Pittsburgh, PA — Benjamin Calgon, founder of Calgon, Inc., the eight largest bath and beauty product company in the world, was arrested on Thursday on charges that he had abducted and abused 2.1 million women from their bathtubs over the past four-plus decades.
Known for its commercials that had stressed women uttering the phrase “Calgon, take me away!” (click here), the Calgon company is believed to have been used as a front for its founder’s complex, often violent, kidnapping and sex-trafficking operation since 1968. Victims were allegedly removed from their tubs in large flying bubbles and forced to work as migrant farmers or truck-stop prostitutes.
“After a thorough, forty-year investigation, the FBI has uncovered over 2 million cases in which Mr. Calgon had kidnapped unsuspecting women from their homes,” said FBI special investigator George Andels. “In each case, the defendant used proprietary, state-of-the-art bubble technology to transport the victims from their bathtubs to a secure location on his property, where he would force each to engage in manual labor and/or prostitution.”
Calgon’s attorneys immediately filed a request to have all charges dropped, arguing that each of the women, ranging in age from 17 to 93, had explicitly asked for Calgon to “take them away,” thus demonstrating open consent. They have also asked the court to separate the women from their reunited families and return them to Calgon’s possession within the next 30 days.
Prosecutors have scoffed at the defense’s claim that the victims knowingly asked to be taken into captivity by Calgon, instead arguing that the women simply wanted to take a relaxing break from their blathering husbands and whiny-ass children.
“It is true that each of the victims did, in fact, ask to be ‘taken away’ by Calgon,” said David Melborne, lead prosecutor assigned to Henderson’s case. “But not one of these women ever asked to be whisked away in a bubble, housed in a leaky storage unit, force-fed dog food and expired Ocean Spray, and made to service truckers in a sexual manner. Mr. Calgon obviously needs to learn the difference between literal and figurative speech.”
Federal investigators have reportedly been watching Calgon closely since early 1973, but until only recently had enough evidence to formally charge the bath product mogul with a felony. The big break in the case came when Calgon was found at a Pittsburgh-area Walmart offering to pay patrons to say the “Take me away” catch-phrase the next time they bathed or showered.
If found guilty, Calgon can expect to be sentenced to between 8-10 years for each abduction, bringing his total potential jail-time to just over 17 million years. Calgon’s attorney’s, however, believe their client will come out of the proceedings “clean.”