The creator of the popular F-Factor Diet claims an online influencer tried to destroy her fitness company by harassing her with a months-long campaign of lies about her business on Instagram, according to a new law suit.
Tanya Zuckerbrot — whose “eat carbs … work out less” program boasts celebrity fans such as Megyn Kelly — says Internet personality Emily Gellis spent 75 straight days over the summer making 4,500 “defamatory” posts about her, the New York Supreme Court suit says.
Gellis allegedly told her followers that the F-Factor diet caused miscarriages, which turned out to be a hoax, and even claimed that the high-fiber, lean protein diet was poisonous, contained arsenic, and could cause death, the suit claims.
The posts were seen seen by 207,000 of Gellis’ followers, causing Zuckerbrot to fear for her life and the safety of her family and employees, according to the court docs, obtained by Page Six. Zuckerbrot’s home address was even posted online.
Zuckerbrot’s business was making more than a million dollars a month, the suit claims. Now, it’s making about $100,000 a month.
Before Gellis started posting about the F-Factor Diet, Zuckerbrot was in talks with an investor, who subsequently pulled out of the big money deal, according to court docs.
Alongside this, the court papers state that, “Gellis’s social media misconduct described above has also caused devastating emotional distress. Zuckerbrot, who is normally a lively, positive, and outgoing woman, has become withdrawn and is sometimes unable to get out of bed.
“After years of regularly posting videos of herself engaging with other F-Factor employees and connecting with clients on Instagram, she has virtually withdrawn from social media communications.
“In short, Gellis’s conduct has caused Zuckerbrot to fear for her safety, her employees’ safety, and the safety of her family.”
Attorney Lanny Davis, who is representing Zuckerbrot, told Page Six: “We, as attorneys representing Tanya Zuckerbrot and her company believe that this lawsuit represents accountability for social media people who defame and harass and think they can get away with it.
“Tanya Zuckerbrot built a very successful diet company that has been virtually destroyed by one person on the social media platform called Instagram, who apparently thinks that if you republish defamations and personal attacks that you can do so and get away with it.
“Our lawsuit said no. We’re going to hold you accountable and you have to compensate Miss Zuckerbrot for your destructive behavior.”
Zuckerbrot and her husband Anthony Westreich contacted Facebook, which owns Instagram, claiming that Gellis had breached the platform’s community standards, but “Despite extensive efforts by Zuckerbrot and F-Factor, no action was taken to remedy or cease the continued abuse.”
In particular, the filing cites an incident on August 31, 2020, when Zuckerbrot sent screenshots of Gellis allegedly drawing prison garb on top of a photo of Zuckerbrot, writing threats to F-Factor’s registered dietitians, exposing the home address of Zuckerbrot, her children, and her husband, and reposting unsubstantiated allegations about the health effects of F-Factor’s products.
We’re told that when Zuckerbrot sent Gellis messages asking to talk, she blocked her.
The continued alleged attacks against Zuckerbrot included the false assertion that Zuckerbrot threatened to kill Gellis’ family, poisoned people daily, engaged in criminal wrongdoing, and sent people to physically harm Gellis, according to the suit.
The court papers state that: “Damage caused by the defendant on F-Factor goes beyond financial ramifications, with her accusations threatening jobs, families, immunocompromised and at-risk individuals in need of structured nutrition, and the marginalized communities that receive aid from F-Factor philanthropies.
“To redress these substantial losses and prevent further misconduct, Zuckerbrot and F-Factor seek compensatory and punitive damages from Gellis.”
The complaint also speculates about potential motives for Gellis’ continued alleged attacks, including massive follower growth and corresponding financial gain that often accompanies it.”
A friend of Zuckerbrot said: “Thankfully, Tanya’s had support from many longtime patients and loyal F-Factor followers who have rallied around her and hopefully this filing will clarify the truth and discourage others from making these types of attacks on anyone.”
Gellis did not immediately return our request for comment.