This is a tale of two bullies. Or maybe four bullies. Or maybe 50.
It’s a tale of two women … or maybe four… or maybe 50… who think they are crusading on the side of good, against a wicked enemy who will stop at nothing to take them down. Their enemy is powerful. She makes up fake accounts to harass and intimidate them. She spreads filthy rumors. She’s mocked them over their looks, their weight, their children, their past. She’s doxxed them. She goes low when others go high. She’s given them PTSD. She makes them fear for their lives.
And it’s all because of fiber.
Yes, fiber. In the form of chonky bars and flavored powders. Fiber from Monaco—sold by a glamorous ex-con whose past, as The Daily Beast found, is full of apparent lies—and fiber from Manhattan, sold by a Park Avenue influencer queen with some personal enemies. Sold until the internet bullies went scorched earth and everything was lost. Businesses crumbled. Lawsuits were filed. So much has been destroyed—livelihoods, reputations, even a sense of physical safety.
It’s a drama that over the past three years has spawned news headlines, a Hulu documentary, and even a podcast. Now, an investigation by The Daily Beast has uncovered new details about the toxic feud—and the women who have been sucked into it.
Tanya Zuckerbrot—dietician to the rich and famous and Instagram wellness royalty—has been locked in a battle with rival influencer Emily Gellis Lande for three years. It all started in the summer of 2020, when Emily accused Tanya’s line of high-fiber products of having scary levels of heavy metals and of causing serious health issues. Tanya insists her products are safe, and independent studies have not found dangerous levels of heavy metals in her powders and bars. Nevertheless, her company collapsed in the wake of the online panic—and she’s now being sued by eight people who say her F-Factor products caused them medical harm (which she denies). In turn, she’s suing Emily for defamation in two different lawsuits.
Emily was not the only one going after Tanya in 2020—several anonymous accounts attacked her personal life, her marriage, and spread terrifying claims about F-Factor. But when Emily started posting about F-Factor, rival anonymous accounts began to attack her and her loved ones, too. The bitter fight has continued to escalate to this day: Each woman has accused the other of ruining her livelihood and of harassing and intimidating her and her family. Each has made countless videos lambasting the other as a narcissist, a stalker, a pathological liar. Each claims to be emotionally scarred from the events of the last three years.
The aggressive and personal attacks have been taken up by various supporters of the two influencers. There are a lot of people on the Internet who hate Tanya Zuckerbrot—including, apparently, some rival influencers and former online pals. There are also a lot of people who hate Emily Gellis Lande, who think she was peddling false claims about a beloved product and unfairly smearing Tanya, and they’ve dedicated their energy to taking her down. These supporters have fought a proxy war on Reddit and in Instagram comments—accusing each other of using fake accounts, mocking the influencers’ bodies and marriages, and even sending disturbing threats about their children.
And, as The Daily Beast has exclusively uncovered, a vicious private group chat was formed to mock and punish Emily Gellis Lande—with some members creating dozens of fake accounts to intimidate her and make her “the most hated woman on the internet.” Called the “Volunteer Bake Circle,” this group set out to destroy Emily’s livelihood and tarnish her reputation, just as they accused her of doing to Tanya, in a kind of eye-for-an-eye wellness war.
In the middle of all of this animosity, there’s also one woman who is a big mystery: Ingrid De La Mare-Kenny, a glitzy Monaco-based influencer with her own fiber product and a murky past. To hear Ingrid tell it, she was the first victim of Tanya Zuckerbrot’s wrath, roasted by anonymous haters around 2017 and 2018 for creating fiber-friendly recipes that looked similar to F-Factor. But to hear Tanya tell it, Ingrid is the mastermind behind the original attacks on her and her company—a rival who concocted the anonymous troll accounts that sparked the great wellness panic of 2020. The truth of the matter, at least at the time of this publication, remains elusive.
Meanwhile, The Daily Beast has discovered that Ingrid’s past—publicized in her colorful memoir and recounted on numerous podcasts—is riddled with apparent lies, from her claims to have worked for famous fashion designers to details about her felony conviction and even her supposed matriculation from NYU’s law school.
Let’s back it up to just before the COVID pandemic brought the planet to a standstill and before Tanya Zuckerbrot’s empire came crashing down around her—to when she was truly on top of the wellness world.
As an influencer, Tanya boasted over 100,000 followers. She appeared on the Today show and Fox as a registered dietician and health expert; she penned a book about F-Factor, her high-fiber diet plan, that sold 100,000 copies; she advised celebrity followers such as Megyn Kelly and Katie Couric on how to slim down and feel great. Her company, she says, was valued at $40 million.
But F-Factor wasn’t just a diet—it was a lifestyle. And Tanya wasn’t your typical dietician: She represented a new breed of health professional custom-made for the social-media era. She showcased her charisma, her glamorous life (her Park Avenue apartment is worth $22 million), her luxury vacations, and her wardrobe in a way that was both aspirational and envy-baiting. She also liked to talk about herself in exalted terms, saying on an Instagram Live: “I know God has chosen me to do his work… It’s why God gave me these blue eyes and these teeth, so I could draw you people in.”
