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Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

This guide will be continuously updated. If you spot a coronavirus-related health scam or grift, please feel free to email Media Matters.

Numerous media figures and outlets, especially in the right-wing media, have been profiteering off of the coronavirus pandemic by promoting health grifts and scams, including supposed coronavirus treatments, preventatives, and cures.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that "there is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus."

Various government agencies at the federal and state levels have sent warning letters to companies and individuals who have been hawking purported coronavirus cures.



Colloidal silver is among the most commonly touted fake coronavirus cures and treatments. The National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health explains that "colloidal silver consists of tiny silver particles in a liquid that is sometimes promoted on the Internet as a dietary supplement. However, evidence supporting health-related claims is lacking. In fact, colloidal silver can be dangerous to your health."

This guide includes the following personalities and media-related companies:

Alex Jones

Jones is a conspiracy theorist who heads Infowars and an eponymous show. He has been selling bulk food at inflated prices and also hawking a variety of supplements as coronavirus cures and preventatives, including a colloidal silver toothpaste and zinc supplements.

The Food and Drug Administration sent Jones an April 9 warning letter demanding that he stop selling his products as coronavirus preventatives. New York Attorney General Letitia James has also told him to "immediately cease and desist selling and marketing products as a treatment or cure for the coronavirus" after Jones promoted his silver toothpaste.

Alex Jones' Infowars is attempting to profit from the coronavirus outbreak (2/29)

Alex Jones is hawking his supplements as "literally a stopgap" against coronavirus (3/10)

Alex Jones is telling his viewers that the toothpaste he sells kills coronavirus (3/11)

Infowars guest host tells people to buy their products to protect themselves from coronavirus (3/16)

Alex Jones won't stop suggesting the supplements he sells provide a benefit against the novel coronavirus (3/26)

FDA tells Alex Jones to stop violating federal law by selling products as coronavirus aides (4/9)

Jim Bakker

Bakker is a disgraced scam artist who leads the PTL Television Network. He has heavily promoted products related to his doomsday prophecies and recently, as Right Wing Watch documented, attempted to sell a "silver solution" as a coronavirus cure.

The Food and Drug Administration, Federal Trade Commission, New York Attorney General Letitia James, and other government authorities have gone after Bakker for pushing his silver product.


Right Wing Watch: FDA and FTC Order Jim Bakker to 'Immediately Cease' Making False Claims That His Silver Solution Kills the Coronavirus (3/9)

Right Wing Watch: Jim Bakker Decries 'Warfare' That Has Forced Him to Stop Lying About His Silver Solution (3/24)

Wayne Allyn Root

Root is a columnist and host. He has endorsed an "alkaline structured silver" product from the company My Doctor Suggests, which advertises on his program, and he used his now-defunct Newsmax TV program to tout it for people who are concerned about COVID-19.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has ordered him "to immediately cease and desist from making misleading claims." Root lost his Las Vegas Review-Journal column due, in part, to his silver promotions.

Newsmax host Wayne Allyn Root endorses scammy silver product which can supposedly "kill" coronavirus and "save your life" (3/17)

New York AG calls on Newsmax's Wayne Allyn Root to "cease and desist from making misleading claims" regarding coronavirus and silver product (3/21)

Newsmax

Newsmax is a media company which produces an online publication, an array of subscription newsletters, and the cable channel Newsmax TV (which previously carried Root's program). Newsmax's health division has been trying to get subscriber money by selling a book claiming to offer "3 powerful secrets to never getting sick again," including ways to ward off the coronavirus. The outlet also emailed readers claiming that "the worst thing" they could do regarding the coronavirus outbreak is to "get a vaccine when it becomes available" because vaccines are supposedly "a scam."

Newsmax later distanced itself from the vaccine email, stating that "this marketing material was inadvertently published and it does not reflect the views of Newsmax."

Newsmax is telling its older-leaning audience to avoid a future coronavirus vaccine and instead give it money for something "far more effective" (3/10)

Newsmax says that if you give it money, you can learn "secrets" to "never getting sick," including from the coronavirus (3/13)

Steve Hotze

Hotze is an anti-LGBTQ Republican who heads a health and wellness center and has appeared on numerous programs to downplay the coronavirus, including on Fox News. Even though he has dismissed the threat of the virus, Holtze has used it to grift his audience by selling an expensive "Immune Pak" and has suggested that his vitamins could help "prevent" people from getting the coronavirus.

Right-wing media coronavirus expert is a QAnon supporter who suggested the "deep state" orchestrated the pandemic (3/25)

Balance of Nature and Kevin McCullough

Balance of Nature is a supplement company that heavily advertises on conservative radio programs and enlists radio hosts like Kevin McCullough, a conservative commentator with a New York radio show and a frequent guest on Fox News, to endorse its product. The supplement has been pitched to listeners as being the "only" and "best" defense against the virus, and also as a treatment against it when the first signs of symptoms occur.

A supplement company is using conservative radio to market itself as a coronavirus defense and treatment (4/1)

HoneyColony

HoneyColony is an online magazine and store headed by conspiracy theorist Maryam Henein. It has been trying to sell pricey colloidal silver products by falsely claiming that they can prevent the coronavirus. Its Facebook page, which includes false coronavirus treatment claims, has over 100,000 followers.

An online "health" magazine with over 100,000 Facebook followers is selling colloidal silver as a coronavirus preventative (4/3)

Dustin Nemos' RedPill Living

Dustin Nemos is a conspiracy theorist and grifter who co-wrote the book QAnon: An Invitation to The Great Awakening, which became a bestseller on Amazon last year. He started the online store RedPill Living, which featured a colloidal silver "super concentrate" that purported to treat and cure the coronavirus. The store went offline after Media Matters contacted e-commerce platform Shopify for comment.

A QAnon grifter was selling colloidal silver as a supposed coronavirus treatment and cure (4/8)

The Silver Edge

The Silver Edge is a colloidal silver company that is run by author and writer Steve Barwick. The company sells a "micro-particle colloidal silver generator" and has claimed that "colloidal silver beats coronavirus." New York Attorney General Letitia James sent Barwick a cease and desist order on March 11 regarding his deceptive practices and false advertising.

State of New York Office of the Attorney General: Re: Cease and Desist Notification (3/11)

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani

Photo by Gage Skidmore/ CC BY-SA 2.0

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

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