Jim Bakker
Televangelist Jim Bakker leaves a funeral service for the Rev. Billy Graham in Charlotte, N.C., in 2018. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Jim Bakker and His Ministry Settle Lawsuit over COVID-19 Claims

By Associated Press

Jim Bakker and his southwestern Missouri ministry will pay restitution of $156,000 to settle a lawsuit that accuses the TV pastor of falsely claiming that a health supplement could cure the coronavirus.

Missouri court records show that a settlement agreement was filed Tuesday. It calls for refunds to people who paid money or gave contributions to obtain a product known as Silver Solution in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The settlement also prohibits Bakker and Morningside Church Productions Inc., a broadcast ministry which has been classified as a “church” for tax purposes, from advertising or selling Silver Solution “to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure any disease or illness.” Bakker, in the agreement, does not admit wrongdoing.

Republican Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sued Bakker and Morningside in March 2020. Schmitt sought an injunction ordering Bakker to stop selling Silver Solution as a treatment for COVID-19 on his streaming TV program, The Jim Bakker Show. The lawsuit said Bakker and a guest made the cure claim during 11 episodes in February and March of 2020.

Schmitt said in a news release on Wednesday that Bakker has already made restitution to many consumers, and must pay back another $90,000 to others. 

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The hour-long Jim Bakker Show is filmed in southwestern Missouri. The consent agreement notes that during the program, Silver Solution was offered to those who agreed to contribute $80 to $125.

Bakker’s attorney, former Democratic Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, had previously claimed that Bakker was being unfairly targeted “by those who want to crush his ministry and force his Christian television program off the air.” Nixon, who served two terms as governor from 2009 to 2017 and is now a partner at the Dowd Bennett law firm in St. Louis, said Bakker did not claim that Silver Solution was a cure for COVID-19.

The lawsuit cited a discussion on the program on Feb. 12, 2020, in which Bakker spoke with Sherrill Sellman, referring to her as a “naturopathic doctor” and a “natural health expert.”

“This influenza that is now circling the globe, you’re saying that Silver Solution would be effective?” Bakker asks. Sellman, according to the lawsuit, replies: “Well, let’s say it hasn’t been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it has been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours.”

“Yeah,” Bakker says.

“Totally eliminate it, kills it. Deactivates it,” Sellman replies, according to the lawsuit.

An email sent to Nixon Wednesday was not immediately returned.

Also in March 2020, U.S. regulators warned Bakker’s company and six others to stop selling items using what the government called false claims that they could treat the coronavirus or keep people from catching it. Letters sent jointly by the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission warned the companies that their products for treating COVID-19 were fraudulent, “pose significant risks to patient health and violate federal law.”

Nixon said Bakker immediately complied with orders to stop offering Silver Solution on his show and ministry website after receiving the warning letters from the FDA and FTC.

Concurrently with this lawsuit, last year Bakker’s Morningside ministry received over $800,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans through the federal government. 

Meanwhile, Arkansas’ attorney general filed a lawsuit similar to Missouri’s in June 2020. That case is still pending.

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8 thoughts on “Jim Bakker and His Ministry Settle Lawsuit over COVID-19 Claims”

  1. I’m all for jimmy’s “ministry” being crushed.
    I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that the Kingdom of God would somehow survive without any “christian” TV.

  2. Where does Jimmy get the money to pay the fines? From gullible viewers donating their hard-earned dollars to “the Lord’s work.”

  3. I don’t follow this ministry and would be very weary of any pay for miracle offer. However, one thing conspicuously missing from the CDC narrative during all this was the promotion of keeping one’s immune system in top form. Taking the right supplements, among other heathy steps, would have not necessarily been a cure, but certainly common sense. Not sure what was in this, but hopefully something actually healthy.

  4. Bakker is a flim flam man. A grifter. A con man. We all know that. What bothers me is that TV stations will still put him on the air. I guess just like him they will do anything for a buck.

  5. Years ago I attended a two day seminar at the Morningside facility in Missouri. The seminar had nothing to do with Bakker’s ministry (they were just renting a big conference room there). During lunch break I sat in on Bakker’s TV show which appeared to be aired live. At least that’s what Bakker said. Bakker was on the stage selling buckets of freeze dried food because Jesus was coming back any day and we had to be prepared for the apocalypse. I know a few prepper things and was astonished at the astronomical prices he was charging. The next day I sat in again. This time the stage was set for fund raising with at least 20 people manning phones taking donations. On either side of the stage were the big “thermometer” things we’ve all seen. Phones were ringing almost constantly with a stage director periodically coming over and telling Bakker the latest tallies. Something about it seemed off to me though. So I asked a camera operator if the program was live. He said no, rolling his eyes. Every program was taped and broadcasted later. “So in other words this entire thing is staged? The phones ringing are fake? No one is actually calling in right now?” Yes, he said. “There’s a lot of dishonesty I keep discovering with Jim’s ministry, including the way they pay us under the table. I don’t think I can work here much longer.”

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