And people loved it. Her followers, more akin to devotees than customers, paid thousands of dollars to attend an F-Factor summit in November 2019. One attendee talked about how after the summit she felt “really empowered to just go home and think about emotional eating in my life and make a big change.” Another attendee said she “learned from Tanya that your weight and health affects more areas of your life than one normally thinks, whether it’s, like, confidence, going out, being social, kindness.” A third woman gushed that F-Factor was the best way of “being in charge of your own destiny.” There were catchy mantras about fiber and intention bracelets, to be worn on the hand that “holds the fork, reaches for the bread basket or dips into the candy dish.”
To follow F-Factor was to belong to a community, to never settle for “mediocrity where greatness can exist,” and to look at Tanya as the manifestation of how to live your “best” life—which, if you followed her Instagram feed, could mean taking a lot of very expensive vacations and buying heaps of designer clothes.
Along the way, Tanya had some messy break-ups with former influencer friends and F-Factor followers, which left behind a string of disgruntled dieticians. In 2020, some former interns and employees told Insider that Tanya fostered a toxic work environment, supposedly “fat-shaming” one worker for a pasta lunch and leading some to eat in secret. Another ex-employee said, “It was understood that at an office where we are selling skinniness in a package, you don’t want to be seen eating anything that has a lot of carbs or is not F-Factor approved.” She added that staff were also expected to wear heels and “dress like you’re going to the nightclub.”
In a statement to Insider, Tanya called the accusations “either false or misleading” and said, “We strive to be a place of employment where our employees are happy to come to work, and while we have had to grow over the past 20 years, we are proud of where we are today. That phenomenal growth could not have happened without each and every one of our employees along the way.”
A former intern whom Tanya has dragged in her Instagram Lives—accusing her and others of a “woman on woman hate crime”—told The Daily Beast that she wasn’t concerned about the fiber product but of the message of F-Factor’s low-calorie diet itself. “When you’re in her world, you’re almost enamored with her,” the ex-intern said of Tanya. “She’s beautiful, she’s successful, she has all the talking points, but then you see the kind of underbelly of it in how she treated certain employees and how she felt about people behind their back.” (Tanya did not respond to a request for comment about F-Factor’s work culture.)
When the former intern criticized the F-Factor diet amid the 2020 controversy, she faced an onslaught of hate mail calling her “pathetic” and warning “karma” would come for her.
She said that while she never collaborated with Emily, she thought it was noticeable that “if you go into Tanya’s Lives and you even ask a question that could be remotely seen as supporting Emily, you would get blocked or thrown out or bullied. So I saw a lot more Tanya fans bullying people than the other way around.”
Trolls also came for Tanya, sending rumors about her to the anonymous celebrity gossip Instagram DeuxMoi, which says it does not vet submitted material. They snarked that she made her plastic surgeon cry, “paid big bucks to date her current husband,” and even claimed that “her powder has gotten clients sick with e-coli.” After DeuxMoi stopped dispensing Tanya dirt, accounts like Page Six Has Eyes and Bitsy Whispers kept the nasty smears going, attacking her for having cosmetic surgery, claiming she was an “alcoholic” who liked cocaine, and gossiping that she paid $15,000 for essential oils in her apartment’s AC vents. “She has gas and shits day and night,” one blind item said, before using the initials of her husband. “AW tried to get a builder to put in extra toilets.”
The new accounts also ramped up the E. coli claims and shared texts from someone who said they had their colon removed. “I also have Crohn’s disease and they told me to eat the ggs [high-fiber crackers] and all that stuff. I had to get surgery. I had my colon removed. Not sure if it’s bc of ffactor…”
Page Six Has Eyes began to tag high-profile accounts like Betches to get more attention and posted one screenshot of an anonymous text that said, “I wonder if someone at Betches would do a story on this? Sorry I don’t have a connection but Emily Gellis was on their podcast. Maybe she knows who to contact.”
Court records show that as part of discovery in Tanya’s lawsuit, Emily was asked to name “the initial source(s) of information that led You to believe F-Factor products are dangerous.”
She then identified Page Six Has Eyes, Bitsy Whispers, and DeuxMoi, but said, “It is unclear who the individual(s) who manage those Instagram accounts are.”
DeuxMoi’s claims about Tanya lit a fire under Emily, an influencer with 227,000 followers of her own and whose Instagram bio styles her as a “Modern Day Journalist.” She was particularly aghast at one post that accused Tanya of telling a client not to take her antidepressants because one side effect was possible weight gain or retention. Tanya denies ever having said this, and there is no proof it happened, but it set off a drastic chain of events for Tanya and her business. Emily had been open about struggling with depression and anxiety, and about benefiting from anxiety medication. She furiously asked her followers for their experiences with F-Factor. The negative responses, Emily says, came flooding in.
