A series of ads featuring celebrities purportedly extolling the benefits of CBD has been flooding the internet, leaving consumers and fans to figure out which testimonials are bogus and which are legitimate.
Last month, Mayim Bialik, the recently-named replacement host for the game show “Jeopardy” and alumnus of the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” took to social media to announce an ad with her name and likeness was produced without her permission.
“So … awkward,” Bialik wrote in a message she posted to Instagram and other platforms. “There are many untrue things floating around the internet about many public figures, but I want to address one about me that looks very authentic but is indeed a hoax.”
The actor was reacting to internet ads and social media accounts bearing her name and image. One Facebook account claims that “Mayim Bialik CBD Gummies is a fantastic product to get relief from tension, stress and anxiety, depression, persistent discomfort, arthritis pain, irregularity, and different other issues. You can consume easily to get a remedy for smoking and insomnia.”
The post links to a website where consumers can purchase CBD gummies labeled with the Smilz brand name for an undisclosed price, according to a report from Page Six.
In her message posted on March 21, the real Bialik clarified that “I am not selling CBD Gummies of any kind and do not plan to do so at any point in the future.”
She also said that efforts to have the posts taken down have so far not been successful.
“I have tried to get this removed to no avail,” she wrote. “It’s not real.”
The ads had apparently already drawn the attention of some of Bialik’s social media followers. Some fans even posted that they had also tried to have the phony posts taken down by the social media giant Facebook without success.
“FB feed is currently flooded with ‘sponsored’ ads claiming it’s true,” the follower wrote in a comment to Bialik’s post. “Been reporting all of them as False News and scams, but you may have to take legal action against FB, since they’re raking in the cash by selling ad space to spam and malware sites.”
Phony CBD Ads and Endorsements Abound
Only this month, another bogus campaign tied professional golfer Tiger Woods’ name to CBD gummies. Just as the PGA star was making a dramatic return to the Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club, several social media accounts and bogus reviews were posted to market a product supposedly named Tiger Woods CBD Gummies. Those posts led to pitches for products by Smilz CBD Gummies and Eagle Hemp CBD Gummies, Snopes reported.
Using fake celebrity endorsements to sell CBD products is not a new phenomenon, with instances of the unscrupulous marketing tactic going back years. In July 2019, Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks tweeted a photograph of an ad in which he purportedly gave his seal of approval to a CBD company listed as Cali Naturals. Only six months later, Hanks shared a similar ad touting Cannapro CBD, this time crediting advances in the CBD industry to Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Other reports have debunked ads for CBD products with bogus endorsements from other celebrities including actor Kevin Costner, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the wealthy hosts of the popular reality series “Shark Tank,” and Phil McGraw, the host of the talk show “Dr. Phil.”
Of course, not all CBD products endorsed by celebrities are bogus. Former NFL star Ricky Williams, soccer phenom Megan Rapinoe, Tommy Chong, Willie Nelson and drummer Travis Barker, among others, all have an interest in legitimate CBD companies that are providing authentic products.
So what’s the lesson? As usual, it’s up to consumers to protect their pocketbooks and their personal information. To be safe, the best bet is to skip clicking on ads or social media posts and only place orders with companies that have been vetted with a little research.