SAN DIEGO (CN) – Olympic gold medalist Mark Spitz objects that his name appears in the religious ramblings on the labels of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. Spitz says he “is the only living person mentioned on the labels,” and that though he “has never claimed to be a prophet of any religion, and has never endorsed Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps,” the Escondido-based company is exploiting his name to sell soap.
Emanuel Bronner founded the company, which proclaims Bronner’s “All-One-God-Faith” beliefs on its labels.
“Only those who united worked hard to survive ice-aged persecution evolved into Humane Beings, like Jesus-Mintz-Sills-Spitz-Strauss-Szasz-Zamonhof, brave, to help teach all, every slave, the Moral ABC of A-One-God-Faith, for we’re All-One or none!” the label proclaims.
The labels also proclaim, “Once more: Unless constructive-selfish I work hard, like Mark Spitz, perfecting first me, absolute nothing can help me!” and, “Only if constructive-selfish I work hard perfecting first me, like Mark Spitz-arctic owls-penguin-pilot-cat-swallow-beaver, bee, can I teach the MORAL ABC’S ALL-ONE-GOD-FAITH, that lightning-like unites the Human race!”
Spitz’s federal complaint adds, “The labels also randomly mention Hillel, Jesus, Mohammed, Lenin, Carl Sagan, Einstein and Rudyard Kipling among other notable divine beings and individuals in history. These messages are spread over the whole ‘Dr. Bronner’s’ product line. However, Spitz is the only living person mentioned on the labels. The apparent purpose of the labels is to promote ‘Dr. Bronner’s’ religious philosophy and manifesto by claiming that Spitz is a member of that religious philosophy and that he endorses ‘Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps.’ In fact, in Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox, a film documentary about the Bronner family, Emanuel Bronner refers to Spitz as a prophet. In truth, Spitz has never claimed to be a prophet of any religion and has never endorsed ‘Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps.'”
Spitz won seven gold medals at the 1972 Olympics. He is the only athlete to set a world record and win a gold medal in every Olympic event he entered.
Spitz says Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox, a documentary about Bronner and his family, calls Spitz a prophet in the All-One philosophy. The company Web site also mentions Spitz on enlarged Magic Soap labels.
(Rabbi Hillel, who appears repeatedly on the label, was Jesus of Nazareth’s rabbi.)
Spitz wants licensing fees and a percentage of the gross sales of Dr. Bronner’s products bearing his name, plus compensatory and punitive damages.
Spitz is represented by Richard Foster and Stephen Smyth with Cameron, Pearlson & Foster.