“Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.” The sage proverb can be applied to many things – but social media influencers are proving to be among its most consistent arbiters. Now, the popular fitness guru known as Liver King has been revealed as another embodiment of the words.
After building a 100-million-dollar empire touting the fitness benefits of eating raw meat and embracing “ancestral living” like a caveman, the Liver King has confessed to using steroids to aid him in attaining his buffed physique.
Real name Brian Johnson, the Liver King has 1.7 million followers on Instagram and over 240,000 subscribers on YouTube. According to Fortune, before he was ever Insta-famous, Johnson was “making $100 million a year selling protein supplements and dried animal organs under his brands Heart & Soil and Ancestral Supplements.”
He credited his biffed physique to embracing “nine ancestral tenants” – eat, sleep, move, shine, connect, cold, sun, fight, and bond. Sometimes he adds a tenth: fun. It turns out he left out the 11th: steroids.
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The video included a leaked email between Liver King and his nutritionist in which he asked for more steroids.
“Primals, I’m making this video to apologize because I f**ked up because I’m embarrassed and ashamed because I lied and I misled a lot of people,” Johnson said, adding the topic was “complicated as f**k” because “it’s been tricky to navigate” being in the public eye.
“Well, clearly, I did it wrong and I’m here now to set the record straight,” Johnson admitted. “Yes, I’ve done steroids, and yes, I am on steroids, monitored and managed by a trained hormone clinician.”
“When asked if I’ve ever taken steroids, I always said, ‘No, I don’t touch the stuff, not going to touch the stuff, never touched the stuff.’ That was a lie,” Johnson continued. “I convinced myself that this had nothing to do with the ancestral message. I convinced myself that I’m not a competitive athlete of any kind, so who the f**k am I cheating.”
While some media outlets gave Johnson credit for facing the backlash head-on, many social media users clowned him for what they saw as an insincere, self-absorbed apology.
“You know it’s sincere when he’s sitting in a throne and starts bragging about how much money he has,” one YouTube user commented. Another wrote, “this has got to be the most comedic apology yet, he even delivers it shirtless LMFAO.”
“Haha I love how he tries to justify his deception by angling it as a fight against suicide and depression. Instead of fully owning his mistake. Not a real apology at all,” another YouTube user identified as Brendon Burns wrote.
A Twitter user summed up what many mental health professionals have been telling users for years.
“That’s why you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet,” @therealdaddymo1 wrote. “Stop comparing your real lives with other peoples controlled online content.”
Johnson told TMZ he expected his supplement company to take a hit amidst his deception but said he deserved it.
“I know that I f**ked this up,” Johnson said. “I owe this. This is on me to deal with, and I deserve all the hate and criticism that I’m getting. I’ll deal with this.”
PHOTO: Fitness guru Brian Johnson, known as the Liver King, has been exposed for lying about taking steroids. (Photo: Twitter)