Mean FDA Won't Let Jim Bakker Say His Magic Silver Solution Cures Coronavirus, Just Because It Doesn't
If there is one thing that Jim Bakker loves, it is bilking people out of lots and lots of money. In fact, he loves it so much that he even got sent to prison for doing it in the late '80s, information which came out after he paid off his former secretary Jessica Hahn with $279,000 out of the church coffers so that she wouldn't tell anyone that he, and another minister named John Wesley Fletcher, had (allegedly) drugged and raped her.
These days, while he doesn't have any fraudulent lifetime passes to a Jesus theme park to sell, Bakker still manages to get people to give him lots of money for stupid reasons. Sometimes it's to prove they love God, sometimes it's to sell food buckets, and sometimes it is to sell them his magical Silver Solution. These last two have become especially popular in the last month, owing to fears about the coronavirus. Preppers are buying up all the food buckets they can, and Bakker is selling his colloidal silver product "Silver Solution" as a cure. Which, you know, it's not. Unless your problem is having skin that is not blue enough.
On Monday, the FDA announced that they sent Bakker, along with six other companies, a letter of warning to stop selling obviously fake coronavirus cures.
"The FDA considers the sale and promotion of fraudulent COVID-19 products to be a threat to the public health. We have an aggressive surveillance program that routinely monitors online sources for health fraud products, especially during a significant public health issue such as this one," FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn said in announcing the enforcement actions.
The products include teas, essential oils, tinctures and colloidal silver, which have been cited as not safe or effective for treating any disease, the agency said in a statement with the Federal Trade Commission.
The FDA said it was particularly worried that the products may cause people to delay or stop appropriate treatment, "leading to serious and life-threatening harm."
According the statement, the companies have two days to respond to the letter.
In addition to this, New York state Attorney General Letitia James issued a cease-and-desist order to Bakker, telling him that selling his bullshit Silver Solution violates the law in her state.
Via ABC News:
"Your show's segment may mislead consumers as to the effectiveness of the Silver Solution product in protecting against the current outbreak," the cease-and-desist order said. "Any representation on the Jim Bakker Show that its Silver Solution products are effective at combating and/or treating the 2019 novel coronavirus violates New York law." [...]
"In addition to being mindful about our health, we must also beware of unscrupulous actors who attempt to take advantage of this fear and anxiety to scam or deceive consumers," James said in a statement.
James gave Bakker 10 days to respond to the order.
It may be difficult to muster up much sympathy for anyone who would actually give Jim Bakker their hard-earned money after he, very famously, went to prison for five years for defrauding people of millions and millions of dollars, but this is not just about them. We don't want a situation where people who actually have the virus think they can cure themselves of it by drinking colloidal silver, which does literally nothing other than turn people's skin blue, because of how extremely contagious it is. We are already kind of screwed in this country — given that we do not have universal health care and there will be people out there who may exhibit symptoms but don't have the money to go to the doctor, and also because so many people do not have paid sick leave — we really shouldn't do anything to exacerbate things.
Please. Don't give your money to Jim Bakker. You're going to need it to give to the oncoming slew of coronavirus-related GoFundMes. In fact, we already have a few.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse