A Complete History of Goop Being Awful
From the start, the idea that anyone needed to hear Gwyneth Paltrow’s take on how to live your life was pretty hilarious, but it also could have been harmless. After all, no one ever died from a vaginal-smelling candle unless it was used to hit them over the head or something (though it has caused plenty of property damage). But Goop has a long history of capitalizing on misinformation that goes way beyond vagina candles.
Goop’s first big controversy was Paltrow’s 2015 promotion of vaginal steaming, an Ancient Greek ritual that was actually intended to keep the uterus in place (you know how they like to go wandering around). But Paltrow claimed it “cleanses your uterus,” which it physically can’t do because steam can’t reach the uterus, but on the bright side, it does give you yeast infections and scald your labia.
Bee Sting Therapy
In 2016, Paltrow recommended bee sting therapy to “get rid of inflammation and scarring” and wrote that bee venom made an “old injury” of hers “disappear,” which is nice for her, but it’s a practice that totally kills people. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Technically, dying does tend to resolve injuries.
Goop is constantly harping on about the danger of aluminum and has even specifically warned against lipsticks containing it. There’s just one problem with that: In 2016, it was discovered that Goop also sold lipstick containing aluminum. Do as they say, not as they sell?
The Short-Lived Goop Magazine
In fall 2017, Condé Nast published the first issue of Goop Magazine, and by winter, they’d published their last. It turned out Condé Nast was kind of a stickler for little things like “fact-checking” and “ethics,” which Paltrow described as “very old school.”
In 2017, Goop sold $135 coffee enema kits to “supercharge” your “annual Goop detox,” which is a lot of money to spend on something that might do nothing or might bust open your ass and kill you. Maybe just throw it back the regular route.
Alongside Drew Barrymore and Meg Ryan on the speaker list for the second In Goop Health (ugh) summit in 2018 was Dr. Kelly Brogan, best known for claiming AIDS is all a big scam to sell expensive medicine, which is what actually kills AIDS patients. Brogan has since gone full alt-right COVID denialist, so good looking out, G.P.
The Medical Medium
At least Brogan has a degree. A person regularly featured on Goop who calls themselves the “Medical Medium,” which is unfortunately exactly what it sounds like, routinely doles out batshit medical advice and scams parents of dying children despite having no medical training, but it’s okay because a ghost tells him. No, really.
Goop’s promotion of jade eggs wasn’t just stupid, it was ruled legally irresponsible. In 2018, the company was forced to pay $145,000 and offer refunds to customers for making the “unscientific” claims that they balance hormones and increase sexual pleasure when they really just increase the risk of bacterial infection.
Rose Quartz Eggs
Also noted in the lawsuit were Goop’s claims that their rose quartz eggs “activate” your heart, whatever that means. Certainly, shoving a foreign object in your favorite orifice is one way to get your pulse racing, but you could also just think about anything you did in middle school.
Blending Your “Inner Judge”
Finally, the suit included complaints about a product called Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend, which Goop claimed “assists in the clearing of guilt, shame, self-criticism and blame.” Admittedly, that would be helpful after thinking about anything you did in middle school, but you can’t charge money for flowers that don’t actually do that.
“Leanest Livable Weight”
Goop came under only somewhat undeserving fire in 2019 when one of their “experts” advised readers to aim for their “leanest livable weight.” That sounds like “the thinnest you can be without literally dying,” but the article is mostly about the concept of “set ranges” everyone’s body tries to keep them at and why dieting doesn’t work, which is fine. Great, even. But they define “leanest livable weight” as the “low end of your set range,” which is supposedly achievable when you don’t diet or binge or exercise too much, without explaining how that wouldn’t put you right in the middle or why you even want to be at the low end except to fit into their billowy button-downs.
In 2020, Goop’s CCO, Elise Loehnen, ostensibly quit to write a book, but two years later, she revealed it was because she felt she had to step away from all the constant cleansing and detoxing and generally disordered eating encouraged by Goop’s “toxic” culture. Then she started hawking other people’s cleanses and anonymous sources claimed Loehnen was a “toxic manager” who was all but asked to leave, but really, when it comes to Goop, ask not for whom the toxins … do whatever toxins do.
Whatever the case, it definitely sounds like working at Goop is a nightmare dressed up in soothing soundscapes and salt lamps. Employees have complained of being paid up to 40% lower than industry standard, Paltrow’s hot and cold management style, and high turnover resulting from those things leading them to be forced to perform several jobs at once.
Exploding Vagina Candles
In 2021, Goop was hit with a class action lawsuit after at least two people reported that their “This Smells Like My Vagina” candles exploded and caused fires despite heeding the package’s suspiciously extensive warnings. Maybe the candles just got really excited?
Lie, ???, Profit
So why does Goop continue to be such a cesspool of misinformation after all this controversy? Because it sells. Paltrow has openly admitted that every time someone writes something bad about Goop, it drives traffic to the site, and she relishes the opportunity to “monetize those eyeballs.” Um… oops?
Top image: Andrea Raffin/Wikimedia Commons