Photo: Antonio Villaraigosa at Herbalife
The former Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa has been hired to be an adviser to the controversial Herbalife Ltd., the company announced through a press release. The announcement received swift and harsh criticism from the Latino community.
The Mexican-American former mayor will advise the California-based entity on ‘strategic business development and global community outreach.’ Villaraigosa, 60, is joining the firm during an especially critical time as the company fights accusations of being a pyramid scheme that takes advantages of many, especially Latinos.
Hispanics represent the largest segment of nutritional product distributors the company has; nearly 60 percent of Herbalife distributors are Latino. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) has said the company misleads Latinos on how much they can actually make selling the products and many lose money buying products that they will never be able to sell through person-to-person efforts.
LULAC and other Latino groups have asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the company.
Brent Wilkes of LULAC upon hearing of Villaraigosa’s hiring said to the Los Angeles Times “I’m disappointed.” “I have to believe in my heart he would not have taken this gig if he realized so many Latinos were being defrauded by the company because they sign up thinking they’re going to make money and they end up losing money instead.”
Villaraigosa served as mayor for eight years and was the first Latino mayor of modern Los Angeles. He is one of the most high-profile Latinos in the Democratic Party and has said one day he would like to run for governor.