Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop’s controversial health claims are coming to new Netflix show
Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness company Goop, which is known for making unfounded health claims on products it sells, will be getting its own Netflix show.
- The docuseries will focus on physical and spiritual wellness, Goop has confirmed
- The company has been criticised for promoting “dangerous” products like jade eggs
- Health experts have flagged concerns over the editorial direction of the show
Goop confirmed with ABC News that it had signed a deal with the streaming giant that would see it produce 30-minute episodes of a docuseries focused on physical and spiritual wellness.
Set to air later this year, Paltrow and Goop chief content officer Elise Loehnen will co-host the show and talk to experts, doctors and researchers. The pair already have a popular podcast series.
Paltrow started the company more than 10 years ago and has been criticised for promoting products like jade eggs, that Goop alleged improved vaginal muscle tone, hormonal balance and chi, but which health practitioners warned were dangerous.
Jon Wardle, Associate Professor of Public Health at the University of Technology Sydney, said he was concerned that Goop and Netflix’s editorial teams would now use the new show to promote unfounded health claims to TV audiences.
“You only have to look at what goes through the courts to see what harm can be done, or talk to any health practitioner,” he said.
He said there was a lot of accountability for health practitioners making claims, but unfortunately not so much for the media.
“Health has become a commodity as much as anything else, and because of that health advice is seen more as something to sell rather than as a service to actually provide,” he said.
Other health practices Paltrow and Goop have promoted include vaginal steaming, bee sting facials, bio frequency stickers (to “rebalance the energy frequency in our bodies”) and earthing.
Earthing, Goop explains on its website, involves grounding yourself to access the “abundant supply of free electrons” in the ground to treat inflammation, insomnia and depression.
“I don’t know what the f*** we talk about,” Paltrow said while on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show in 2017 when asked to explain earthing.
Goop markets itself as a “modern lifestyle brand” and sells fashion and health products online attached to articles promoting their supposed benefits.
Can they get away with these claims?
Not-for-profit organisation Truth In Advertising has previously taken the legal fight to Goop over some of its claims and secured what it said were only “limited changes to its marketing”.
Gwyneth Paltrow has promoted a number of health practices, including earthing. (Instagram: Gwyneth Paltrow)
Associate Professor Wardle said there were watchdogs in Australia to handle complaints about health claims, such as the Health Care Complaints Commission in New South Wales, but they were often under-resourced.
“In some instances, like the [anti-vaccination group] Australian Vaccination Network it has done it [gone after them] and instances like Belle Gibson they have made the publisher accountable,” he said.
“But generally what happens is it’s for those really big, high-profile cases.”
He said both Australia and the United States were not leaders on regulations to protect consumers from unfounded claims.
“In this kind of arrangement where it’s packaged up as entertainment there’s real legal grey area that’s unaccountable, unregulated and allows you to make claims that you can dress up as something other than health advice, and yet that’s how people take them,” he said.
“I think that’s the real damage, that people are going to watch what really is an entertainment show take on health messages, and Netflix and Goop both give them this sort of legitimacy and authority.”
Concern over editorial direction of show
Associate Professor Wardle said that even when Goop provided good health advice, such as the nutritional value of foods, it was always directed at selling a product in a “commercially crass kind of way”.
Goop markets itself as a modern lifestyle brand and sells fashion and health products. (Instagram: Goop)
“If they go and see an expert and they say this particular vitamin is good for brain development or cardiovascular function, that might actually be true and the research might be accurate, but the editorial team might take that and intertwine views and opinions to market something that is way too expensive,” he said.
“Just because you’re interviewing the experts doesn’t mean that their work is being put in context.
“I’m sure they are going to be speaking to researchers about this sort of stuff [in the Netflix show], but the concern is the editorial team is not going to reflect that accurately when it comes to their recommendations.”
Goop has not responded to questions about the accuracy of its health messages.
Netflix declined to comment.