A LOT has happened in the world since Gwyneth Paltrow and the jade vagina eggs were a *thing* on the internet. But in what must amount to big news for the vagina-healing egg industry, Goop has now agreed to settle with California prosecutors over allegations that the lifestyle giant made claims about its products that were not scientifically legit.
On Tuesday, Goop Inc. agreed to pay $145,000 in civil penalties in a consumer protection lawsuit brought by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office and nine other California prosecutors over "unsupported attributes for Goop’s Jade Egg, Rose Quartz Egg, and Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend."
The district attorneys had argued that Paltrow’s "wellness empire sold
a series of women’s health products whose advertised medical claims were not supported by competent and reliable science."
In addition to the settlement, the company agreed to refund customers who purchased the products and to stop advertising the products as a remedy for health ailments.
"The health and money of Santa Clara County residents should never be put at risk by misleading advertising," Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. "We will vigilantly protect consumers against companies that promise health benefits without the support of good science…or any science."
In a statement Tuesday, Goop said that though it disagreed with the prosecutors' claims, and has admitted no wrongdoing, it entered the settlement in order to resolve the suit "quickly and amicably."
"Goop provides a forum for practitioners to present their views and experiences with various products like the jade egg. The law, though, sometimes views statements like this as advertising claims, which are subject to various legal requirements," Erica Moore, Goop's chief financial officer, said in the statement. "The Task Force assisted us in applying those laws to the content we published, and we appreciate their guidance in this matter as we move from a pioneer in this space to an established wellness authority."
The suit, filed Friday, follows a proliferation of criticism from medical experts and high-level officials arguing that Goop's claims about its pricey health and wellness products had no real scientific backing and are potentially dangerous.
Prosecutors in California were spurred on by a complaint from Truth in Advertising, a watchdog group that investigated Goop's marketing last summer, and found at least 50 instances in which the company claimed products sold on its site could "treat, cure, prevent, alleviate the symptoms" of a range of health issues, including anxiety, depression, infertility, and arthritis.
The suit specifically took issue with the now-infamous rose quartz and jade eggs, which Goop instructed women to stick up their vaginas to help "increase sexual energy," tone "vaginal muscles," balance hormones, and increase bladder control. The eggs, which are still sold on the site, cost $55 and $66 and you can apparently recharge them with the energy of the full moon.
The products and their claimed benefits caused quite the commotion on the interwebs when Goop began selling them last year, compelling doctors and medical professionals to beg women not to actually stick the stones up their vaginas.
Along with the vaginal eggs, the California prosecutors cited Goop for claiming that a $22 essential oils mixture called the Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend sold on its site could prevent depression.
As of Tuesday, the site still advertised that the oil blend will "help prevent ‘shame spirals’ downward toward depressive states."
Despite the outcry — and mockery — over its questionable marketing claims, Goop has continued to dominate the health and wellness scene since it burst into being and changed our lives forever in 2008. It recently opened a store in Los Angeles and hosted its second health summit. The company has raised $75 million in venture capital funds since 2015 and is now selling its own branded line of dietary supplements.
Goop "prides itself on being a leader in the health and wellness industry and will continue its efforts to provide helpful and accurate information about a variety of products," the company said in its statement Tuesday.
The company also announced that it will be introducing a new "wellness portal" that it said will be run by "experienced nutritional science researchers, product safety experts and traditional Chinese medicine doctors."
"Goop appreciates the efforts of the Task Force to protect consumers and is pleased to put this matter behind it," the statement said.