Netflix roasted for leading viewers astray with ‘health misinformation’ in Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop show
Paltrow’s medical faddism “does real harm” by contributing to the “erosion of critical thinking,” University of Alberta researcher Tim Caulfield tweeted on Monday after Netflix posted a teaser for the premiere of “The Goop Lab” later this month, setting off a firestorm of panic among a certain stripe of science enthusiast. The idea of an entire show devoted to whatever bizarre health practices the actress can dredge up from obscurity - the teaser mentioned psychic readings, exorcisms, and “cold therapy” - has triggered calls for its cancellation from skeptics who fear an outbreak of 'monkey see, monkey do' among its audience.
Dear @Netflix, the spread of health misinformation does real harm (https://t.co/4Yc3ZTKynz). In addition to promoting unproven ideas & products, it contributes to erosion of #criticalthinking. cc @DrJenGunterIn this era of #fakenews, pls do better! Less @goop. More science.— Timothy Caulfield (@CaulfieldTim) January 6, 2020
Caulfield wrote a whole article last month eviscerating the celebrity “wellness” industry, insisting that while it might seem like a relatively harmless form of profiteering, it actually gives cover to scientifically-unproven health practices. Non-pharmaceutical procedures like cryotherapy, gluten-free dieting, and IV vitamin therapy - to say nothing of the jade egg that made Goop a household name - would be utterly obscure if not for their celebrity boosters, he argued, accusing celebrities of contributing to a “culture of untruth” and confusing people about what a “healthy lifestyle” entails.But pharmaceutical companies - FDA-approved drugs being the preferred route to health for many critics of Paltrow and other celebrity wellness gurus - spend over $6.4 billion advertising their products to customers every year. Some of these ads use celebrities - who can forget then-presidential candidate Bob Dole’s star turn in that Viagra ad, or Olympic athlete Bruce (now Caitlin) Jenner’s fulsome praise of painkiller Vioxx on the Larry King show? Vioxx may have gone on to kill tens of thousands of people, but at least they weren’t taken in by some snake-oil seller like Goop. Surely, Americans should have the right to choose whether they’d prefer to pop pills, juice, or shove a jade egg where the sun doesn’t shine?Also on rt.com More than half of Americans want government-imposed press restrictions & curbs on free speech – survey
Not to Caulfield and the others who joined him in speaking out against The Goop Lab. An absence of critical thinking and a favorable feeling for celebrity anecdotes have combined to short-circuit our natural skepticism, he insists, going so far as to link the Goop craze with the “fake news” epidemic. Indeed, he’s written an entire book slamming Paltrow and Goop - apparently hoping readers will stop uncritically listening to and funneling money to celebrity wellness gurus and start uncritically listening to and funneling money to him instead. It’s a microcosm of the “fake news” epidemic in general, which exists largely in the minds of establishment journalists angry when their audiences prefer competing narratives.
A change.org petition, apparently launched last year when the show was first proposed, warns that Goop is scaring people away from vaccinating their children and warns that a measles “epidemic” underway in Washington at the time would worsen if people take the celebrity’s advice. Ironically, the petition features an image of a baby suffering a rash in reaction to receiving the smallpox vaccine - though it had been erroneously passed off as a child with measles by CNN. Paltrow is routinely excoriated for introducing the world to “holistic health psychiatrist” Kelly Brogan, who espouses a link between vaccines and autism, in 2018, even though the Goop website dismisses the vaccine-autism link as a “conspiracy theory” in the only vaccine-related article it has published.
The petition author isn’t the only one to draw a direct causal line between Paltrow’s show and declining enthusiasm for vaccines - some went even further and suggested children would die of vaccine-preventable diseases if The Goop Lab was allowed to air.
'What's the harm in giving Gwyneth Paltrow a health show on @Netflix?'This morning I put two of my children on the school bus. The third is a box of ashes. Health information should come from experts, not celebrities. Stop giving them platforms. 1/5https://t.co/wHF1iXHLuCpic.twitter.com/u4qJlvBG9a— Jill Promoli (@jillpromoli) January 7, 2020
Goop is not science, nor does the health products showcased promote health. They are pseudoscience and do real harm. They are unproven and by presenting it as fact, thousands of people not trained in critical thinking and science will be at risk.It is woo. Do better. https://t.co/3Ny2I7djEd— Bunsen (@bunsenbernerbmd) January 6, 2020
Others (accidentally) admitted that real scientists already have health shows, and that those are carried by Netflix already.
Both @CaulfieldTim and @DrJenGunter already have excellent shows about health. Do us all a favour, @netflix, and make them both available in all markets. They're fantastic and, most importantly, based in fact. pic.twitter.com/wFSWrzZP6l— Jill Promoli (@jillpromoli) January 7, 2020
While the common line seemed to be that the bizarre treatments publicized by Goop were “harmful,” even predatory…
This show is pseudoscientific trash and her company harms women Paltrow+Goop Lab= POOP Lab which is what I’m calling it from now on and frankly poop is better lets get #pooplab trending https://t.co/iuo48AmTAq— Sarah Parcak (@indyfromspace) January 6, 2020
Goop plays on women's very real anxieties about medical misinformation and distrust of their lived experiences to peddle snake oils that enrich its founder and do nothing to improve women's health, challenge hierarchical power in medicine, or improve our connection to our bodies. https://t.co/4RbU6XIPD8— Lauren Rankin (@laurenarankin) January 6, 2020
…some pointed out that not all “medical” treatments were particularly scientific or healthy, either.
Sounds like gynaecology. I support thousands harmed by the LEEP procedure who feel pretty marginalized. We feel even more marginalized when doctors are so focused on GOOP they can’t even see the issues in their own field.— Intact Cervix (@IntactCervix) January 7, 2020
Paltrow’s show may give a voice to the most ridiculous pseudoscience, but censoring it “because harm” is a step down a slippery slope that ends in barring coverage of all treatments that fall outside the scope of orthodox medicine from the airwaves. Every medical innovation has faced doubt before becoming widely accepted - better to beef up one’s own critical thinking abilities than impose censorship in service to the lowest common denominator.
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