Jenny Craig collapses in Australia and New Zealand

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Jenny Craig is in dire straits.

Last month, the ABC reported that Jenny Craig Australia and New Zealand went into voluntary administration. US Jenny Craig filed for bankruptcy a week earlier.

Vaughan Strawbridge, Kate Warwick and Joseph Hansell were appointed as voluntary administrators.

In a statement, FTI Consulting confirmed the appointment:

Despite undertakings to do so [this] has resulted in the directors of the Australian and New Zealand needing to appoint voluntary administrator.

At the time, Jenny Craig had eighty ‘weight management centres’. They had roughly 377 staff across Australia and New Zealand.

Jenny Craig Australia/ New Zealand goes under

Image: Jade Craven, iStock

Unfortunately, FTI Consulting’s efforts to find an administrator ultimately failed.

Last Wednesday, (7 June 2023, AEST) the ABC reported that Australia/ New Zealand’s operations will close.

FTI Consultants has confirmed the closure of Jenny Craig’s stores. They stated that employees will be made redundant:

Administrators have today advised all of the employees in Australia New Zealand (sic) that a sale of the business with the stores continuing to trade and staff continuing their employment is unachievable.

Despite fifteen parties expressing interest and even making non – binding offers, nothing came to fruition.

Administrators confirmed that Jenny Craig’s online business would be sold to healthcare start – up Eucalyptus.

Jenny Craig closed in the US in early May.

Jenny Craig’s origins and controversies

So, where did Jenny Craig start?

Jenny Craig began in 1983 by American husband – and – wife Genevieve (Jenny) and Sidney Craig. They started their company in Melbourne. They opened stores in the US two years later.

Jenny struggled to lose weight after having her second child. According to the website, Mrs Craig claimed she was working out at the gym alone, and realised that it “didn’t lead to long – term weight – loss” (spoil alert, neither does Jenny Craig or most weight – loss programs for most people).

Over the years, Jenny Craig has had many celebrities promote the company. They include comedian Magda Szubanski, Rebel Wilson, Mel B, Mariah Carey and the late Kirstie Alley. Jenny Craig paid them.

Unfortunately, Szubanski has publicly battled with her weight since being Jenny Craig’s ambassador.

The company attracted millions of customers. They provided their customers with custom menus to (supposedly) help them shed the weight.

In 2019, Jenny Craig was bought by H.I.G Capital. They employed 1.000 people, with 500 stores in the US and Canada.

What now for the weight – loss industry?

It’s no secret that a lot has changed since 1983. Weight loss programs and shows such The Biggest Loser has faced fierce scrutiny.

People are more aware of the potential negative effects of yoyo dieting. Instead, people have turned to two alternatives: body – positivity and Ozempic.

Celebrities like, singer/ flutist, Lizzo (real name Melissa Viviane Jefferson) is praised for embracing her body. The media, including the US’s Cosmopolitan has also embraced larger bodies by including plus – sized models on their cover.

However, people are still trying to lose weight. Most recently, news outlets has reported that celebrities have turned to diabetes drug, Ozempic. However, pharmacists have raised alarm over the trend, claiming that they are running out of the drug, leaving diabetes sufferers to go without.

It’s the end of Jenny Craig. And it may be the end of a chapter in the weight – loss industry. But, it’s not the end of the story.


Indigenous businesses face racist cyber – bullying

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My heart sank when I found an article posted on ABC Everyday on bullying faced by Indigenous business owners.

Jessica Staines described social media as a:

…double-edged sword for Indigenous business owners…

Staines goes on to say that online communities are great to “connect, educate and engage”. Indigenous people have a voice and reach that past generations didn’t.

However, all isn’t well.

Indigenous business owners face cyber – bullying

Staines told ABC that she faces Internet trolls. Fortunately, she claims that their words no longer affects her.

My skin is thicker and their [online trolls’] ignorant and hurtful comments don’t sting in the same way they used to

Jessica Staines, ‘Social media is a double – edged sword for Indigenous businesses like mine, ABC Everyday, 2 June 2023

Cyber – bullying towards Indigenous Australians becomes worse on significant days for Indigenous people, including: National Reconciliation Week, National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week and National Sorry Day.

Bullying of high- profile Indigenous people

Content warning: this portion of the post briefly mentions suicidal ideation. If this is triggering, feel free to stop reading.

Earlier this year, ABC presenter, Stan Grant left his position as host of Q and A. This was after he faced fierce backlash over coverage of King Charles’ Coronation. Grant was allegedly receiving vicious cyber – bullying. Grant is Indigenous.

Unfortunately, he’s not the only high – profile Indigenous person to face cyber – bullying.

Liberal Senator and Alice Springs’ Councillor, Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has regularly shared how she gets abused online.

Back in 2015, the – then Head of Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council, Warren Mundine opened up on The Drum about how devastating racial abuse is:

Can I share with you a very personal thing at the moment? The personal thing for me is I am in therapy because of racial taunts and attacks that happened.

He went on:

I am considered a very strong, upstanding Aboriginal man. A strong Australian. I am a great believer in Australia as a nation. But you just only can take so much of this stuff and it wears you down and after fifty – eight years of hearing this stuff all the time, it really guts you.

While I couldn’t find the segment, I remember that Mundine mentioned experiencing suicidal ideation because of racist abuse.

Is this the reason to have the Indigenous Voice to Parliament?

Indigenous Australian flag (yellow circle with black (above) and red (below) background flying on pole
Image: slovegrove, iStock

Since last year, the Australian Labor Pary have been pushing for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Constitution. A Referendum is going to take place in October.

I’ve been torn about the issue. However, if the Voice addresses issues like racist abuse, domestic violence and other issues that disproportionately affect Indigenous Australians, I’d be willing to support it.

According to Staines, the First People’s Assembly in Victoria has put pressure on social media platforms to crack down on racist abuse. If a natiknal Voice to Parliament also pushes for an end to racist abuse, I’d support that.

I think most people agree that cyber – bullying is detestable. It needs to be stopped. Victims of such abuse need to be supported.

If you’re in Australia and need support, you can contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

13Yarn: 13 92 76 (for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people)

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 (they also have a webchat).

If you are in immediate danger, call 000 or your national emergency number.