Netflix is about to land itself in a pile of steaming Goop
Gwyneth swops showbiz for snake oil, sold on-stream
The world’s most glamorous, Oscar-winning purveyor of pseudoscience and the world’s most happily indifferent creator of hugely profitable popular entertainment walk into a juice bar. The result? Not a bad joke just yet but seemingly the beginning of a beautiful if frightening friendship that scientists are not taking lightly. That’s after it was announced that Gwyneth Paltrow’s multimillion-dollar alternative therapy company and champion of jade vagina eggs, Goop, has signed a deal for a series with Netflix. According to The Guardian the as yet untitled documentary series will be hosted by Paltrow and Goop’s chief content officer, Elise Loehnen. The episodes “will reportedly feature doctors, researchers and alternative health practitioners, and other experts on topics of interest to the Goop community”.
Since its inception as a Paltrow health and wellness newsletter in 2008, Goop has grown to become a wellness-product-punting business worth an estimated $250m.
It has earned criticism for promoting products that only Paltrow and her celebrity friends can realistically hope to afford. The Guardian reports that: “Current Goop advice includes exploring the benefits of massaging $85 ayurvedic oils between your toes to shake off the winter blues, swallowing parasites to cure autoimmune diseases, and why one of the must-have essentials for a romantic weekend away is a $3,490 sex toy made out of gold.”
The announcement has been met with scepticism by scientists and doctors, many of whom, according to The Daily Beast, are “aghast that the world’s largest streaming service might give her pseudoscience a powerful platform”.
Dr Robert O’Conno of the Irish Cancer Society asked how Netflix could “give a platform to an organisation and person so globally recognised for promoting misleading, exploitative and harmful wellness woo”. Woo? Yes, woo.
Xeno Rasmusson, associate professor of gerontology at California University, said Goop “sell many supplements and other products with limited evidence of effectiveness, or some products just seem overindulgent and not realistic for most women. To me, Goop is adding to the dumbing down of our society, and Netflix should think carefully about how much of a voice they want to give them.”
Goop has attempted to alleviate the concerns of the medical and scientific profession by assuring that their “science and research team is very involved in the show”.
That may be but we’ll have to wait and see whether the final show, expected to air later this year, will have anything to do with science or just end up being a fancy version of the shopping channel, selling vagina eggs, charcoal toothbrushes and expensive meditation retreats. Either way, Paltrow’s conscious coupling with the streaming service is sure to add plenty of dollars to Goop’s bank account.