John Oliver Breaks Down How Pyramid-Shaped Companies Like Herbalife Make Their Money

In an absolutely brilliant episode of Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver unabashedly took on the questionable tactics of multi-level marketing companies such as Herbalife, Mary Kay and Nu Skin. Oliver particularly noted how each company operates in such a way that is suspiciously pyramid-shaped, requiring recruits to invest money into the product and then recruit more people, promising quick financial gains.

…who doesn’t want to tell their boss to go fuck themselves? Half my staff would do it right now if they could, but MLM’s hold out the hope that if you work hard you can take control of your life, start your own business and help you family, but how real is the opportunity? …In broad terms, if distributors earnings come primarily from selling products to actual customers outside of the company that is probably a legitimate business. But if those arms come primarily from selling product to the distributor’s you’ve recruited below you and their sales of product to the distributor’s they recruited below them all within the company, that may be a pyramid scheme.

At the end of the episode, Oliver created his own pyramid, recruiting actor Jaime Camil to translate the episode into Spanish.