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Watchdog group files complaint against GOOP for nonsense health claims

“Have you met my fourth child, Pseudoscience?” (Photo: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Fast Company)

Media watchdog group Truth In Advertising (TINA) has called bullshit on Gwyneth Paltrow’s new-age health hucksterism site GOOP, and not just for whatever kind of organically sourced cow manure the company is currently claiming helps open up your T-Zone, or whatever. The non-profit filed a formal complaint with California regulators against Paltrow’s business, after an investigation it says revealed more than 50 examples of the company making “deceptive health and disease-treatment claims to promote products in violation of the law.” No word yet on whether one of those deceptive claims were ads praising Paltrow’s “bravura” performance in Emma.

The TINA.org investigation points out that Goop has consciously uncoupled from ethical business practices, by expressly or implicitly saying its products (or those it promotes) can treat, alleviate, or even cure a number of ailments, without any scientific basis for those claims. These include infertility, depression, psoriasis, anxiety, and even cancer, which some may be shocked to learn will not go away no matter how many jasmine-infused water spray bottles you purchase. Not only that, some instances involve inventing both the symptom and the cure, such as practices like “earthing”—which literally means “walking barefoot on the ground,” as far as we can tell—claim to re-connect people to the earth’s “natural energies.” Presumably, those natural energies resonate on the same frequency as the secret moon base run by kidnapped children.


Paltrow, for her part, has recently taken to admitting she has no idea what some of the crap she peddles is actually about, and we’ve recently reported on how GOOP and Infowars hawk essentially identical snake-oil products. We’re act outraged at the shamelessness, but we’ve lately taken to curing our heightened emotional levels via some spiritual kale baths, and if you’ll kindly click this way, we’d be happy to sell you the recipe for a very reasonable $79.99, plus $35 shipping and handling for the pixie dust we teach you how to sprinkle on your chakra.

UPDATE: GOOP spokespeople have responded to our story with the following statement:

Goop is dedicated to introducing unique products and offerings and encouraging constructive conversation surrounding new ideas. We are receptive to feedback and consistently seek to improve the quality of the products and information referenced on our site. We responded promptly and in good faith to the initial outreach from representatives of TINA and hoped to engage with them to address their concerns. Unfortunately, they provided limited information and made threats under arbitrary deadlines which were not reasonable under the circumstances. Nevertheless, while we believe that TINA’s description of our interactions is misleading and their claims unsubstantiated and unfounded, we will continue to evaluate our products and our content and make those improvements that we believe are reasonable and necessary in the interests of our community of users.

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Alex McLevy

Alex McLevy is a writer and editor at The A.V. Club, and would kindly appreciate additional videos of robots failing to accomplish basic tasks.