Televangelist Jim Bakker touted the supposed coronavirus-fighting abilities of a dietary supplement on his TV show in February, and New York State’s attorney general has issued an official warning over the “misleading claims.”
State Attorney General Letitia James sent a letter to Bakker of “The Jim Bakker Show” this week ordering him to cease and desist “making misleading claims regarding the Silver Solution’s effectiveness” in combatting COVID-19.
In a segment during the broadcast on February 12, 2020, the letter says, Bakker asked guest Sherrill Sellman if the Silver Solution sold on the show’s website would be effective in fighting coronavirus. Sellman responded that “it’s been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours.”
The Silver Solution is a dietary supplement which is advertised as supporting one’s immune system and being able to “speed up natural processes that have positive effects on the body.” It costs $300 for a dozen 16-ounce bottles.
In her cease and desist order, James reminded Bakker that the World Health Organization has noted no specific medicine to prevent or treat the disease.
“Your show’s segment may mislead consumers as to the effectiveness of the Silver Solution product in protecting against the current outbreak,” James wrote. “Any representation on The Jim Bakker Show that its Silver Solution products are effective at combatting and/or treating the 2019 novel coronavirus violates New York law.”
James further ordered Bakker to label all online advertising of the Silver Solution with a disclaimer that the claims have not been evaluated by the FDA.
Bakker was a noted televangelist in the 1980s who generated $120 million in annual revenue and created a Christian theme park that at one point rivaled Disney World, according to Bloomberg. Bakker resigned amid a sex scandal with a former church secretary in 1987, but re-emerged in 2003 with a new show.
AG James issued a press release to New Yorkers on Thursday, warning them about price gouging and scamming.
“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,” she wrote. “I encourage anyone who believes they are the victim of a scam or predatory action to contact my office and file a complaint.”
She recommended New Yorkers refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or New York State Department of Health websites for official information about prevention and treatment.
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