New York Warns Televangelist Jim Bakker Over Virus Cure Claims
New York’s top law enforcement officer told televangelist Jim Bakker to stop making misleading claims about a product’s effectiveness as a treatment for coronavirus, saying there is no specific medicine available to prevent or cure the disease.
State Attorney General Letitia James sent a letter to Bakker earlier this week, noting that a guest on his February 12 show touted a dietary supplement called Silver Solution, which is sold on the show’s website. The guest said the product hadn’t been tested on the current coronavirus but had been found to eliminate similar viruses within 12 hours.
Silver Solution costs $300 for a dozen 16-ounce bottles.
“The 2019 novel coronavirus poses serious consequences to public health, and consumers are concerned as to how they can best protect themselves and their families,” James said in the letter. “Your show’s segment may mislead consumers as to the effectiveness of the Silver Solution product in protecting against the current outbreak.”
The letter also asked Bakker to affix a disclaimer to all Silver Solution products indicating that any statements about the product’s effectiveness have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
The Jim Bakker Show didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment on the letter.
Bakker and his wife Tammy Faye, who died in 2007, were household names in the 1980s, spreading the gospel though their PTL television ministry to 13.5 million homes and generating more than $120 million in annual revenue. Their now-defunct $200 million Heritage USA Christian resort and theme park in Fort Mill, South Carolina, attracted 6 million visitors a year, rivaling Disney World.
It all came tumbling down in March 1987 when Bakker resigned amid disclosures he had a sexual encounter with a former church secretary, Jessica Hahn, and that he authorized the use of $265,000 in ministry money to buy her silence. Bakker reemerged as a televangelist in 2003 with a new show airing on DirecTV and other providers.
In a press release Thursday, James also asked consumers to report incidents of price gouging.
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