On the heels of revelations that Goop has built a $250 million empire without checking the facts behind its at-times wild health-related assertions, Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness company has been ordered to pay $145,000 in connection with a settlement in a lawsuit filed against the company for making unsubstantiated claims about the benefits of its products. According to a complaint filed late last month in a California state court in Napa, Goop made unfounded claims about its $66 vaginal Jade and Rose Quartz Egg, and its Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend.
Santa Monica-based Goop, which got its start in 2008 as a wellness newsletter, was selling the eggs alongside claims that they would "increase hormonal balance," "prevent uterine prolapse," and ultimately lead to better sex. As for the Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend, Goop asserted that the tincture "supports the healing of daily or chronic stress." The complaint, which was filed in late August, alleged that Goop made such claims without having the medical data to back them up.
In addition to ordering Goop to pay the nearly $150,000 fine and refund money to customers in California who purchased the products, Tuesday's judgment from Judge Victoria Wood requires that for the next 5 years, Goop and its affiliates must refrain from “making and/or disseminating any statement regarding any nutritional supplement or medical deceive that is false and misleading or has the tendency or capacity to deceive or mislead.”
Goop is further ordered to refrain from “making and/or disseminating any claim or representation about the nature, attributes, effects, efficacy, benefits, results, or safety of any nutritional supplement or medical device, unless, at the time of making and/or disseminating such claim or misrepresentation, it is true ... and [Goop] has in its possession and relies upon competent and reliable scientific evidence concerning the nutritional supplement or medical device for which the claim is being made.”
And still yet, Goop is required, for the next 5 years, to "create, maintain, and make available to any representative of the People of California for inspection ... file that contains all competent and reliable scientific evidence for all claims concerning the effect of a product on the structure and function of the human body.” This should include all “tests, clinical trial, reports, studies, surveys, demonstration, information, or other evidence of which [Goop] becomes aware, if any, that contradict, quality, or call into question any claim or representation made by [Goop]."
“Goop provides a forum for practitioners to present their views and experiences with various products like the Jade Egg,” Erica Moore, the company’s chief financial officer, said in a statement. “The law, though, sometimes views statements like this as advertising claims, which are subject to various legal requirements.”
She further noted, "The Task Force assisted us in applying those laws to the content we published." Goop is still selling the controversial crystal eggs but has removed the scientific claims and instead, purports that the offs "increase sexual energy and pleasure."
In a New York Times feature this summer, Paltrow revealed that as of this month Goop is hiring a full-time fact-checker, a “necessary growing pain” for the company that has managed to create a $250 million valuation – including $75 million in funding from the likes of Felix Capital, 14W, Slow Ventures, and Lightspeed Ventures – based on what Jezebel very bluntly called “bullshit wellness claims.” AV Club recently described “a wide swath of Goop’s treatments” as “legit psychotic.”
* The case is People of the State of California, v., Goop, Inc., 18-cv-001176 (Cal. Sup.).