There hasn’t been a lot to report about James Arthur Ray since he was arrested at the beginning of February. His lawyers negotiated a substantial reduction in his bail–from $5,000,000 to $525,000–after they convinced the judge that he was nowhere near as rich as he’d claimed to be; he has been out of jail (though passport-less) since February 26th. His trial, which is expected to last 56 days, is scheduled to begin on August 31st. His business is shuttered and his LA mansion is on the market.
This week a gaunt, greatly diminished-looking James Arthur Ray appeared in a short video on his website and addressed his fans. He apologized for not getting out to meet them at live events, but admitted that since he no longer has a company, he won’t be able to do that for the foreseeable future, “until this issue is brought to some closure.”
What he still does still have, he says, is a deep desire and passion to make a difference, to provide value, to help people as best he can. As his gift, he says, he’s going to share his insights on the Web, as well as tools, techniques, insights and knowledge about how to deal with the challenges that life brings and achieve success. That’s followed by recycled footage of a jauntier James Ray, conducting a lecture on how to unlock success, and after that, an old Today Show appearance. As Bryan Neuman, the son of Liz Neuman, one of Ray’s victims, put it (click here for Examiner.com article), “If he’s out of money and has manslaughter charges against him, he shouldn’t be giving advice right now.” But Ray is so pitiful at this point that it’s hard to summon up a lot of outrage.
There’s no mystery about what Ray is up to. He’s trying to keep his public image alive, to preserve what he can of his brand’s viability. If he is found innocent next fall, can he reboot himself and pick up where he left off? I don’t think so. You have to at least seem successful if you’re selling success–especially if you claim to be tapping a spiritual/cosmic source. Ray will forever be damaged goods. If he eludes jail, people will think he was lucky, but mostly they’ll give credit to his lawyers. I don’t think there’s anyone who believes that he is anything but a slick huckster anymore.