Emily spent weeks reposting what she said were firsthand accounts from people who had followed F-Factor’s high-fiber diet and allegedly experienced negative side effects, such as bowel obstruction, severe rashes, hives, and hair loss. According to Tanya’s first defamation lawsuit, Emily posted about her and F-Factor more than 4,500 times in 75 days. Emily later admitted that she did not research all the claims, but told us, “I verified the allegations made about F-Factor to the best of my ability.”
She didn’t stop there. Emily also made multiple videos—what Tanya’s complaint calls “numerous harassing statements”—railing against Tanya. According to the complaint, Emily accused the dietician of “selling fucking packaged poison,” compared her to notorious predators Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein, and said that Tanya encouraged pregnant women to consume unsafe levels of arsenic. The lawsuit also notes that Emily told her followers that someone who was “obsessed with” F-Factor and “bowel obstructed” had died—suggesting, without proof, that the death might be tied to the diet. (No death as a result of consuming F-Factor products has ever been verified.)
In response to the suit, Emily filed a motion to dismiss against Tanya. Emily’s lawyer argued that she received a variety of complaints about F-Factor and “believed all of these reports to be authentic.” It added that Tanya’s lawsuit is “replete with non-actionable polemics” and “long on histrionics.”
The woman who died, whose obituary says she passed away from a rare form of cancer, was named in court as part of the discovery process. When The Daily Beast contacted the woman’s mother, she said that she didn’t know anything about the F-Factor accusation. “I don’t think her cancer came from that,” she said, and later added, “It’s upsetting to me that they would say anything about my daughter. Somebody must have it in for F-Factor …. I feel sorry for Tanya.”
For her part, Emily said she never publicly mentioned the dead woman’s name and that her source on the death information was not the woman’s mom. “Names of alleged victims in this story were ONLY provided to the court in discovery, for purposes of litigation,” Emily said. In a legal filing, her team added, “F-Factor does not dispute that the story reported by Gellis that a consumer of F-Factor products died with a bowel obstruction is true. In fact a consumer of F-Factor products did die of a bowl [sic] obstruction…The passage does not state that the F-Factor diet caused the bowel obstruction.”
Emily also told us that her video said, “Somebody even died, it MAY have been a cause in it.” She continued, “That is absolutely not the same thing as saying ‘someone died.’ Again this is a manipulation tactic to try and put words in my mouth and by again taking what I did in fact say completely out of context.”
Over on Tanya’s Instagram page, one can still see the videos of Emily crusading against F-Factor’s founder, calling her a “shriveled raisin,” “revolting,” and a “little filthy piece of trash [who] married a fucking trust-fund baby who doesn’t even know how to work.” In one recording, Emily confides that she’s heard potentially damaging gossip about Tanya, her husband, and her children, including from camp counselors and teachers. In another video, she tells Tanya, “you’re a repugnant human being… you’re a disgrace to women, to New York, to Great Neck, to Jewish women … you are a powder-pushing, money-hungry, disgusting, gaslighting, greedy woman and I will put every victim on the record on my page until justice is served for you.”
In a third recording, Emily insists, “People hate you… you don’t have friends. You don’t have friends. Name one friend you have. Seriously, I will wait… Nobody is your fucking friend… People hate you. People. Hate. You… they can’t stand you. And they want to see you go down. And that’s the truth.”
Emily told The Daily Beast that she “publicly apologized for calling Tanya a dried up shriveled raisin…I regret ever making comments on her appearance, which is why I publicly apologized for doing so.” On the video telling Tanya that people hated her, she notes now, “Perhaps I could have found better vocabulary to express my sentiments. I don’t like using the word hate and I wish I was better able to articulate myself…They often taunted me to get me riled up and get a crazy reaction out of me, and sometimes unfortunately they succeeded … I chose poor words. I am not sure what anyone else would have done after being in my shoes, but I am sure I could always do better.”
She added: “I hope anyone who ever covers this story knows that all I ever wanted to do was help people.”
As the posts about Tanya took off, and news outlets started to cover the controversy, customers began to panic about F-Factor’s products. Tanya stayed silent for a bit, then appeared on the Today Show to combat the claims and released a third-party toxicology report, commissioned by F-Factor, that contended that F-Factor products were safe for consumption.
Other media reports have investigated the issue of heavy metals in F-Factor products. Today reviewed the products’ Certificate of Analysis and said their expert found the stated levels to be safe. The Fed Up Podcast with Casey Wilson also tested F-Factor’s powder and did not find high levels of heavy metals, with results almost identical to what F-Factor and Tanya had shared publicly. According to the 2020 toxicology report, “The risk analysis demonstrated that metal intake resulting from consumption of F-Factor Fiber/Protein Powders and Bars was from 2 to 1,500-times less than any tolerable intake levels for heavy metals of concern.” It added, “consuming one serving each of F-Factor Fiber/Protein Powders and Bars would not exceed daily tolerable intake levels.”
