Goop, Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow‘s holistic lifestyle brand, could face a regulatory crackdown after a complaint was filed Tuesday, accusing the company of systematically making false health claims about its high-end wellness products.
In a letter submitted to California health regulators, the advertising watchdog group Truth In Advertising (TINA.org) accused Goop of deceptive marketing practices, outlining over 50 specific cases in which the company claimed “either expressly or implicitly” that its products, or third-party products that it promotes, can treat and cure a wide variety of ailments.
Examples include the US$66 jade egg (designed to be inserted into women’s vaginas to supposedly improve their sex lives), Balls In The Air (a US$75-a-month vitamin subscription), the Black Rose Bar (a US$22 bar of “antioxidant African black soap”) and the US$165 Edition 02 – Shiso perfume (purported to boost memory and immune functioning).
“The company does not possess the competent and reliable scientific evidence required by law to make such claims,” TINA.org said, urging California authorities to investigate Goop’s marketing practices and “take appropriate enforcement action.”
TINA.org previously sent Paltrow a letter warning her that a complaint would be filed with regulators unless Goop cleaned up its “deceptive” marketing campaigns within a week, but the watchdog says Goop ended up making “only limited changes.”
Goop responded with a statement calling the claims “unsubstantiated and unfounded,” and accusing TINA.org of making threats under arbitrary and unreasonable deadlines.
Goop’s products and advice have been the subject of controversy for years.
The notorious jade egg was slammed by gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunter, who said in a January blog post that the product could increase the risk of bacterial infection. Goop responded by reminding Dr. Gunter that “the thing about science and medicine is that it evolves all the time.”
The company even attracted the ire of NASA after it promoted “Body Vibes” stickers that it claimed contained “NASA space suit material” to help address energy imbalances, something one former NASA scientist told Gizmodo was “a load of BS.”
WATCH: Is Gwyneth Paltrow wrong about everything?
More recently, Paltrow attracted widespread mockery after a June appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show, during which she was unable to explain how jade eggs work, and joked, “I don’t know what the f*** we talk about.”
A few days after the interview aired, Paltrow hosted the inaugural “In Goop Health” event in Culver City, Calif., where women paid between US$500 and $1,500 to attend lectures, participate in fitness classes, and buy various products and services including B-12 injections and $72 aromatherapy candles, The Associated Press reported.
Paltrow’s continued role as CEO and public face of Goop — which derives its name from her initials — comes despite her saying in 2016 that she wanted to step away from the brand to allow it to grow unhindered.
— With a file from ET Canada writer Brent Furdyk