In anticipation of his imminent indictment, former James Arthur Ray employee Melinda Martin dishes on her ex-boss on ABC’s Nightline. She says that employees weren’t permitted to address Ray directly, who kept himself “on a pedestal”; her fellow staffers forbade her to call 911 when things first started to spiral out of control in Sedona. The area outside the lodge looked like a MASH unit, she says, with people projectile vomiting everywhere. Ray emerged from the lodge as fresh as if he’d spent the day in a spa and made absolutely no effort to help any of the victims. In response to ABC’s story, Ray released statements from participants and employees that painted a starkly different picture:
According to the signed statement of one participant, ‘my impression was that James Ray was stunned about what was happening and was attempting to help as many people as he could. I do not feel there was any more James Ray could have done.’ The signed statement of a second participant said that ‘I realize that what has happened is a horrible tragedy, but I do not feel that James Ray is responsible for what has occurred.’ Finally, the signed statement of a JRI employee indicates that ‘the press reports stating that James abandoned the participants that night are completely false.’
Nightline also addressed the Colleen Conaway controversy, which has been simmering in the blogosphere since the events in Sedona but has received little play in the major media. Conaway commit suicide during a James Ray event in San Diego last summer, while she was pretending to be homeless as part of a role-playing exercise. Conaway, according to her family, was $12,000 in debt to Ray. Her parents believe that Ray behaved callously and irresponsibly; Ray’s organization denies any culpability whatsoever.