It wouldn't be an understatement to say that the internet has a big problem with health pseudoscience -- and not just mommy bloggers who think their own truth outweighs established medical fact. We're talking huge websites like Facebook and Amazon, which promote dangerous garbage for profit.
It now seems that Netflix also wants a slice of this pie. At least, that's what we're taking from the fact that they're reportedly in talks with Gwyneth Paltrow to turn her company Goop into a television show. Part lifestyle brand, part Infowars for moms, Goop bills itself as providing "cutting-edge wellness advice." How does translate into science? Well, look at it this way: The closest thing Goop has to peer review is an editor whose whole job is to make sure that none of the articles begin with "Dear suckers ..."
You know those clickbait ads that promise amazing secrets that your doctor/dermatologist/dentist doesn't want you to know? We'd much sooner follow the medical advice in one of those than anything Goop claims.
If Goop ever published an article advertising the health benefits of breathing, we'd stop immediately on the off chance there's something dangerous about it.
It's a bad website, is what we're saying.
This is the golden goose that Netflix reportedly wants to turn into a television show. There's no guarantee that it'll happen, but if it does, we're so screwed. As Saint Gwyneth described her vision: "What we are thinking of doing is a TV show with the working title 'The Radical Wellness Show.' I would be going into the field and talking to any number of doctors, scientists, civilians, people in crisis in Flint, Michigan, where there is something to uncover and confront about wellness. We would want it to feel more Vice-y in its vibe."
There's no getting away from the fact that putting Goop into the recommendations of over 137 million people is a very, very bad idea. In September, Goop was fined $145,000 for the numerous misleading claims it made while promoting those vajayjade eggs (including the lie that they could "balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles, prevent uterine prolapse, and increase bladder control"), while October saw the site referred to the British equivalent of the FTC for, among other things, recommending a natal product containing s**t-ton of Vitamin A, which is not recommended for pregnant mothers in s**t-ton quantities.
It's not as if we can rely on Netflix to rein in those crazy fact-free practices either, especially considering its own predilection for pseudoscience. The best thing we can hope for is that the project turns out exactly how Gwyneth hopes: just like Vice ... in that it winds up losing a ton of money. That's a harsh sentiment, maybe, but between Oprah and Dr. Phil, we don't need any more people peddling artisanal snake oil to innocent people.
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