Gwyneth Paltrow's goop quickly settled a consumer protection suit accusing the lifestyle brand of unsubstantiated medical claims regarding its vaginal eggs and a flower essence for $145,000, a group of California prosecutors said.
"Goop made unsubstantiated claims about three products — the Jade Egg, Rose Quartz Egg, and Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend — that were not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence," a statement from the Orange County district attorney's office, one of the prosecutors involved, said.
"It's important to hold companies accountable for unsubstantiated claims, especially when the claims have the potential to affect women’s health" said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.
The California Food, Drug, and Medical Device Task Force filed a complaint on Friday, and was settled on Tuesday, according to court documents. In addition to Orange County, the task force is made up of prosecutors from the Alameda, Marin, Napa, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Sonoma, Solano, Shasta and Orange County District Attorney’s Offices. Goop is headquartered in Santa Monica in Los Angeles County.
The products targeted for allegedly misleading claims include eggs which are inserted into a woman's vagina. Goop features several editorial articles explaining the use of the eggs, which are sold on the site made of rose quartz for $55 or jade for $66.
"The strictly guarded secret of Chinese royalty in antiquity—queens and concubines used them to stay in shape for emperors — jade eggs were said to harness the power of energy work and crystal healing," the goop site article said as of Wednesday afternoon. "Jade eggs’ power to cleanse and clear make them ideal for spiritual detox."
Prosecutors took issue with previous claims the site made.
"Goop advertised that the Jade and Rose Quartz eggs could balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles, prevent uterine prolapse, and increase bladder control," the Orange County District Attorney's office said.
Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend also drew the Task Force's attention. Prosecutors say goop advertised the product as a dietary supplement that "could help prevent depression." The blend of essential oils costs $22 and is currently sold out on the site. Users are advised to apply drops on the tongue every five to 15 minutes, add it to "spring water" to sip on, or apply it externally to "acupuncture or marma points," according to the goop website.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the site described the Essence Blend as "a purifying organic floral blend that assists in the clearing of guilt, shame, self-criticism and blame" that can "help prevent 'shame spirals' downward toward depressive states."
When asked about the current claims, Napa County prosecutor Katy Yount told ABC she was told the product was no longer being sold. After checking with goop's lawyer, she later wrote in an email, "She told me that there is no live webpage for the essence product, only a cached page. They do not currently sell that product."
Under the terms of the settlement, goop did not admit wrongdoing, but agreed not to make any claims regarding its products "without possessing competent and reliable scientific evidence, and from manufacturing or selling any misbranded, unapproved, or falsely-advertised medical devices," the Orange County District Attorney's Office wrote.
In a written statement, the company wrote, "While goop believes there is an honest disagreement about these claims, the company wanted to settle this matter quickly and amicably. This settlement does not indicate any liability on goop’s part. While the company has not received any complaints regarding these product claims, it is happy to fully refund any goop customer who has purchased any of the challenged products.
“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," said Erica Moore, Chief Financial Officer of goop. “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."
"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. As part of these efforts, goop is excited to be introducing a new wellness portal, staffed by experienced nutritional science researchers, product safety experts and traditional Chinese medicine doctors," the statement said.
Customers who purchased the Jade Egg, Rose Quartz Egg, or the Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend on or between Jan. 12, 2017 and Aug. 31, 2017 are entitled to a full refund under the terms of the settlement. Customers can do so by emailing goop customer service at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-844-WTF-GOOP.