NEW YORK (The Charlotte Observer) - A product recently featured by televangelist Jim Bakker on his TV show has some falsely thinking there’s a cure for COVID-19 and New York’s attorney general wants it to stop.
Bakker, who went to federal prison for fraud and whose PTL empire near Charlotte crumbled amid sex and financial scandals in the late ‘80s, hosts “The Jim Bakker Show” with his wife Lori. At times, he’s warned viewers that the end of the world is imminent and he sells freeze-dried foods, along with other goods and books, on his show’s website.
On a recent show, one of Bakker’s guests said a product being sold - Silver Solution - had been tested on older strains of the coronavirus and found to “eliminate it within 12 hours,” according to a cease and desist letter sent to Bakker from New York’s Attorney General’s Office.
The attorney general of New York argues that’s a misleading marketing claim that could leave viewers believing Silver Solution is a protection “against the current outbreak.”
“Your show is hereby advised to immediately cease and desist from making misleading claims regarding the Silver Solution’s effectiveness as they violate New York’s consumer protection statutes,” an official with the attorney general ‘s office wrote in Tuesday’s order to Bakker. The statutes “prohibit fraudulent and deceptive business practices and false advertising.”
In a statement posted online, the show defends the Silver Solution product. The statement quotes the CEO of the company that makes the product as claiming studies confirm its “strong antiviral effect against the SARS Coronavirus.” Bakker’s show labels the product as an “all natural” solution that boosts the immune system.
However, the AG’s office says the product — sold as a gel and liquid — and the claims about its health benefits haven’t been tested by the Food and Drug Administration. The recent cease and desist letter tells Bakker he should affix a disclaimer about the lack of FDA sign-off to all Silver Solution products listed in the show’s online store.
As of Friday, a disclaimer had been added to the products but it’s not clear when that statement first appeared.
The numerous listed product offers on Bakker’s website include 16-ounce bottles of Silver Solution Liquid for $40; four 4-ounce Silver Gel tubes for $80; and a Silver Starter Kit with various Silver Solution products for $125.
CORONAVIRUS HAS NO CURE
“There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19),” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of Friday late afternoon, according to the CDC, 164 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the U.S. and there have been 11 deaths from the disease.
Two North Carolinians have been diagnosed with the virus — men from Wake and Chatham counties, The (Raleigh) News & Observer reported. One likely was exposed at a long-term care facility in Kirkland, Wash., the site of an outbreak, and the other while traveling in an outbreak area in Italy, officials have said.
JIM BAKKER’S PTL
Bakker and then-wife Tammy Faye Bakker rose to fame on “The PTL Club” television show they hosted in the 1970s and ‘80s. They also built a Christian theme park, called Heritage USA, in Fort Mill, S.C., which attracted millions of people each year.
Their ministry fell apart in 1987, amid revelations of hush money being paid after Jim Bakker had a 15-minute tryst with young church secretary Jessica Hahn. PTL-related fraud later put Jim Bakker in federal prison for nearly five years. Tammy Faye died in 2007.