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Goop contributor Kelly Brogan peddles 'nonsense' conspiracy theories about coronavirus, cites 5G and vaccine companies as real causes

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 25/03/2020 Megan C. Hills
a close up of a woman © Provided by Evening Standard

Although Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle website Goop has been careful in its coronavirus coverage - citing World Health Organisation guidelines - one of the site's contributors has deviated from its policy, touting unfounded conspiracy theories blaming 5G and vaccine companies that have been slammed by experts as "nonsense."

Holistic healer Kelly Brogan, who has written pieces for Goop in the past, peddled conspiracy theories that there is “potentially no such thing as the coronavirus”, despite a wealth of scientific evidence otherwise.

Experts have since called her assertion a "scourge of scientific quackery" and warned that she is a "very, very dangerous fantasist."

Brogan, who is also a psychiatrist and anti-vaxxer, claimed the increase in deaths is instead “likely being accelerated by fear itself” and also promoted false conspiracy theories that the pandemic is a cover-up for the roll-out of 5G or a power play by vaccine companies. She cited a video that was taken down by Facebook for spreading false information (there is no proof that 5G is detrimental to health.)

Brogan, who called the surge in deaths due to coronavirus the “phrase du jour” and said it was “silly” to “villainise” the coronavirus, also claimed that the pandemic was an effort by vaccine companies and members of the elite to gain financial power.

a passenger bus that is sitting on a subway train: (AFP via Getty Images) © Provided by Evening Standard (AFP via Getty Images)

When reached for a comment by the Daily Beast, Goop declined to comment and said, "We would suggest reaching out to Dr. Brogan directly as she didn’t make those comments on goop’s platform."

There is no scientific basis for any of Brogan’s claims. Speaking to the Daily Beast, British pharmacologist David Colquhoun said, "She’s a very, very dangerous fantasist. I wonder whether she takes antibiotics if she gets a bacterial infection?"

The deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer, a publication that critically examines fringe science claims similar to those that Brogan made, also weighed in. Benjamin Radford told the Daily Beast, "There’s always been this sort of populist appeal by people who reject science, and that’s exactly what’s going on here."

a woman walking down a street: (PA) © Provided by Evening Standard (PA)

"Unfortunately, outbreaks like this are exactly the wrong time to bring these things up because...they divert people from legitimate evidence-based treatments," he continued.

In the space of one day, the number of coronavirus deaths in the UK jumped from 335 to 422 while the University of Oxford researchers claimed today that over half of the population may be infected.

Brogan shared her conspiracy theories in a video titled What is Going On? which has had over 41,000 views.

In it, she claimed she had been “liberated from the concept” of “germ based contagion” - though did say she had “no idea how that happened.”

Calling herself a “myth buster”, she claimed that coronavirus did not pass the “sniff test” for her and was “looking for a new story that feels better for me.”

She said, “With this concept of contagion is it possible to really step back and say hold on a minute, you know, is this proven as fact for me right? Am I convinced that this is actually true? That there are little invisible pathogens you know that randomly jump around from person to person and have the capacity to really harm and injure and even kill?”

Saying that she had “compassion” for those who “feel a bit stuck in the assumption around infection and contagion”, she laughed as she described the description of the coronavirus pandemic - as well as the global call for self-isolation and vigilant hand washing to help contain the spread of the deadly disease.

a person walking down a street: (AFP via Getty Images) © Provided by Evening Standard (AFP via Getty Images)

Instead, she cited “other narratives” that this was a hoax that had a “financial, economic underpinning” and claimed, “The collapse of the economy is being orchestrated for the reorganisation in the hands of the elite.”

Citing Italy, which has been devastated by the pandemic, she also said that this pandemic was a “show of force, particularly in dissident nations like Italy where there were massive protests around recent mandates, and that people need to be put in their place.” She continued, “How else to show people who’s really in charge but to strip them of all social and civil liberties virtually overnight?”

Italy has the third highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world and as of yesterday, the death toll in Italy rose to 6,820 - jumping 720 in the space of 24 hours. Over 17,100 people have died globally of coronavirus according to John Hopkins University.

a group of people standing in a room: Doctors in Lombardy work out of a temporary emergency patient triage tent (AFP via Getty Images) © Provided by Evening Standard Doctors in Lombardy work out of a temporary emergency patient triage tent (AFP via Getty Images)

Saying there were other (false) theories that “literally suggest there is no such thing as the coronavirus”, she also claimed that it was “not possible to prove that any given pathogen has induced death.”

She falsely claimed, “This term, this phrase du jour, is just being put on these, you know, deaths that are likely being accelerated by the fear itself and I’m sure you understand that, the role of fear in all this.”

Brogan also revealed in her video that she was a victim of "Google censorship."

Google, as with other digital companies such as Facebook, has a policy that targets fake news and misinformation - two things that are spreading rapidly as a result of the pandemic.

Gwyneth Paltrow wearing a red dress: Gwyneth Paltrow (Getty Images) © Provided by Evening Standard Gwyneth Paltrow (Getty Images)

Brogan has been interviewed as an expert for Goop in articles including how to process emotional pain, which saw her promote something called "morphic resonance" alongside meditation, Kundalini yoga and developing an "adult conscious" to deal with negative emotion.

For accurate up to date information on coronavirus, the NHS has a dedicated guide to the illness as well as a list of precautions to take to protect yourself and others.

In a speech to the nation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson also declared coronavirus a “national emergency” and told the public “you must stay at home” for at least the next three weeks to help contain the spread of coronavirus and alleviate stress on the healthcare system.

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