Secrets Of The Multi-Level Millionaires: Ellie Undercover

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BBC THREE will be releasing their documentary, Secrets Of The Multi-Level Millionaires: Ellie Undercover, on Saturday 27 April at 10 am (BST). It can be viewed on their website, and via the BBC iPlayer (UK only)*. This is not to be missed!

In this documentary, journalist Ellie Flynn dives into the murky waters of multi-level marketing (MLM) companies. As regular readers of our site will know, MLMs are a growing problem in many countries, including the UK, fuelled by social media. They can cause financial, emotional and social harms. Many groups are targeted by these companies — military wives, the chronically ill, the elderly, university students, migrants, but especially young women.

Ellie goes undercover as two different personas, Annie and Lily, and signs up to two MLMs — Nu Skin and Younique. She does the online training, takes the ‘Instagram perfect’ selfies, and even attends Younique’s annual ‘EmpowerYou!’ conference in Telford.

Ellie takes a selfie as ‘Annie’

Apart from meeting former MLM distributors from across the UK, the BBC team filmed in Utah, where many MLMs have their headquarters.

As part of the investigation, Ellie went to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Ellie also speaks with Dr Alexandra Stein, to get her take on MLMs, and their cult-like aspects. Dr Stein is a UK-based cult expert and author of Terror, Love and Brainwashing: Attachment in cults and totalitarian systems. 

Dr Alex Stein, a UK-based cult expert

This film draws much-needed attention to the problems posed by the MLM industry — issues which are largely ignored by mainstream media and regulators. It will help to raise awareness about the risks of getting involved in MLMs.

It is really encouraging to see the BBC paying serious attention to this industry. The media seems to be starting to pay attention — see the investigative piece by The Feed (SBS VICELAND) that aired in Australia earlier this year. We hope that other mainstream media will follow their leads, and conduct their own investigations and exposés. And we hope that regulators will become aware of the serious problems inherent in MLMs, and take action.


ETA: This documentary was shown in Australia, on the ABC’s Four Corners program, on 28 October 2019, and is available to Australian viewers on ABC iView until 9:20pm on 27 Nov 2019.


*Region controls are in place for the BBC iPlay player.


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