News

Dr. Oz Is Not Dead, Nor Did He Endorse Smilz CBD Gummies

Text messages with the words "America mourns Dr. Oz" falsely claimed that the Republican political candidate was dead and that he had endorsed Smilz CBD Gummies.

Published Apr 7, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Dr. Mehmet Oz is seen on February 12, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by JOCE/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images) (JOCE/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Dr. Mehmet Oz is seen on February 12, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JOCE/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

Dr. Oz is alive and is not dead. The reason we're telling you this is that a death hoax is going around in text messages with wording such as "America mourns Dr. Oz." These texts include a link to a Smilz CBD Gummies scam or other fraudulent CBD product page that falsely claims that Mehmet Oz, Dr. Phil McGraw, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, as well as actor Sam Elliott and country music star Garth Brooks, all endorsed the product.

Scammy Texts

"Why did I get a spam text that Dr. Oz was dead lmao," one Twitter user tweeted. (The message can be seen by expanding the image below.)

"Dr. Oz is dead???? Who is texting me this," another person posted.

Facebook users also discussed receiving the text messages that led to the Smilz CBD Gummies landing page. One person said, "I keep getting IMs saying that Dr. Oz is dead. He isn't dead, he just became a Republican politician."

Again, Oz is alive. He recently announced his candidacy as a Republican for the U.S. Senate in the state of Pennsylvania.

We reviewed another text message mentioning Oz that also led to the Smilz CBD Gummies page. It said, "Hi! This Doctor Oz article will change your life." (It won't.)

Oz and McGraw Addressed the Scams

In the past, Oz and McGraw, better known as "Dr. Phil," both addressed the unauthorized usage of their image and likeness. In February 2021, both talk show hosts aired episodes dedicated to informing viewers about the CBD oil and gummies scams. The relevant portion is shown in the video below beginning at the 1:38 mark.

During the episode of "Dr. Phil," McGraw asked Oz about the scam page that users were sent to after clicking links in ads and text messages. Oz answered, "I've never sold a CBD product, and shockingly, there's not a single fact in the document you just read that was truthful." McGraw also indicated that he had not endorsed any such products.

The reason why the "Dr. Oz is dead" claim was tied in with the scammy Smilz CBD Gummies product page was because the death hoax provided the misleading bait to lead users to the fake product endorsement.

In 2018, Gupta also addressed the false claim that he had endorsed a CBD oil or gummies product, likely for a product different than Smilz CBD Gummies. "No, I have not launched a line of CBD products," he tweeted.

In January of this year, USA Today also reported that the claim about Gupta endorsing CBD gummies was false. Additionally, PolitiFact published that a death hoax about Gupta much like the one involving Oz had also made the rounds in order to entice users to click the link in ads and texts.

Other Celebrities Targeted by CBD Scams

We previously reported on other celebrities who had been featured in CBD oil and gummies scams. Many of these scams followed the same pattern of using a death hoax as bait. For example, one such scam was advertised on Facebook that falsely claimed actor Whoopi Goldberg had died. That ad led to a scam page for Botanical Farms CBD Gummies that claimed Oprah Winfrey had endorsed the product. This was all false.

A Whoopi Goldberg death hoax was advertised on Facebook that led to a CBD product line endorsement which included Oprah Winfrey and other celebrities.
It's unclear how much money was being spent on the ads.

"Jeopardy" hosts Alex Trebek and Mayim Bialik have been targeted by CBD scams, as has country music star Blake Shelton, and actors Keanu Reeves and Tom Selleck. Within these scams were other fake endorsements from celebrities, including Drew Carey, Tom Hanks, Randy Jackson, and Halle Berry, to name a few.

In the past, Hanks, Bialik, and other celebrities debunked these sorts of fake CBD oil and gummies endorsements with posts on social media. "This is false and an intentional hoax," Hanks wrote. "I’ve never said this and would never make such an endorsement. Come on, man! Hanx!"

The origins of the text messages about Oz supposedly being dead are unclear. It's also unknown who pushed the unauthorized celebrity endorsements of Oz, McGraw, and Gupta for Smilz CBD Gummies.

However, again, to be completely clear, Oz is alive and is not dead. This story will updated if we learn more about this scam.


Sources:

Czopek, Madison. “CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta Is Alive, but He’s Not Selling CBD Gummies.” PolitiFact, 10 Jan. 2022, https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/jan/10/facebook-posts/cnns-dr-sanjay-gupta-alive-hes-not-selling-cbd-gum/.

Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz Fight Scammers (Part 1). Dr. Phil, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-c-f3EFH6w. Levy, Marc.

“No Notes, Same Logo: Dr. Oz’s Campaign Is like His TV Show.” AP News, 26 Feb. 2022, https://apnews.com/article/entertainment-sports-arts-and-entertainment-pennsylvania-celebrity-3155d56a4f5d4e633ab2bac379ffa5d3. Sadeghi, McKenzie.

“Fact Check: Fake Advertisement Falsely Claims Sanjay Gupta Launched New CBD Gummy Line.” USA TODAY, 19 Jan. 2022, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2022/01/19/fact-check-fake-ad-falsely-links-sanjay-gupta-cbd-gummy-line/6563741001/.

Jordan Liles is a Snopes reporter with expertise in investigating misinformation, inauthentic social media activity, and scams.

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