To answer distributors' (and critics') concerns, Amway added a section to its corporate website which explained their "Statements on Free Speech, on the Internet, and on Sidney Schwartz and P&G." I don't remember when the original version was posted (I believe it was sometime in December 1997), but on January 6, 1998, Amway revised its "Statements." Sometime later (again, I don't know specifically when), Amway removed its "Statements" from their website.
And then, in March of 1999 (after they had served subpoenas to many critics), Amway posted its Amway Statement About Subpoenas, Sidney Schwartz and P&G. If you ask me, it's getting kind of tough to keep track of Amway's "statements"- whether they are about free speech, P&G, or whatever!
Here is the original "Amway Statements on Free Speech, on the Internet, and on Sidney Schwartz and P&G"- both the original text from December 1997 and the revisions from January 1998. The 'original' text is in black, 'deleted' text is in blue italic, and 'added' text is in red italic
... ON FREE SPEECH
Since its founding in 1959, Amway and its founders have been active supporters of personal freedoms, including freedom of speech. Freedom is one of the essential elements of Amway's fundamental business philosophy.
... ON THE INTERNET
Amway is excited about the Internet and its potential to foster greater international communication and understanding. Amway also believes that respect for basic rights, as well as honesty and civility, are essential to any marketplace of ideas, including the web.
Amway carefully reviews all its postings to ensure they are absolutely truthful, legal and respectful of the rights of others. While we respect and welcome honest disagreement and discussion, we expect that others who comment about Amway -- or about the millions of hard-working, dedicated Amway distributors worldwide - will also seek to tell the truth, obey the law and respect others and their differences.
... ON SIDNEY SCHWARTZ AND P&G
For some time, Amway has been aware of a web site created by Mr. Sidney Schwartz. Mr. Schwartz makes no secret of the fact that he disapproves of Amway and has little or no respect for our distributors and their business opportunity. By itself this causes Amway no problems; everyone is entitled to express his or her opinion. But Mr. Schwartz also posted a considerable amount of material, some of it clearly written by others, that we believe crossed the line from truth and honest opinion to defamation and lies. Also, some of the material posted on Mr. Schwartz's site clearly infringed Amway's trademarks and republished copyrighted material without permission.
We recently learned Mr. Schwartz removed most of his web site. While Amway naturally was pleased with Mr. Schwartz's voluntary decision to remove materials we believed were in violation of laws, his explanation and his vague and ominous references to threats by Amway are sensational, inaccurate and highly misleading.
Mr. Schwartz falsely states that Amway has never tried to contact him when, in fact, Amway's attempts to initiate dialogue with Mr. Schwartz and discuss his concerns in person have been rebuffed. He also gives others the false impression Amway has sued him. To date, even though we are reasonably certain some of the material on his web site violated federal and state law, Amway has chosen not to pursue any kind of legal claim against Mr. Schwartz. Now, Mr. Schwartz is encouraging others to duplicate the illegal material that was presented on his site.
The truth is that Mr. Schwartz is admits to being a consultant to Procter & Gamble and is being used in a commercial lawsuit P&G has brought against Amway. The truth is that Amway has the right to question Mr. Schwartz and P&G about their secret consulting relationship so Amway can prepare for trial. The truth is that Amway has been met with resistance from Mr. Schwartz and P&G every step of the way, and the court has ordered Mr. Schwartz to answer questions about his consulting relationship with P&G in a deposition.
The truth is that Mr. Schwartz, despite his trumpeted support of free speech, only believes in speech that he controls. He continues to refuse to meet with us to discuss the issues of which he has written. He refuses to support Amway's efforts to have the seal removed from his deposition in the P&G case so that Mr. Schwartz's sworn testimony would be publicly available.
The truth is that Amway has tried to contact Mr. Schwartz, but he will not talk. The truth is that Amway prefers dialogue and has shown great restraint by not suing Mr. Schwartz. Amway always has and continues to welcome open, honest discussion of any questions or concerns Mr. Schwartz or anyone else has about Amway or the Amway opportunity. Amway continues to show great restraint in our dealings with Mr. Schwartz - even at the expense of further criticism from Mr. Schwartz. We do this because we do believe in free speech. But the truth is that this is really not about free speech. This is about defending Amway in litigation brought by a competitor -- from someone who cloaks himself in free speech and under that guise attacks Amway and its millions of distributors.
Amway again urges Mr. Schwartz to meet with representatives of Amway, in a setting and manner of his choosing, to discuss the material he has posted on his web site.