my blue checkerthing using aSE, which seemed to garner a bit more attention.
I love my blue checkerthing.
And wouldn’t you know it, it got results. And ohhh boy, the results were delicious.
“We’ll respond when we’re less busy.” Sure. I’m not sure who is screaming, but okay.
Whoa boy, here we go. “SciBabe is lying!”
… And she’s a backer?!? The plot thickens… Remember this part for later, it’s important, and there will be a quiz.
I wonder why they couldn’t find investors in their “revolutionary” technology? Is it possible because it’s completely bullshit? Let’s continue checking the comment sections for more clues, gang!
For being very busy, they sure seemed to have a lot of time to reply to people in a random comment thread.
It’s true. I’m selling a Cats in Space Quoting Scientists wall calendar that will ship out in early December, just in time for the Holidays. You should *totally* buy one because it’s going to be freakin’ cool and every day of the calendar has the birthday of famous and not-so-famous scientists on it.
What I’m saying is that if you don’t buy our calendar, the terrorists win.
Called the F out. I spoke with Yvette directly, and she’s not a backer.
A DOUBLE DOWN ON THE LYING!
It’s heartwarming to know they care about our friendship. <3
… But didn’t they just publicly disclose that Yvette was a backer? What they’re saying is that while they believe there is a rule barring them from releasing the names of those who backed their project, they released the name of someone who they claim backed their project (even though they did not). Seems like a move from the Trump playbook here.
I decided that I was done and decided to get a little cheeky:
Full disclosure: they have not reached out to me for my PR consulting services or for a social media management opportunity. I will update this article if that changes.
… And that’s where it ends on that thread.
So what’s the big deal?
Clearly the company is ran by a guy who doesn’t really understand how to use social media (though they can totally hire me to help). And maybe he’s also jerk in real life, maybe he’s not. But people are jerks on the internet to random strangers all the time, and while it’s a bit disappointing, it’s not something that warrants putting someone on blast like this.
The reason that this is such a problem is not only did they dupe people into buying their product using questionable, pseudoscientificish claims, they also have held thousands of people’s money hostage for two years now.
And these things aren’t cheap – many of the comments on their other posts talk about dropping $500 on their product. I encourage anyone who bought one of these to contact Indiegogo support to see what can be done about getting your money returned.
They also lied about SciBabe being a backer. If they’re going to lie about insignificant things that we can fact check extremely easily, then why wouldn’t they also lie about important things? And despite calling her a liar, they never managed to explain what she was lying about.
As Yvette pointed out in her piece, the BionicGym shares patented technology with the ab belt – the thing that shocked your stomach muscles to “exercise” them but didn’t actually do much of anything.
There’s even a goddamn ab belt with Crowe’s name on the patent.
In her own words, the product is likely “marketing fuckery.”
The larger picture here is that there are frauds everywhere. And they have money to buy ads on Facebook to promote their “product.” If a product sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And when a company responds to respectful inquiry the way BionicGym did, it only further demonstrates their sleaziness.