Still, one gastroenterologist—who treated several people with alleged side effects from the F-Factor diet—told Rolling Stone last year that the dosing on Tanya’s diet was “obscene.” And reporters for Insider spoke to four women in 2020 who claimed the F-Factor products and diet led to problems such as “severe digestive issues,” hives, hair loss, and amenorrhea tied to eating disorders. Insider noted that the stories were “anecdotal and don’t prove causation.” Tanya has posted on Instagram that all sorts of food intolerances, like whey protein powder allergies, can cause symptoms like rashes, hives, gas, and bloating, noting that doesn’t mean the food itself is unsafe for a wide audience.
Tanya also pointed out that her company had only received 50 health complaints out of 174,000 orders in two years and said that F-Factor worked with a third-party regulatory group to oversee customer feedback. Yet on a Hulu documentary about the scandal, a reporter for Insider noted, “We did find that she [Tanya] had received many comments on Instagram making these allegations against F-Factor in the past and that her team had deleted those comments. And when asked about that, she said something to the effect of ‘We felt that was slander. We know that our products are safe, we know that our diet is safe and so someone making these allegations about our diet, it’s just not true, so why would we leave that up there?’”
“I remember her voice was like, ‘Can you believe that people are saying this about me?’ She very much was considering herself kind of a victim of some sort of cancellation in that moment and she really thought that this was like a smear campaign made up by Emily.”
Tanya may have hoped that the panic around F-Factor would subside after she released the toxicology report, but it didn’t. And the damage—the fallout after Emily’s crusading and the posts by the anonymous troll accounts—was substantial. The complaint in Tanya’s first defamation case alleges that F-Factor’s monthly revenue plummeted from over $1 million to less than $90,000. It says Tanya suffered “enormous financial harm, reputational damage, and devastating emotional distress.”
In October 2022, eight women filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court against F-Factor, Tanya Zuckerbrot, and her manufacturer Nutrablend, claiming that that F-Factor products allegedly caused “significant health issues,” including intestinal blockages and bleeding, gastric pain, impaired liver function, malnutrition, and severe allergic reactions. Tanya, F-Factor, and Nutrablend denied these allegations in their responses to their complaint. The case is still working its way through the courts.
A spokesperson for Tanya told us in June that F-Factor will soon stop selling its powders and bars and recently closed its private practice in New York City, something Tanya attributes solely to what she calls the “smear campaign.” (F-Factor smoothies are still sold at Forty Carrots at Bloomingdale’s and online on Amazon, and Tanya notes, “there was never a product recall.” In the past, Tanya has insisted, “I use the product every day. I never stopped using the product. I feed the product to my children.”)
Noting that F-Factor had to shut their offices down and would no longer be manufacturing products, Tanya lamented on social media, “what happened to me can happen to another professional … they can see their life’s work destroyed.”
In another, rather cringeworthy Instagram Live, she said, “I was white, I was affluent. It was easy to come for me. If I was a minority, if I was poor, I don’t think these women would have dared to have done this. Too many people have shared that sentiment. They have said, ‘You were white, you were rich, you were pretty, they came for you’… Like I said, I would dare them to do this to a minority who was poor. I would dare them to do this.”
Within a matter of months, Tanya Zuckerbrot had gone from queen bee to wellness roadkill. She didn’t know who had started the anonymous campaign against her—all she knew is that Emily Gellis Lande had become the public face of the attacks on her and her company.
Emily’s “abuse went on daily for months,” Tanya said at one point. “Yes, I did fear for my life… Nobody I cared about was off limits to this woman. You want to attack me… go ahead. But to taunt my children like this? To let them think their counselors and teachers would gossip about them? … Imagine someone doing this to your daughter. What did [my children] do to you that you would hurt them like this? You have NO SOUL.”
As her company’s fate spiraled out of her control, Tanya began to fight back—and lash out. In the summer of 2020, she hired trained crisis managers for her team. At first, she brought in Lanny Davis, the powerhouse lawyer and press whisperer who had helped resuscitate former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s image and career. Then Dan Webb, a top defamation lawyer who represented Fox News in the Dominion case, came on board to represent Tanya. (Davis and Webb are no longer involved in Tanya’s ongoing legal sagas.) She ended up filing two lawsuits against Emily Gellis Lande asking $750,000 in total in damages—which prompted Emily to post videos of herself weeping over being sued.
Tanya’s lawyer Steven Harfenist told The Daily Beast that the first defamation case intends to demonstrate that “Gellis’ actions created hysteria based upon a false narrative leading to F-Factor closing its doors and causing Tanya Zuckerbrot serious financial and emotional damage and we intend to hold her accountable…The trial will set legal precedent which will protect innocent people from defamation on social media in the future.”
