According to the lawsuit, Bakker and the show are “falsely promising to consumers that Silver Solution can cure, eliminate, kill or deactivate coronavirus and/or boost elderly consumers’ immune systems when there is, in fact, no vaccine, potion, pill, potion or other product available to treat or cure coronavirus disease 2019.″
The televangelist has advertised the colloidal silver products for as much as $125 — a variety pack deal — on “The Jim Bakker Show,” where he is known to preach about the end of times. Bakker rebuilt his televangelist empire after spending nearly five years in prison on dozens of fraud and conspiracy charges stemming from his former ministry’s fundraising projects.
Schmitt joins New York’s attorney general, the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration in targeting Bakker for misleading his viewers into thinking Silver Solution could keep coronavirus at bay — and possibly even “kill it” within 12 hours.
The agencies’ fury stems from a Feb. 12 segment in which Bakker invited a “naturopathic doctor” on the show to talk about the benefits of Silver Solution amid the coronavirus panic.
“This influenza that is now circling the globe, you’re saying that ‘Silver Solution’ would be effective,” Bakker said to the woman, Sherrill Sellman.
She said it hasn’t been tested on the novel coronavirus, “but it has been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours. Totally eliminate it, kills it. Deactivates it.”
Sellman said the government has “proven” that the Silver Solution “has the ability to kill every pathogen it has ever been tested on, including SARS and HIV.”
In fact, the federal government on Monday sent a warning letter to Bakker and other colloidal silver peddlers, ordering them to stop selling it. That followed a March 5 cease-and-desist letter from New York Attorney General Letitia James accusing him of false advertising. The National Institutes of Health has warned its side effects can actually be dangerous for your health — including turning a person’s skin a bluish-gray color.
A representative for Bakker and the show could not immediately be reached for comment, but as of Wednesday morning it appears the silver products have been removed from the program’s online store. Last week, after New York ordered Bakker to stop selling the product, a representative from the “The Jim Bakker Show” defended the products in a statement to The Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer.
“We believe in Optivida Silver Solution … because of the research and the advice from medical professionals that we respect,” the statement said. “What has cemented that belief comes from the countless testimonies of its benefits and what we have seen and experienced ourselves.”
Bakker and his show are among numerous companies and salespeople around the world promoting faulty, ineffective or even dangerous coronavirus fixes or mitigation products, ranging from skin-searing hand sanitizer to bootleg alcohol. The World Health Organization has had to warn against eating garlic soup, gargling saltwater or drinking a “miracle mineral supplement” containing chlorine — promoted on Twitter by a QAnon supporter.
On Monday, the FDA and FTC called out seven companies, including Bakker’s, for peddling fake coronavirus cures or using the disease to promote products. “Simply type ‘Corona’ in the code box to save immediately,” one company peddling oils, Guru Nanda, said on its website, the FDA revealed Monday.
Other homemade products have had disastrous consequences — in some cases deadly.
In New Jersey, a 7-Eleven clerk was arrested Tuesday and charged with endangering the welfare of a child after selling pink “spray sanitizer” in nondescript bottles — which ended up burning the skin of four boys who bought it, police said.
In Iran, 44 people have died of alcohol poisoning, hundreds have been hospitalized and seven bootleggers have been arrested after serving up toxic drinks mixed with methanol that consumers were led to believe would keep them safe from coronavirus, USA Today reported. In Khuzestan province, more people have died of alcohol poisoning than of coronavirus, state media reported.