Netflix’s partnership with Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop is a big win for pseudoscience

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By Ani Bundel

Netflix is spending the first few months of 2019 continuing its quest to replace TV wholesale by expanding and diversifying its original programming, with an eye toward the 2020 election and beyond. With several competing streaming services launching in the next few years, more production houses are expected to pull their original programming from platforms like Netflix and Hulu.

In preparation for this, Netflix is attempting to beef up its own archive so the loss of shows like “Friends” and movies like “Black Panther” don’t cause a notable drop in viewership. But the news that Netflix would be partnering with Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle and “spiritual wellness” brand Goop raised more than a few eyebrows. Netflix has already been called out for leaning into pseudoscience before, but this may be a bridge too far.

Netflix has already been called out for leaning into pseudoscience before, but this may be a bridge too far.

Goop was founded back in 2008. According to the website, it was originally a “homespun” newsletter put together by Paltrow “out of [her] own kitchen,” touting “health-centric recipes” as part of the star’s transformation from an actress into a lifestyle brand. But even forgiving the faux-humble origin story — Paltrow was already an Oscar-winning, second-generation Hollywood A-lister who at the time was married to equally famous Coldplay frontman Chris Martin — Goop has always been a questionable enterprise.

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Paltrow’s website boasts that a week-long detox menu is one of her ten most popular posts ever read, as are stories on “flying better” and makeup products to stock up on the next time you’re in France. Her pop-up store in London sells everything from amethyst bottles (supposedly to give the water one drinks “positive energy”) to the famous (infamous?) Yoni Jade Egg. In the last couple of years, annual In Goop Health summits have attracted devotees more than happy to shell out $1500 for a ticket. This despite repeated debunkings of her brand’s health claims, and piece after piece arguing the nonsense she sells is nothing more than snake oil.

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