The court has allowed the case to proceed on the claim that there could be actual malice, a crucial requirement in defamation cases. “Although the First Amendment gives [Emily] Gellis broad freedom to express her thoughts and opinions, vulgar or otherwise, she does not have legal immunity to publish false factual information about people or products under the gauzy cloak of being ‘authentic’ and ‘raw,’” the judge noted, singling out in particular Gellis’ claims about the diet possibly being linked to someone’s death, her comments about F-Factor products supposedly being dangerous to pregnant women and unborn children, and her suggestions that F-Factor had engaged in “criminal activity” and violated the HIPAA Act. (The second defamation lawsuit is also ongoing.)
For her part, Emily insists, “To say, ‘I got sick’ is not bullying someone. That’s saying their truth. If it hurts her [Tanya Zuckerbrot], that’s unfortunate, but you have a company—you have to deal with things like that… If someone criticizes you, that is their business. It’s different from harassing/defaming/slandering. It’s criticism.”
She added, “She chose to have her face as the representation of her brand, as many brands do today. However, for someone to critique F-Factor as a diet and its side effects—that’s a critique of the business. People should absolutely be allowed to do that without her saying that it is a ‘personal attack.’ How Tanya chose to respond to the allegations, by gaslighting her consumer base, that was a separate decision she made as a founder. At that point I imagine customers took it extremely personally and felt that she should be held accountable for her actions.”
Meanwhile, in August 2020, The New York Times published an article about the controversy that would turn out to be problematic for Emily. An ex-influencer named Alison Brettschneider—whose cousin worked for Tanya—outed herself to Times as having submitted an anonymous fake claim to Emily at the height of the F-Factor panic. And it was one of the worst ones: She said that F-Factor products had caused her to miscarry. After Emily and others reposted her story, Brettschneider exposed it as a lie—saying that she was making a point about “irresponsible” use of anonymous claims on social media. (Tanya has said that neither she nor Brettschneider’s cousin were involved in any way with the false miscarriage story.)
As she doubled down on defending her life’s work, Tanya also berated users who questioned her F-Factor products. At one point, her ire turned to a 20-something woman named Alexis Barber, whose LinkedIn profile says she is host of the Too Smart for This podcast and an incoming Wharton MBA student, and who publicly claimed in the fall of 2020 that following F-Factor’s diet led to disordered eating. Tanya still seethes about Barber to this day—in April of this year, she posted to her 116,000 followers: “Reminder: Diets don’t give you eating disorders. Alexis, TAKE AGENCY. F-Factor did not GIVE you an eating disorder. YOU gave YOURSELF an eating disorder.” (Barber did not respond to requests for comment.)
Even as she waged war in the courts, Tanya also decided to take the fight to Emily online. Speaking her truth, she says, is how she is going to heal while she waits for the results of her two defamation suits against Emily. “I almost took my life. People failed to understand the impact,” she posted. “But now I am taking my power back. I am stronger than ever. And I will use what happened to me to help others.”
As part of that battle, Tanya made videos in which she called Emily a “menace to society,” opining, “she should be in prison or institutionalized. She is not well, and I know we’re not supposed to discuss mental health or judge someone’s mental health, but when my lawyer saw the video [of Emily], he said the same. He said this woman is not well.” In another, she lamented, “I cannot imagine why anyone would follow a woman that is so ugly on the inside. But I also know that there are, like—you know, is his name Jeffrey Dahmer?—murderers that, like, have fans.”
Tanya also made one particularly memorable, two-hour Instagram Live in September in which she railed at Emily, “You are jealous. You are petty. You hate yourself. I think that you clearly struggle with body issues—and I’m only saying this from all the photos you post of yourself at a significantly lower weight and then you photoshop your photos.” She added, “I think it would be fascinating to see how healthy this woman is…I could not care less how much you weigh. I would be fascinated to know what percent body fat you have, which is a direct correlation with health.”
“You don’t understand nutrition, you don’t understand F-Factor so you hate it,” Tanya continued, “And in return, you hate yourself because you’re not comfortable with yourself. … If you were that confident in your skin, you would not constantly be showing the world all of these pictures of you when you were skinny. It doesn’t make sense.”
(Tanya did not respond to a request for comment about these videos.)
Before long, Tanya had help beyond the attorneys and spin-masters. Two anonymous accounts appeared on Instagram in the summer and fall of 2020: ffactorfacts and EGTruth2020 (now known as egtruthfully). On an Instagram Live, Tanya has praised these accounts, which have turned into two of her most aggressive defenders. She thanked them for being “accountability accounts,” for one of their main purposes has been to take on Emily and another woman—a rival influencer selling a competing fiber product from across the ocean, the glam self-proclaimed “gangster” Ingrid De La Mare-Kenny.
It’s pretty clear why Tanya’s defenders were suspicious of Emily—she was the aggressive public face of the campaign against F-Factor. But their targeting of Ingrid might seem a little odd at first—yes, she sold a rival fiber powder, but why would a woman in Monaco have anything to do with the Great Fiber Feud?
Well, as it turns out, Tanya and Ingrid had history. A very bitter history.
