Now, the activist investor's case against Herbalife is being featured on the big screen, but viewers shouldn't expect a Hollywood ending. "Betting on Zero," a new documentary that debuted this week at the Tribeca Film Festival, chronicles Ackman's crusade against the company — which has done little to dent its stock or get regulators to take the billionaire's side.
Although his numerous broadsides against the company have yet to take effect, including a $1 billion bet against Herbalife's stock, Ackman continues to insist the company is little more than a scheme that harms those involved in selling its product.
"The real story are the people being harmed," who are overwhelmingly lower-income workers and immigrants who are Herbalife's foot soldiers, Ackman told CNBC this week, as he appeared on the red carpet of the Tribeca Film Festival.
"They sell people on a false business opportunity and they seduce a group of aspiring people that came to this country to pursue the American dream," he added. "They invest three thousand, five thousand, fifty thousand, a hundred thousand dollars" trying to move up the ladder, but ultimately lose money, Ackman added.
"They lose everything," Ackman said, calling Herbalife's system a "horrible way to take advantage of people [and] ruins dreams and aspirations."