Rodial Roundup

November 14, 2010 at 3:17 pm (Legal Chill) (, , , , )

I wrote yesterday about Rodial silencing criticism. Several other bloggers have also written about the case and I thought I’d do a quick round-up.

In a post about libel reform, the Further Thoughts For The Day blog wrote that “Rodial may sound “sciencey”, and their tag line may be “Nature. Science. Skin care”, but their actions in suing show them to be the very anti-thesis of scientific debate.”

The same blog followed up with some Questions for Rodial. The blogger contacted the firm by telephone. Here’s what happened:

I called Rodial, and I was told that they couldn’t answer any of my questions at all. I asked why, and the receptionist said “I’m not sure”.

Other bloggers have also contacted the company to ask a few questions. Rhys Morgan asked if they had any scientific evidence for their product, Boob Job:

In the case of Rodial. Ltd, they make claims about increasing breast size without providing a shred of evidence. I know this because as stated earlier, I phoned them up to ask for the evidence. They told me that they had done trials, but were not willing to produce this evidence to me because I was a member of the public. I leave you, the reader, to decide exactly what that suggests.

Rhys has also taken action and reported Rodial to Trading Standards. Edit: as have others.

A Drunken Madman goes with the title Rodial Limited, meet the Streisand Effect… and links to Sense About Science, who have quotes from Dr Nield, her lawyers and several free speech campaigners.

The Skeptical Science blog comments on a Guardian article about the case, writing that “…the law is being deployed to both gag and bully. This is completely unacceptable, it is vital and in the interests of the public for open debates to take place. If the claim is true, all they need to do is to publish the evidence.”

Professor David Colquhoun also covers the case in an article about English libel laws threatening science and honesty, and as ever speaks bluntly:

The latest case concerns Plastic surgeon threatened for comment on ‘Boob Job’ cream. She’s been sued for doing her job by saying that a cream costing £125 per jar cannot, as claimed, increase your bust size.

Not content with threatening the surgeon. The company, Rodial Ltd. also threatened Sense About Science if they publicised the case. They haven’t yielded to that threat.

The company should be prosecuted by Trading Standards for making illegal false health claims. But Trading Standards don’t do their job. Instead another honest clinician faces ruin

Last but by no means least, there is a post by Prateek Buch: Two chilling reminders of the urgent need for #LibelReform.

This is the latest in a long line of cases where apparently legitimate concerns over a product or treatment are treated as libellous, with comments made in the public interest being shut down by threatening heavy-handed legal action


For links to media coverage of the case, see this page at Sense About Science.


Here’s one I missed: bigger boobs or bust from Maria Wolters. And another: Plastic Surgeon Threatened for Questioning Rodial Breast Cream from a Californian plastic surgeon. British Beauty Blogger links to Claire Coleman, who writes:

…this all adds to what is being called the creeping libel chill – the suppressing of information which I think the public have a right to have access to, and the attempt to stop people asking questions that should be asked, and demanding evidence that should be available.

The Inforrm blog concludes that: “It seems highly unlikely that any libel action will result from Dr Nield’s remarks. The case does not, however, support any general arguments for libel reform or the protection of science writing.”

FinchesBlog also has a post up.

From Jason in the comments, a couple more links: a spoof Twitter account and automated roundup of skeptical commentary: skepticator.

Happy Jihad’s House of Pancakes is once again blogging about legal chill here.


  1. Tweets that mention Rodial Roundup « Stuff And Nonsense -- said,

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by James, Polly Dickerson, Stuart Sorensen, Rhys Morgan, Not Rodial Boob Job and others. Not Rodial Boob Job said: Someone's consolidated a handy hit-list for our lawyers: […]

  2. Jason said,

    Thanks for the mention

    couple more links:

    An automated roundup of skeptical commentary:

  3. AnonW said,

    I’m still getting at least two spam messages from this company every week! They are spam because I never signed up with them and anyway I can’t be in their target market as I’m a 63 year old man, who’s had a couple of strokes and doesn’t use any creams and potions at all except soap and shampoo!

    Here’s my original blog post.

  4. Brian Finch said,

    Thanks for the mention (finchesblog) but does anyone actually know why Trading Standards don’t pursue these extraordinary claims made by sellers of beauty products and ‘cures’? I know the Advertising Standards Authority only deals with paid-for advertising but Trading Standards? I don’t have time to research this myself – I’m writing a book on corporate governance and the manuscript deadline is Thursday – but if anyone can enlighten me….

  5. AnonW said,

    I don’t know! But I’ve reported various dsubious practices to Trading Standards and I’ve only had a call back in one case. But it would appear that no action was taken. Could this be because they were a large well known company and their lawyers were better than those of Trading Standards. But I think the practice I complained about has stopped and it’s not adveetised any more.

  6. jdc325 said,

    I think Trading Standards will only take action if there are several complainants. Sounds bizarre, I know, but I’ve had little joy with complaints to TS except on one occasion – when someone said that it would take more than one complaint and told me that they would also be submitting a complaint.

  7. The Year In Nonsense. And Stuff. « Stuff And Nonsense said,

    […] able to return to familiar ground in November – legal chill. This was thanks to the stance Rodial took when their “Boob Job” cream was […]

  8. Rodial and the ASA « Stuff And Nonsense said,

    […] may remember the name Rodial from the legal action they took against Dr Dalia Nield for comments made regarding their boob job […]

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