For a 15-year period from 2000 to 2015, Jared Fogle, an average Joe from Indiana, became a worldwide sensation. The young man, who was described by fellow high school students as being morbidly obese, shocked everyone when, while in college, he lost 245 pounds in a single year. The diet he was on was an even bigger shock: he ate Subway sandwiches daily.
It was a marketer’s dream and Subway picked up on the story immediately, leading to one of the biggest, longest-running, most successful fast-food campaigns ever in history. Fogle, meanwhile, earned a reported $15 million at the height of his fame. But behind the cheerful demeanor was a private life filled with dark secrets.
The rise and fall of Jared Fogle is featured in the three-part Investigative Discovery/Discovery+ docuseries Jared From Subway: Catching a Monster. While most people know the gist of the allegations, including that Fogle is now serving a 15+-year sentence on charges of child sex tourism and child pornography, some of the most revealing details from the docuseries are enough to make your skin crawl.
Note: some of the content discussed in this article is disturbing.
What Jared Fogle whispered in a journalist’s ear
The entire investigation was kicked off with one, in Jared’s eyes, seemingly innocuous statement. But the woman he spoke it to, journalist and radio host Rochelle Herman-Walrond, was so disturbed by his words that she felt she had to do something about it. Though she didn’t let on to her true feelings, she couldn’t shake the fact that his words were a clear indication that he was likely a pedophile.
What did he say? As the two sat together in a school, ready to film an interview, Fogle leaned over and whispered a comment about how “hot he thought middle school girls were.” The statement shook Herman-Walrond. She knew something was very wrong. In the days that followed, the words ate away at her spurring an amateur investigation.
The FBI knew Fogle was a pedophile but couldn’t do anything about it
Fans might wonder why Herman-Walrond didn’t go to the police immediately. She noted that she knew nothing would come of it because she had no actual proof, and Fogle could easily have said that she misheard him. She decided to try and get the proof by recording her conversations with him. When she eventually took her tapes to the FBI, she learned that while they contained damning proof of at least a sexual interest in minors, none of it would hold up in court. She obtained the recordings illegally, without first notifying him that she was recording him.
Most jarring: Herman-Walrond learned that in doing so, she technically committed a felony. The only way out of it was to continue doing what she was doing, this time working directly with the FBI as part of an official investigation. This process went on for years, with the FBI stating they could not charge Fogle until there was an overt act or proof that he actually did anything he was talking about.
The toll it took on Herman-Walrond’s life
Everyone hears the story of Jared but not many have heard Herman-Walrond’s side, despite the fact that she had a pivotal role in bringing him to justice. The docuseries spent a lot of time talking with Herman-Walrond. She discussed how her conversations with Fogle got increasingly graphic and more disturbing, to the point that she would often throw up after hanging up the phone.
She talked about the toll it took on her life and the lives of her kids, causing her to leave them at home alone to drop off tapes to the FBI and leading to her daughter becoming withdrawn and acting out. She recalls with horror the time her daughter found a journal she was keeping documenting the phone calls with Jared. To this day, Herman-Walford remains estranged from her daughter while her son decided to move to Taiwan and hasn’t returned to the U.S.
Jared’s disgusting words
Most shocking from the docuseries is Fogle’s words throughout, heard on Herman-Walrond’s recordings, saying atrocious and sickening things about children. It’s no wonder the docuseries includes multiple title cards throughout each episode warning about the graphic nature of the content that viewers are about to hear.
In one particularly unnerving instance, Fogle recalls his experiences in Thailand. He talks about how easy it was to do the things he wanted to do without the risk of getting in trouble. When she heard this, Herman-Walrond says her ”soul was blackened.”
The birthday party sting that didn’t happen
Herman-Walrond discusses a birthday party sting the FBI had her set up after she expressed the toll the case was taking on her personal life and kids. She couldn’t do it much longer and begged for a quick resolution. The idea was to pretend that her son was having a birthday party where many kids would be present and for Herman-Walrond to invite Fogle. She was also insinuating that he could meet with young children there.
Fogle took the bait, even going so far as to ask Herman-Walrond about her children, which caused Herman-Walrond to now fear for the safety of her own kids. But the idea was that once he crossed state lines with the intent to engage in sexual activity with a minor, the FBI would have cause to arrest Fogle. However, a last-minute change in his schedule meant Fogle could not make it to the fake party, preventing the sting from ever happening and allowing him to continue his illegal and immoral behavior.
Russell Taylor’s involvement
Russell Taylor worked for the American Heart Association when Fogle met him while on his speaking tours with Subway. He eventually hired Taylor to run his foundation. Taylor, however, allegedly had the same proclivities as Fogle, and the two became a toxic pair together. After it was discovered that Taylor was secretly recording his step-daughters in their home, with hidden cameras in private areas like their bedrooms and the bathroom, the two young women revealed that he had done far worse. They talked about how he and their mother would talk openly with them about sex, even when they were preteens.
In one instance, one daughter recalls how Taylor mocked her for not being sexually active at 12 and once left a sex toy and a computer open playing porn on her bed. “It freaked me out,” she said. The daughters believe he was doing these things to set them up to be on camera so he could use the footage to put in his movies. Ironically, when Taylor was arrested, Fogle released a statement saying he was disgusted by Taylor’s actions and had severed ties with Taylor for his foundation. It was messages between Taylor and Fogle later found by authorities, however, that would finally get the wheels in motion to raid Fogle’s house.
The first two episodes of Jared From Subway: Catching a Monster are now available on ID and Discovery+.