The high-profile lifestyle website has agreed to pay authorities the sum after it was found to be making unfounded claims about its jade and rose quartz vaginal eggs.
“Goop advertised that the Jade and Rose Quartz eggs could balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles, prevent uterine prolapse, and increase bladder control,” the Orange County District Attorney’s office in California said in a statement.
The Orange County District Attorney’s office is part of the California Food, Drug, and Medical Device Task Force. The multi-district attorney task force reached a settlement with Goop in which Paltrow’s company “agreed to pay $145,000 in civil penalties, based on limited sales of these products in California”. It also agreed to refund customers who had purchased the eggs and stop making false claims about their efficacy.
Duped by Goop? You may be entitled to a refund https://t.co/czDzj0sBV5
— Fast Company (@FastCompany) September 5, 2018
The vaginal eggs are still on sale at Goop
Goop sells the eggs, which are inserted vaginally, for US$55 (for the Rose Quartz) and US$66 (Jade). It made representations that the eggs had numerous health benefits but according to the Task Force’s statement, these claims “were not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence”. It also falsely claimed its Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend could help prevent depression.
“It’s important to hold companies accountable for unsubstantiated claims, especially when the claims have the potential to affect women’s health,” Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said in the statement.
Goop is continuing to sell the Jade Egg on its website, which says the item is “used by women to increase sexual energy”. The Rose Quartz Egg ($55) is also available and is now described as “associated with positive energy and love”.
Goop gets hit with a huge $145,000 fine for making false claims. https://t.co/KZLpttCQZt
— InStyle (@InStyle) September 6, 2018
Goop unrepetant despite settling the case against it
The company remained defiant in the face of the payout. “Goop provides a forum for practitioners to present their views and experiences with various products like the Jade egg. The law, though, sometimes views statements like this as advertising claims, which are subject to various legal requirements,” CFO Erica Moore said in a statement.
“The Task Force assisted us in applying those laws to the content we published, and we appreciate their guidance in this matter as we move from a pioneer in this space to an established wellness authority.”
Founded in 2008, Goop has become a cultural phenomenon and its worth has been placed at US$250 million. It has long been a controversial company, however, with many in the scientific and medical community highly critical of it for selling unorthodox and scientifically unverified wellness products.
— NYT Styles (@NYTStyles) July 29, 2017
Critics of Goop
Gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr. Jen Gunter has been one of the company’s outspoken critics, charging it with dispensing “harmful and horrible” medical advice which it claims it had sourced from a ghost.
Gunter has also previously taken aim at the jade eggs, which she said have no medicinal qualities. “Selling women biologically implausible devices and unstudied practices under the guise of reclaiming sensuality is harmful. The absence of facts is disempowering. Implying that women can profoundly alter their hormones with jade eggs is misleading and cruel.”
The company was also rubbished by NASA after it sold anti-anxiety stickers with the claim that they were made from “the same conductive carbon material NASA uses to line space suits so they can monitor an astronaut’s vitals during wear.” Goop said the stickers drew on special technology including “bio-frequency that resonates with the body’s natural energy field.” These assertions were dismissed as a “load of BS” by a former Chief NASA Scientist and Goop was forced to remove the claim.
Goop tried to use NASA science to sell bogus stickers. NASA wasn’t having it. https://t.co/in7qUciv1D
— Vox (@voxdotcom) June 24, 2017
Truth in Advertising (TINA.org) has also taken issue with Goop’s claims, filing a complaint outlining more than 50 false claims the company has made in terms of its products treating, curing or preventing various ailments. Contentious items include crystal harmonics for infertility, a seaweed bath soak that allegedly halts ageing and vitamin D3 supplements for cancer. “The problem is that the company does not possess the competent and reliable scientific evidence required by law to make such claims,” TINA.org states.
The more Goop is attacked for its bogus claims and reliance on pseudoscience, however, the stronger it grows. It continues to enjoy an outsized share of the wellness market, which is worth more than US$3.7 trillion dollars.
Header image: WEBN-TV