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Jessica Simpson - Katie Couric Show
Dear Ms. Couric:
My name is Alex Astilean. I am the founder of SpeedFit, an exercise and fitness company that has also invented a revolutionary non-motorized treadmill and training system, both of which were to be unveiled in a fitness video starring Jessica Simpson in 2005. Ms. Simpson had signed a $1 million contract with SpeedFit to appear in the video, but for reasons I still don’t know or understand (her attorneys claimed that the video was days late – this after she took almost one year to even appear on set to shoot the video), she refused to grant final approval for the release of the video. As a result, I was forced to commence arbitration against Ms. Simpson. Because I had poured my life’s savings into the video, I acted as my own attorney for much of the arbitration, which I lost as a result of a horrible decision of the arbitrator (copies of the decision and related NY Law Journal article are attached).
I then opposed the confirmation of the arbitration award - which granted Ms. Simpson hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees – and lost. I then put what little money I had left into funding the legal costs of an appeal to the Appellate Division, First Department. In a decision issued last week, the court refused to overturn the trial court’s decision to confirm the award and thus allowed it to stand.
I have personally spent over $1 million on the SpeedFit system and the video with Ms. Simpson - which was intended to showcase it to the world – and am now facing foreclosure on my home because I’m not permitted to release the video. I have a wife and two children and may soon have no place to live.
I understand that Ms. Simpson is scheduled to appear on your new show on September 10. As you probably know, Ms. Simpson recently signed a multi-million dollar deal with Weight Watchers. While I am sure that she was motivated in part by the money, she also has a desperate need to lose the 70-80 pounds she’s gained over the past several years. This is not just “baby weight.” Ms. Simpson let herself go. If she had remained on the SpeedFit system she would have stayed in fantastic shape.
Katie, I believe that you should ask Ms. Simpson about the SpeedFit video – why did she refuse to allow the release of this exceptional fitness video, only to sign up with a diet company after getting so fat? Doesn’t she believe that if she had remained on the SpeedFit system that Weight Watchers would not now be necessary? Why did she sign a contract with a weight loss company when the case concerning the SpeedFit video was still before the appellate Division? This is not her first foray into the fitness industry. Your viewers deserve to know about her broken contract with SpeedFit, the missed opportunity and the lazily opportunistic and greedy current deal with Weight Watchers.
By preventing the release of the SpeedFit video, Ms. Simpson has of course hurt me, both financially and professionally. More importantly, though, millions of overweight people who could have benefitted from learning about the system have been hurt. Instead they will now be told to “diet” like Ms. Simpson to lose weight, rather than following a revolutionary and healthy system that would keep them fit and healthy for life. The warped message is “don’t exercise, just don’t eat!!”
The bottom line is that Ms. Simpson said that she didn’t and couldn’t understand the SpeedFit system – a system that my 6 year-old son Max understands. I believe that THAT is the real reason that she and her handlers would not allow the release of the SpeedFit exercise video, not because it was several days “late,” and not because it was of poor quality (although I am legally prevented from releasing it, it is an incredible video of excellent quality). She was afraid that she would be embarrassed after the video’s release when reporters like you would inevitably ask her about the system. She was afraid she wouldn’t be able to explain it. And for that reason, she has destroyed my company and kept this important exercise system and philosophy from public view.
It is a shame, Ms. Couric, and I believe the country has the right to know about this. You have an opportunity in your interview with Ms. Simpson to be brave and ask her about the SpeedFit video – she has already had a contract with a “weight loss” company! SpeedFit! – and not simply talk about her shameful contract with Weight Watchers. You should feel a responsibility to at least let the public know that before she agreed to diet, Ms. Simpson signed a contract to show people how to exercise and live healthy lives. SpeedFit would have changed her life and body forever and could have changed the lives of millions of people.
Please ask Jessica about the video, and about the SpeedFit system, if you can’t I understand
Thank you for your time