New York State attorney general Letitia James has ordered right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to stop making misleading claims about supposed coronavirus cures sold on his website, InfoWars.
The attorney general’s office “is extremely concerned” about Jones hawking these products on his online show, it said in a cease-and-desist letter dated March 12. The products include a “nano-silver” toothpaste, which Jones said “kills the whole SARS-corona family at point-blank range.” There is no medical evidence behind these claims. In fact, the Federal Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health say colloidal silver is not safe to use and can even cause argyria, a bluish-gray skin discoloration that’s typically permanent.
“As the coronavirus continues to pose serious risks to public health, Alex Jones has spewed outright lies and has profited off of New Yorkers’ anxieties,” said Attorney General James in a statement. Such misrepresentations are illegal, according to New York law.
Jones opened his March 7 show by saying that the coronavirus is “synthetic and man-made” and “clearly a globalist ChiCom [Chinese Communist] plot.” In the past, he has also claimed that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 26 dead was a staged hoax.
InfoWars was not immediately available for comment. A product on the InfoWars page that contains SilverSol, one of the fake coronavirus cures, has a disclaimer on the purchase page, but it’s not clear when the note was added: “The products on this page are NOT treatments for any disease. They are not for use in the cure, treatment, prevention, or mitigation of any disease.” But one of the colloidal silver products is still advertised on the InfoWars website with a massive banner.
InfoWars has long sold alternative medicine products, claiming miraculous health benefits. And many others are trying to cash in on the public health crisis by selling colloidal silver products and other fake cures. The state of Missouri sued televangelist Jim Bakker for peddling SilverSol products as a coronavirus medication, and the FDA sent warning letters last week to seven companies that were making similar claims.
Misleading and false statements about the coronavirus have flooded social media in recent weeks, making it all the more crucial to only trust credible sources like the World Health Organization and country-specific public health departments like the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.