Fake Ad Wrongly Associates Sanjay Gupta With CBD Gum Line

The claim: Sanjay Gupta has launched a new line of CBD gummies

Online ads using celebrity names to promote fake cannabis products have become a popular form of social media misinformation, with the latest iteration targeting CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr Sanjay Gupta.

“Big Phrama Angry With Sanjay Gupta’s Latest Business Venture – He’s Fighting Back With This!” reads the headline of a Jan. 18 post that was shared on Facebook in a post that racked up more than 100 reactions in one day.

The article, allegedly written by CNN’s Maggie Fox and Elizabeth Cohen, claims Gupta “swept the headlines” after revealing its new line of CBD gummies on live TV. The post includes supposed quotes about the product from Gupta and celebrities Tom Hanks, Randy Jackson, Drew Carrey and Halle Berry.

“FunDrops CBD Gummies is the product of thousands of hours of research and development,” according to the article, according to Gupta. “I wouldn’t talk about something on air that I don’t believe in and give to my family.”

But there is no evidence that Gupta made those comments or launched a line of CBD gummies. The claim has already been debunked and the article is one of many fake cannabis advertisements circulating online.

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The Facebook page that shared the post did not return a request for comment.

The ad is a hoax

The advertisement misleads by appearing as if published by CNN, but no such headline exists on the network’s website.

Neel Khairzada, publicist for Gupta, and Matt Dornic, head of strategic communications for CNN Worldwide, both told USA TODAY via email that the article was false.

The hyperlinks included in the article along with the “CNN Health” logo in the upper corner of the site direct readers to numerous websites promoting CBD gummies.

Gupta has previously spoken about the benefits of medical marijuana, and in an October 2019 CNN article, he warned about the authenticity and safety of some CBD products. But he never revealed his own cannabis line.

Fact check:Chris Wallace’s CNN+ show hasn’t started yet

Other celebrities mentioned in the article have previously criticized fake CBD ads using their names.

In January 2020, Hanks shared a fabricated quote promoting cannabis products, writing that he “would never do such an endorsement.” He made a similar comment in July 2019 on Twitter.

CBD promotions featuring “Shark Tank” investors, Fox News hosts Reba McEntire and various other celebrities have already been debunked by fact-checking organizations.

Our opinion: False

Based on our research, we rate the claim that Gupta has launched a new line of CBD gummies FALSE. A CNN spokesperson and publicist for Gupta said the ad was inauthentic. There is no evidence that Gupta is associated with any CBD gummy line or that he made the quotes attributed to him. Similar CBD ads using celebrity names have already been debunked.

Our fact-checking sources:

  • PolitiFact, January 10, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta is alive, but he’s not selling CBD gummies
  • Matt Dornic, January 18, email exchange with USA TODAY
  • Neel Khairzada, January 18, email exchange with USA TODAY
  • CNN, October 11, 2019, Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Medical Marijuana: We’re in a time of wisdom, but also a time of madness
  • CNN, August 8, 2013, Why I changed my mind about weed
  • Tom Hanks, January 21, 2020, Instagram post
  • Tom Hanks, July 10, 2019, Tweeter
  • USA TODAY, July 29, 2021, Fact Check: CBD gummies in ad have no connection to ‘Shark Tank’ investors or competitors
  • FactCheck.org, August 20, 2021, Facebook fake stories use Fox News hosts to mow down questionable CBD products
  • Lead Stories, December 13, 2021, Fact Check: Reba McEntire Did NOT Endorse CBD Gummies in August Video – She was talking about COVID
  • Lead Stories, December 2, 2021, Fact Check: Celebrity Photos and Names Used in Fraudulent Facebook Ads

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