Goop doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to recommending alternative ~* wellness *~ treatments. The company has endorsed experts who claim that GMOs cause depression, bee-sting treatments that killed one woman, and sticking jade eggs up your vagina. And after many, many, many people have called out Goop’s dangerous and unsubstantiated recommendations, Gwyneth Paltrow says she’s finally hiring a full-time fact-checker for Goop.
In a long profile of Paltrow and Goop over at the New York Times Magazine, writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner reports that while all of the negative press about the site over the past few years may have generated some nice traffic, Paltrow has decided Goop needs some extra support:
After a few too many cultural firestorms, and with investors to think about, G.P. made some changes. Goop has hired a lawyer to vet all claims on the site. It hired an editor away from Condé Nast to run the magazine. It hired a man with a Ph.D. in nutritional science, and a director of science and research who is a former Stanford professor. And in September, Goop, sigh, is hiring a full-time fact-checker. G.P. chose to see it as “necessary growing pain.”
In other words, it seems like Goop is finally going to have to answer for its bullshit wellness claims. It’s also a big deal considering that Goop was originally supposed to make their magazine with Condé Nast and in partnership with Anna Wintour, but Paltrow reportedly backed out of the deal because of the journalistic constraints of the company like...fact-checking! “Goop wanted Goop magazine to be like the Goop website in another way: to allow the Goop family of doctors and healers to go unchallenged in their recommendations via the kinds of Q. and A.s published, and that just didn’t pass Condé Nast standards,” writes Akner. “Those standards require traditional backup for scientific claims, like double-blind, peer-reviewed studies.”
And whenever an outlet has criticized Goop for peddling information that’s false or could hurt people (such as when an advertising watchdog group accused the site of incorrectly claiming many of its products could cure depression, anxiety, and infertility, to name a few), Paltrow and her partner Elise Loehnen respond that they’re not making statements, they’re “just asking questions.” And it doesn’t hurt that the crazier the post, the more people visit the site, which Paltrow herself reportedly admitted to a class at Harvard:
“I can monetize those eyeballs,” she told the students. Goop had learned to do a special kind of dark art: to corral the vitriol of the internet and the ever-present shall we call it cultural ambivalence about G.P. herself and turn them into cash. It’s never clickbait, she told the class. “It’s a cultural firestorm when it’s about a woman’s vagina.” The room was silent. She then cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled, “VAGINA! VAGINA! VAGINA!” as if she were yodeling.
Keep yodeling Gwyneth, but now your yodels will have to be legally vetted.