Televangelist Jim Bakker is now being sued by the State of Arkansas after one of his TV show’s guests hawked a false COVID-19 cure earlier this year. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the lawsuit on Tuesday, and she’s going after Bakker, his ministry Morningside Church Productions, and Sherrill Sellman (the woman who said Silver Solution could cure COVID… which is a lie).
It’s not the first time this has happened.
Back in March, Bakker was called out by the state of New York, as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission, for selling the colloidal silver by making untrue claims about what it could do. Missouri’s Attorney General Eric Schmitt also sued Bakker’s ministry days later.
This all revolves around a segment that aired in mid-February:
The Jim Bakker Show is suggesting that the silver solution it sells can kill the coronavirus within 12 hours. pic.twitter.com/kbUGnUp69m
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) February 12, 2020
That wasn’t his show’s only claim about the silver. Bakker said the product could get rid of “all venereal diseases” and prevent SARS and HIV. He also said the silver is “almost like a miracle” and that “God created it in Heaven.”
Bakker’s legal team has responded to these lawsuits by saying selling the silver is merely an example of him exercising his religious freedom. Therefore any attempt to stop him is a form of Christian persecution. Last month, we found out he had a stroke and was taking a sabbatical from the show.
Anyway, back to Arkansas. Rutledge has the receipts.
“Jim Bakker has exploited Arkansas consumers by leveraging COVID-19 fears to sell over $60,000 worth of their products that do nothing to fight the virus,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Let me be clear, this case is not about freedom of religion. This is a consumer fraud case and I urge any Arkansans who have experience with these false advertisements claiming silver to be a COVID-19 cure to immediately call my office.”
Approximately 385 Arkansans made purchases from Bakker’s company totaling approximately $60,524 for colloidal silver products between January 1 and March 9, 2020.
The lawsuit also says that, while Bakker referred to Sellman as a doctor, “There is no evidence that Defendant Sellman is a medical doctor with training or experience in infectious diseases.”
Rutledge is asking anyone else who purchased Bakker’s products to contact her office.
I will admit: After Bakker’s long history of selling sham products designed to take money from his gullible audience, I did not think Silver Solution would be his downfall. But it’s been a pleasant surprise to see how seriously some law enforcement officials are taking it. Bakker shouldn’t be allowed to get away with consumer fraud just because he does it under the umbrella of spreading Christianity. The longer these lawsuits keep him from hurting his audience, the better.
(Thanks to Bob for the link. Portions of this article were posted earlier)