What’s French for ‘Fiber Feud’?
Remember those anonymous accounts that were posting mean stuff about Tanya, her family members, and F-Factor in 2020? They were called Bitsy Whispers and Page Six Has Eyes. Later, another anonymous account—Diet2Moi—roasted Tanya, too. All three of the accounts were eventually taken down by Instagram.
But no one knew who was behind the relentless trolling. And some people began to sleuth around—including a jet-setting woman named Romy (who was identified in Tanya’s court papers as Romy Ranalli, in a request for Emily to produce messages with her account and many others). Romy says she started the ffactorfacts account to get to the bottom of whether her favorite fiber bars were safe. She made videos dissecting the anonymous accounts, cataloging their catchphrases and questioning their scariest claims—like that E. coli had supposedly turned up in F-Factor powders.
(On the issue of E. coli, Francisco Diez-Gonzalez, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, said that it’s extremely rare, though not impossible, for E. coli to be spread through products like diet bars. He noted that if a sick patient’s symptoms are severe enough, a doctor may order stool testing to see whether they have a serious strain of E. coli or other pathogenic microorganism. If a lab finds such a strain in a person’s clinical test, Diez-Gonzalez said, the facility is required to report it to state health authorities and it’s then logged into a national database, which monitors for outbreaks and can compare pathogens documented in different states.
Diez-Gonzalez said that a private individual can also send a food product to a lab, but one case of E. coli is rarely going to trigger an investigation. “The single case has a lot of uncertainty of what actually makes a person sick,” he said. “There are some foodborne diseases that can develop very quickly, but some of them take days.” Authorities, it should be noted, issued no E. coli warnings for F-Factor.)
The anonymous gossip accounts also used certain phrases (like “Copy Cow,” which was favored by Ingrid as well) and they pointed concerned F-Factor customers to a rival fiber powder product—one sold by Ingrid De La Mare-Kenny.
It was Ingrid’s own fascination with fiber that first drew her and Tanya to each other—and then caused a brutal fight.
In 2017, just a year before Tanya announced the launch of F-Factor fiber and protein bars and powders, Ingrid was living the luxe life in Monte Carlo, captivating her Instagram audience with photos of high-fiber GG cracker pancakes and French toast, alongside her abs-baring selfies and promotions for her The Method fitness regimen.
At first, Ingrid and Tanya puffed each other up online. In one recipe post, Ingrid wrote, “A special dedication to über nutritionist to the stars, FIBER queen and my friend @tanyazuckerbrot, who Brought GG’s into my life, years ago.” That same month, Tanya commented on a fitness post, “Your body is incredible!!! #goals.”
But the women had a falling out over their beloved GG crackers. In a later Instagram Live, Tanya claimed she was “really upset” after she posted a pancake recipe that her client had created and Ingrid cribbed it as her own. “I wrote her really politely, saying, ‘You know, I think women should support other women,’” Tanya told her followers. “‘Can you at least say that you were inspired by my recipe?’” Tanya continued, “She always says I never responded to her after that, and she’s right. That’s not my kind of girl.”
Soon after this exchange, the Instagram handle of Tanya’s then-chef, Sean Kelley, left a comment on Ingrid’s account. “You could learn to take a page from @tanyazuckerbrot,” the message read. “Build your own brand genuinely rather than steal recipes and principles from others… Shame on you.” (Tanya claimed in an Instagram video that Ingrid had copied Kelley’s no-carb rice, and Kelley called her out. But Kelley denied writing that comment, telling the Fed Up podcast that Tanya grabbed his phone and posted the screed herself.)
Ingrid claims that since this blowup, anonymous trolls have harassed her.
While Ingrid peddled her Gangster Chic brand’s recipe books and inulin powder (in clear receptacles cheekily declaring, “No cocaine here”), some of the alleged cyber bullying included barbs about Ingrid’s criminal record.
In 2006, the FBI had arrested the married mom of three at her home in an affluent corner of Queens, New York, for selling designer jeans online but failing to deliver the goods. Federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia said that Ingrid’s business, through which she made $500,000 between 2004 and 2006, involved creating dozens of aliases to respond to angry customers who placed orders on several of her websites.
“She kept amassing complaint after complaint after complaint as she was setting up each different Web site. When the complaints got too much, she just moved on to another Web site and created another name so she could keep the scheme alive,” said assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Dougherty at her 2008 trial, according to a court transcript.
Dougherty told jurors that Ingrid, who then went by Ingrid Levy, went as far as buying a California phone number and mail drop address to make it appear her business was based there. She also invented a bogus attorney and law firm and forged documents to deliver legal threats to anyone who left her companies bad reviews.
When authorities searched Ingrid’s home, the prosecutor said, they found a template for her fake legal pleadings. “Why did she do that?” he added. “To keep the scheme alive, to keep the fraud alive, to be able to keep stealing people’s money.” According to the feds, Ingrid duped 82 victims out of about $168,300, which she was ordered to pay in restitution.
