As all fairy tales go, the villain must pay. The RFT’s
own 2020 Villain of the Year
, televangelist Jim Bakker, has agreed to pay $156,000 in restitution to settle a lawsuit that accused Bakker of falsely claiming Silver Solution, a health supplement, was a cure for COVID-19.
Bakker is also banned from advertising or selling Silver Solution “to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure any disease or illness.”
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed the lawsuit against Bakker and Morningside Church Productions in March 2020
. The suit noted that eleven episodes of Bakker’s TV program, The Jim Bakker Show
, contained claims Silver Solution could cure or treat the coronavirus.
Bakker offered Silver Solution in exchange for contributions of $80 to $125, the court found.
In the lawsuit, a discussion on the show between Bakker and a "naturopathic doctor" named Sherill Sellman was cited. Bakker asks if Silver Solution would be effective in combating COVID-19, and Sellman replies: “Well, let’s say it hasn’t been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it has been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within twelve hours. Totally eliminate it, kills it. Deactivates it.” Bakker responded to the claims with a simple “Yeah.”
Bakker was defended by former Gov. Jay Nixon, who had filed to dismiss the motion in May of 2020. Nixon told St. Louis Public Radio
the same month that “Pastor Bakker was engaged in a religious practice and speech during this show, as he is in his daily shows out of Blue Eye, Missouri.” He explained that because of this, the government had to “tread carefully to curtail [Bakker’s] actions.”
Missouri court records show Bakker had already begun refunding customers, which Schmitt acknowledged in a press release. The refund checks will be sent to those who made a purchase of Silver Solution between Feb. 12, 2020, and March 10, 2020 — the same time period in which Bakker aired the episodes claiming the solution cured coronavirus. Customers should see a refund check no later than 30 days after the execution of the consent judgement, Schmitt said in his press release.
In the consent judgement, Bakker denies any wrongdoing.
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