The Arnold Classic in Columbus Ohio goes back to 1989, created by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger, who wanted to put a spotlight on bodybuilding. Today, the icon is hoping to also shine a light on the importance of mask wearing. However, some recent comments Schwarzenegger made about those who refuse to mask up didn’t sit well with one of his sponsors.
“There is a virus here. It kills people and the only way we prevent it is: get vaccinated, wear masks, do social distancing, washing your hands all the time, and not just to think about, ‘Well my freedom is being kind of disturbed here.’ No, screw your freedom," Schwarzenegger said.
Supplement brand REDCON1 has been a big supporter of the event for the last few years, but the company withdrew its corporate sponsorship after the bodybuilding icon’s comments.
Following the withdrawal, Redcon1 issued a press release, with the brand’s founder, Aaron Singerman stating in part, “We can't in good conscience continue to support & be involved with someone who has such diametrically opposed beliefs.”
When asked by host Danielle Masterson if that was a genuine statement, Singerman responded, “Yes, if somebody has diametrically opposed beliefs of Redcon1 or we feel that they do, we wouldn't be involved with them. That doesn't mean that nobody should be, but that means that we can't. And like I said, Redcon1 is very specific about who we are and who we support. And, you know, we may not be for everybody, but we can't associate, just because Arnold is an iconic name and a legend in bodybuilding, doesn't mean that we need to be at all the shows or any of the shows."
Addressing the elephant in the room
Masterson noted the irony. “I did see that you and your [former] business partners allegedly committed money laundering and were allegedly peddling supplements that contained illegal drugs and steroids. What do you say about that?”
“Well, that's an ongoing legal case. That's what we call an accusation, Danielle. Are you familiar with what an accusation means versus facts?” Singerman said, adding that he is “allegedly and factually” not allowed to speak about about the legal matter before abruptly ending the call.
On March 7, 2019, six people and two Florida corporations (including Blackstone labs which Singerman co-founded) were indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a scheme to distribute illegal dietary supplements.
Phillip (PJ) Braun, Aaron Singerman, Robert DiMaggio, Anthony Ventrella, David Winsauer, James Boccuzzi, Blackstone Labs, LLC, and Ventech Labs, LLC were charged in a 14-count indictment that was unsealed on March 13, 2019.
All of the defendants were charged with one count of a conspiracy to defraud consumers and the FDA by selling products labeled as dietary supplements that contained unapproved new drugs, illegal steroids, and other ingredients that were hazardous and prohibited by law.
The indictment also charges Braun, an owner of Blackstone Labs, and Singerman, a former company owner, with two counts of introducing a product known as Super DMZ RX 2.0, an unapproved new drug, into interstate commerce. A man that took the product containing Super DMZ RX 2.0 landed in the hospital twice with liver damage, as stated in this report. Several others were hosptialized, according to FDA.
The indictment further charges Braun, Singerman, and five other defendants with one count of conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids, which are Schedule III controlled substances under federal law.
Additionally, the indictment charges several defendants in three separate counts of distribution of anabolic steroids and charges Ventrella with one count of possession of an anabolic steroid with the intent to distribute.
Braun and Singerman are each charged with three counts of money laundering.
Singerman is slated for trial in October, 2021. He left day-to-day operations at Blackstone in 2016, but was still an owner until around January 2018. He went on to start RedCon1 in 2016 and also rebranded Prime Nutrition with Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Jared Wheat, who later acquired co-ownership of Prime Nutrition.
Co-defendant pleads guilty
One of the defendants, David Winsauer, who worked for Blackstone Labs from 2014 to 2018, recently pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud FDA by concealing information about illegal products labeled as dietary supplements.
NutraIngredients-USA has been covering this story since it broke and will continue to do so as it develops. Singerman did not submit any additional comments following an email request from NutraIngredients-USA.