Procter & Gamble Co. filed a lawsuit Monday alleging a man selling Amway Corp. products spread rumors linking P&G to devil worship.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City against Randy Haugen, an independent distributor of Amway products. It accuses Haugen of using Amway's voice mail system to spread the rumors to other Amway distributors.
P&G is seeking more than $50,000 from Haugen. The court will determine the exact amount of the damages if P&G wins its case, company spokeswoman Linda Ulrey said.
"We have been fighting this outrageous rumor for over 15 years," said James J. Johnson, P&G senior vice president and general counsel. "Throughout that time, people associated with Amway have played a role."
Haugen, of Ogden, Utah, could not be reached by phone Monday for comment. Amway, a direct sales company based in Ada, Mich., said Monday that it "does not condone the spreading of false and malicious rumors against Procter & Gamble or any other company."
Amway also said it would cooperate with P&G and would enlist the support of its independent distributors to stop the rumors, which say the company's trademark is a Satanic symbol.
The Cincinnati-based consumer products company said the trademark dates back to the mid-1800s, when a man in the moon was a popular design. The stars in the design honor the 13 original colonies.
_ Information from Knight-Ridder Newspapers was used in this report.