Are bodybuilders liable if they lie about steroids and sell supplements? Mike O’Hearn holds nothing back in his response.

Last month, the bodybuilding world went into a viral sh*tstorm over the reveal that Liver King lied about being all-natural. Through the controversy the question started to emerge, is a bodybuilder liable if they lie about being natural and also sell supplements? Is it misleading customers that the supplements can achieve what steroids achieved on the bodybuilder’s body? With a class action lawsuit risen against Liver King after his big lie – Mike O’Hearn does some deep thinking on the topic. In Generation Iron and Barbend’s latest episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show, Mike breaks down the difference between misleading customers and common sense.

When the Liver King scandal first hit the web, Mike O’Hearn and Vlad Yudin discussed on this podcast whether or not he was liable for misleading customers. Liver King (very loudly) claimed to be natural on numerous videos and podcasts. With each accusation that he was using steroids – he double down that he was all natural. During this entire defense, he was selling supplements that he claimed to use to help build the impressive physique he currently has.

Once the truth was revealed, that Liver King does use steroids, many commenters online (and now one man in New York who filed a lawsuit) believed that by lying so plainly about his steroid use – it was misleading customers of what his supplements can do.

When Mike O’Hearn was first confronted with this idea, it was only a day after the scandal went live. Now with just about a month of time to think deeper on the topic, O’Hearn has dedicated an entire episode about what a bodybuilding influencer or entrepreneur really owes the public.

If Mike O’Hearn was secretly using steroids this entire time while also selling supplements or some sort of other fitness product – would he be liable? Well, O’Hearn decides to get really honest this week about the entire subject. Let’s dive in.

“I don’t think you guys should get so would up in what others are doing.”

– Mike O’Hearn


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RELATED: Bodybuilders Are Dying – An Investigation Into Modern Bodybuilding, Health, & PED Use

Is a bodybuilder’s physique an endorsement or promise of a supplement?

Mike O’Hearn believes that public figures don’t owe the public anything when it comes to their private life. So if a bodybuilder secretly uses steroids but lies and claims all natural – O’Hearn sees no issue with that. Does it speak on the person’s character? Of course. But is it objectively wrong? No.

But what happens if that same bodybuilder is selling supplements. Claiming to be all natural while also selling the products that helped make that very physique? Does the bodybuilder owe the truth about his steroid cycle in that situation? Mike O’Hearn doesn’t believe so. And he knows that is not necessarily the popular opinion.

What it comes down to is this – if a bodybuilder directly claims his or her supplements are the key ingredient to building a natural mass monster physique, then maybe you have a case. But simply existing with an impressive physique does not automatically mean the supplement promises the same results.

Mike O’Hearn previously made the comparison to cigarettes. There was a time when cigarettes had no warning labels. In fact, doctors claimed they were healthy for you. Times have changed – and O’Hearn believes the labels now in place are necessary. But he also believes that supplements are not the same thing as cigarettes.

A bodybuilder or a supplement should not need to have a disclaimer that says: “This product will not necessarily make you look like me.” That’s common sense. And a supplement not making you look like Mike O’Hearn (or Liver King) is not the same thing as a cigarette potentially causing you cancer. Supplements don’t promise anything in and of themselves. On the flip side, cigarettes do have proven chemicals in them that will damage your health. That is a major difference.


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The natty or not debate is stupid – because it ignores the hard work underneath

Mike O’Hearn then expands his discussion beyond supplements and misleading claims. He goes on to discuss the obsession online with the “natty or not” debate. O’Hearn has said it before and he will say it again – whether or not someone does steroids doesn’t matter to anyone other than the individual taking them. The only exception would be if that athlete is competing in an agreed upon league where the substance is banned.

Why does Mike O’Hearn feel this way? Because steroids are not a miracle drug that will automatically make you look like Phil Heath. In fact, Mike O’Hearn hopes more people try steroids just to realize how they won’t succeed as easily as they think they will.

Just because Liver King takes steroids and lied about it – doesn’t mean his supplements weren’t also helping with his diet and physique. And just because someone takes steroids, doesn’t mean they will become a champion bodybuilder. O’Hearn believes that the internet is so consumed with the natty or not question – that they are missing the deeper question underneath. That question is: “What is the real X factor underneath the supplements, the PEDs, and the tips that make this person an iconic athlete?”

There’s nothing anyone can sell you that will make you Mr. Olympia. It takes a combination of experience, hard work, dedication and, yes, genetics to become a great bodybuilder. On top of all of that – you also need to be able to dig deep and be passionate about the sport in a way that 99.9% of people are incapable of. If it were any easier than that – Mr. Olympia wouldn’t be prestigious or special.

Wrap Up

This day and age of constant connection has changed the perception of how we should act in the public world. Mike O’Hearn believes that it allows for such incredible information unlike any other time in history. But he also worries that it is changing what we think it means to be a human being. It’s changing what we think of privacy.

You can watch Mike O’Hearn go into complete detail about steroids, natty or not, Liver King, and the obligation of public figures in our latest episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show above. Make sure to check back every Friday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded.

Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.