Controversial televangelist Jim Bakker will pay $156,000 in restitution as part of a settlement agreement with the state of Missouri for promoting a fake cure for coronaviruses on his program.
In February 2020, “The Jim Bakker Show” featured a product known as Silver Solution in which a guest said it was able to cure certain coronaviruses.
On Tuesday, the state of Missouri and Bakker entered into a consent judgment in which Bakker’s ministry would pay $156,000 in restitution for selling the product on his show.
According to the order, signed by Associate Circuit Judge Alan Blankenship, Bakker has agreed to stop selling the product but also denied any wrongdoing in the matter.
Nevertheless, both parties agreed to the settlement “in order to avoid substantial expense and the uncertainties of further litigation.”
Restitution checks for those who purchased the Silver Solution from Bakker are scheduled to be mailed out within 30 days of the execution of the consent judgment.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a statement Wednesday that he was “pleased” with the settlement and the “strong safeguards to prevent the marketing of ‘silver solution’ as a cure or treatment for COVID and other medical issues.”
“My Office will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of Missouri consumers, and will not hesitate to take action when those consumers are being defrauded,” stated Schmitt.
On a Feb. 12, 2020, broadcast of “The Jim Bakker Show,” Bakker featured Dr. Sherrill Sellman, a regular guest, who said Silver Solution was effective against some coronaviruses.
“This influenza, which is now circling the globe, you’re saying that Silver Solution would be effective?” Bakker asked Sellman during the episode.
“Well,” replied Sellman, “let’s say it hasn’t been tested against this strain of the coronavirus, but it’s been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours.”
The Silver Solution was priced at over $80 on the show and was marketed on several episodes until March 2020, when the Missouri attorney general sued the program.
The Food and Drug Administration and the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James both sent cease and desist letters to Bakker in response to his promotion of Silver Solution.
“The 2019 novel coronavirus poses serious consequences to public health, and consumers are concerned as to how they can best protect themselves and their families,” wrote James last year.
“Your show’s segment may mislead consumers as to the effectiveness of the Silver Solution product in protecting against the current outbreak.”
Bakker was not without his supporters, as former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon decided to serve as an attorney for Bakker during the legal battle and filed a motion to dismiss.
“Jim Bakker is being unfairly targeted by those who want to crush his ministry and force his Christian television program off the air,” stated Nixon in May of last year.
“The video recording of the Jim Bakker Show clearly shows the allegations are false. Bakker did not claim or state that Silver Solution was a cure for COVID-19. This case is about religious freedom.”