Woopy goo

And speaking of medical woo – Newsweek points out (as Jen Gunter has pointed out) that Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop is featuring an HIV skeptic at a conference next month.

As Joanna Rothkopf reported for Jezebel, a doctor named Kelly Brogan, who will be featured in January’s Goop summit (a ticketed event run by Goop that includes panels with health professionals and other “trusted experts,” as the site refers to them), published a since-deleted blog post with false claims contradicting proven medical knowledge. In 2014, Brogan, a private-practice psychiatrist based in New York, called the idea that HIV is the cause of AIDS a “meme”—a fleeting cultural concept or catchphrase passed around the internet—rather than the established fact that health authorities worldwide consider it. “Drug toxicity associated with AIDS treatment may very well be what accounts for the majority of deaths,” Brogan wrote.

Asked about those statements in the blog post, which is still available here, in an interview with Newsweek, Brogan called the link between HIV and AIDS an “assumption.” That assertion directly contradicts medical knowledge; according to the National Institutes of Health, there is abundant evidence that HIV causes AIDS.

Yes but what is this word “evidence”? It’s all part of the Western conspiracy to poison everyone’s precious bodily fluids, innit. Not to mention their sacred yonis.

Brogan has also taken aim at antibiotics, which she has called a “sacrament of the patriarchy” rather than a life-saving intervention. When asked about her past statements on antibiotics, Brogan did not directly answer whether she believes they are medically beneficial.

Which would you prefer, a sacrament of the patriarchy, or your precious sacred right to die young of tuberculosis?

When it comes to Paltrow’s company, Brogan told Newsweek that she has “no formal relationship to Goop.” On the website for the forthcoming summit, Goop includes Brogan among a panel the site describes as “health-defining doctors, trusted experts, and more of the women (and men) who inspire us every day, together, in conversation—with you.” Goop could not be reached for comment by time of publication.

This is another one of those platform/no platform situations, isn’t it. That’s why the “no platform” label can be so tricky. Differences of opinion are one thing and pseudo-medical bullshit is another.

This is far from the first time Goop has come under fire for directly or indirectly encouraging practices that lack evidence. Not all its advice and information is wrong, but, as Vox points out, a “​small army” of people in the media and medicine spend a good deal of time trying to debunk claims made by the company. (Dr. Jen Gunter, a gynecologist who has taken Goop to task on several occasions, was responsible for alerting Jezebel to Brogan’s blog post on HIV/AIDS.)

It was via Jen Gunter on Twitter that I saw this. (Somehow after reading Luna on Facebook I had a yen for some Dr Jen tweets.)

Gwyneth Paltrow’s public statements about Goop have made such matters murkier. Paltrow, in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel last summer, appeared to have little idea what her company was selling. Paltrow laughed as Kimmel asked her question after question about everything from “earthing” (the Goop-promoted practice of walking around barefoot) to the infamous jade vagina eggs. Before making it clear that she herself did not practice many of the routines endorsed by Goop, Paltrow said of her own company: “I don’t know what the fuck we talk about.”

How responsible, how ethical.

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