She was convicted of seven counts of mail fraud and wire fraud and sentenced to 46 months in a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. After being incarcerated for a year, Ingrid won an early release after an appeals court upheld the conviction but ordered her resentencing.
The drama was detailed in the Frenchwoman’s 2020 self-published memoir Fuck My Life: The Memoir of a Chic Gangster, a tome topped with the tagline, “Just own your story. Write your ending.”
“For my part, my life may have been fucked for a long while, but my adversities have fueled my successes,” Ingrid wrote. “I have lived in shame of my criminal past for almost a decade and the humiliation and pain of seeing my kids get uninvited from birthday parties.” She then seemed to take aim at Tanya: “This all ended when my health and wellness venture took off and a notorious diet guru in NY felt threatened enough by my small growing business that she attempted to ruin me by publishing my criminal record on social media.”
Ingrid has long defied Tanya fans over her criminal history. In 2018, she posted an Instagram photo of herself and her husband sporting VIP passes at Jay-Z and Beyonce’s On the Run II Tour. “GANGSTER is chic Bitch,” she wrote in the caption, “don’t you ever try to come and shame me for my past ever again, my PAST bulldozers your present …”
In the book, Ingrid rails against the American justice system, inaccurately claiming she was “exonerated.” “My case was ridiculous; I sold jeans! I may have to pay a fine for bad accounting, but no-one [sic] goes to jail for years for selling $28,000-worth of jeans on the internet,” she recalled thinking just before her trial.
She noted that she wasn’t allowed an email address behind bars. “Long story short, they know I’m too good with computers. I can hack. I know my way around the web, so they made sure to restrict my access to email,” she wrote.
Ingrid’s memoir is marketed as a way for her to reclaim her history from the haters. Yet many of her anecdotes about her past, The Daily Beast has exclusively discovered, appear to not be true.
In her memoir (and on LinkedIn), Ingrid claims to have attended NYU Law, but a university spokeswoman told us that based on her date of birth and names past and present, “New York University is unable to verify any record of education for this individual.”
Ingrid also has claimed that she was an assistant to costume designer Patricia Field on Sex and the City, supposedly landing a Birkin bag for an episode. “I worked during the day on the HBO series set, and I sold all my expensive jeans on eBay,” she noted, also claiming she “worked UNION for HBO and on the side for magazines and celebs” including Vogue. (A now-defunct website for her fashion consulting business claimed she “went from interning for Patricia Field on the set of HBO Series Sex And The City, to being Field’s ‘right hand’ senior stylist on the set of Both Sex And The City I and II movies.” She also claimed to work for Field on at least two different podcasts.)
A representative for Field, however, denied Ingrid ever worked with her, or her real righthand women Molly Rogers and Rebecca Weinberg, or on the show. “Just received confirmation from both Pat and Molly that Ingrid Levy or Ingrid De-La Mare Kenny never worked for them or with them,” Field’s executive administrator said in an email, later adding, “You’d be surprised how many people use Pat’s name, and how little of those name-drops are true.”
Sources at Condé Nast could not confirm that Ingrid ever worked with Vogue.
Separately, Ingrid told a podcaster that Field got her a job with Isaac Mizrahi after Sex and the City ended, and her old site claimed she was a “prominent member of his creative team.” But a rep for Mizrahi told The Daily Beast, “Spoke to Isaac, he does not remember her. Sorry.”
The French fiber-hustler also appears to have cooked up claims about the authorities who put her away. “I do feel like my dad is watching over me,” her memoir says. “The people who have hurt me have seen their share of retribution. The judge who sent me to prison stepped down from his chair after his long appointment by President Reagan. The prosecutor who railroaded me was fired from the District Attorney’s office the week of my release and is now a Traffic Violations attorney.”
Public records show the judge retired eight years after her release, and that the main prosecutor on her case still works for the Department of Justice. One member of the prosecution team told The Daily Beast that the prosecutor “later became a supervisor” and “no one was fired.”
The source said that Ingrid’s case stands out in their mind because “it’s unusual that you had this Queens housewife who’s a total fraudster,” and because of the aliases she used while “roping people along and never actually delivering the products.”
At least one of Ingrid’s customers was working to open her own clothing store and sent Ingrid’s company thousands of dollars. “The sad thing was … there were people who had their own retail shops. They were buying in bulk from her. They’d lay out all this money. Ingrid just blew them off.”
But one thing the source didn’t remember: Any mention of Ingrid working in the world of high fashion or on Sex and the City. (Indeed, in a sentencing memorandum, Ingrid’s attorneys referred to her as a “housewife” devoted to raising her kids and noted she also worked as “a professional piano instructor.”)
In a write-up of Ingrid’s case at the time from the Rockaway Wave, the newspaper noted, “locals say that Levy and her family were members of Rockaway’s Orthodox Jewish community and that they would not have believed that she would be capable of such a crime.”
When asked about her apparent lies about her past work opportunities and education, Ingrid told The Daily Beast, “perhaps read my memoir???” before claiming she never mentioned Field and Sex and the City in the book. This is not true—in the tome, Ingrid talks about “my career in fashion, my big break working for HBO and Patricia,” and at another point says, “I went from being an assistant costumes designer on Sex and the City to Gossip Girl and being a fashion stylist and prop stylist for fashion magazines like Vogue…”
She added, “the ‘story told’ is specified as a memoir, not as matter of facts.”
Ingrid’s memoir details how in 2012, as she adjusted to life back at her Queens “mini-mansion,” her affair with a married man imploded and she and her husband divorced yet cohabitated. The fashionista quickly departed the U.S., unable to endure a “constant state of paranoia” about authorities coming for her and returning her to prison.
That year, a probation officer asked the court to issue a warrant for Ingrid to appear in court after she was arrested in March 2012 for aggravated harassment; he noted that she was accused of following and texting and emailing her victim, a married man whom she had dated. The following week, the probation officer added, Ingrid left New York without permission and returned to her native Europe. At the time, she’d shaved off only $5,450 from the restitution bill for her victims.
A law enforcement source told The Daily Beast that a 2012 arrest warrant for Ingrid is still outstanding and that her restitution balance remains unpaid.
Meanwhile, Ingrid started a new life with her children in Monaco, one that eventually included her “flat-tummy powder,” her own French Yourself podcast—and a load of influencer drama across the pond.
As a backlash against Tanya and her fiber products began to brew, the F-Factor creator publicly claimed Ingrid had “planted” unsavory rumors about her and was “obsessed” with her. For her part, Ingrid insisted that anonymous accounts had harassed her, her husband—whom she calls the “CLYDE to my BONNIE”—and her Gangster Chic customers and partners. She also claims she was doxxed—and even ambushed by mystery assailants—as a result of the F-Factor brouhaha. Her hecklers, however, have accused her of staging the attack.
She told The Daily Beast that “I’ve since 2017 been harassed abused defrauded by co -conspiring / sympathizing allies / trolls/ friends” of the pro-Tanya accounts egtruthfully and ffactorfacts.
At another turn, Ingrid tried to pin blame for the anti-Tanya troll accounts on a former F-Factor dietician. “We know exactly who created them,” Ingrid wrote in a message posted by ffactorfacts. (The dietician denies any involvement with those handles.)
Tanya Zuckerbrot insisted to The Daily Beast that Ingrid “ran Page Six Has Eyes and Diet 2 Moi [diet2moi] IG accounts … She created these accounts with the sole purpose to intimidate me, harass me, harass my family and coworkers, and publiclaly [sic] defame me to destroy my reputation and my company’s [sic].”
But Ingrid denies being behind the accounts that blasted F-Factor and says she’s the one who is being harassed by Tanya and her minions. Ingrid told The Daily Beast that Tanya “has publicly supported accounts that were on an organized mission to publicly destroy my company, intimidate my customers and retailers, and lied about my products, my certifications, my family, and promoted false criminal charges against me.” She added that she felt that discussion of her criminal past was “another salacious and pungent ammunition in Zuckerbrot’s weapon of destruction used to persecute me and take me down.”
Ingrid also claimed she had to shut down her business after a flood of negative reviews “disparaging every single product I launched…my company did not survive … Tanya fucking ruined my life.”
Still, she noted recently that, at a fraught moment for Jewish people worldwide, she now regrets her past attacks on Tanya. “Be advised that i am completely retracting my position on bringing Ms. Zuckerbrot out in a negative light,” she said. “I have reached out to Tanya to express the same.”
One person with knowledge of the feud told The Daily Beast that Ingrid was an enthusiastic participant in the F-Factor panic. “She’s very persuasive,” the person said, adding that Ingrid “absolutely hated Tanya” and “wanted everyone else to do her dirty work for her, to take the fall for her.”
According to the source, Ingrid encouraged F-Factor deserters and “played mind games” with those she was trying to convince to speak out. “You guys should say whatever you want, throw it all out there, because it will make the case [against F-Factor] stronger,” the person recalls Ingrid telling people.
From their perspective, Ingrid and Tanya “are two peas in a pod.”
“These two are so similar. Although I think when it comes down to it, the only difference is Tanya knows, out in public, that honey collects more bees than vinegar.”
But not all of Tanya Zuckerbrot’s supporters were going the honey route in their quest to clear her name. In fact, some decided it was time to go full-on, nuclear, vinegar.
For as Tanya and Emily fought their battles in public on Instagram, a private group chat was forming behind the scenes—one that was filled with unkind comments about Emily Gellis Lande. And some members decided to make it their mission to take the influencer down.
With additional reporting by Hannah Seligson.
Coming tomorrow: Part II of the Scorched-Earth Glossy Wellness War, which will reveal a troll crusade against Emily and how it got so nasty, so fast.
If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing or texting 988.