Jim Bakker first caught the public eye as an over the top televangelist with his wife Tammy Faye in the 1980s.
But it all came crashing down over allegations of a non-consensual sexual encounter with a church secretary and fraud at the couple's Heritage USA theme park and resort led to a prison sentence for Jim.
While Tammy Faye's kindness towards those suffering from AIDS and HIV and her personality earned her a redemption with the public and a new husband, Roe Messner, Jim never managed that redemptive moment. After his divorce from Tammy Faye and release from prison, Bakker fell off the map for a time.
But eventually Reverend Jim Bakker was back to his old ways.
With a new wife by his side, Bakker returned to TV preaching to prosperity gospel Evangelical Christians. But instead of peddling fraudulent timeshares between praising the Lord, Bakker now peddles survivalist gear for the coming apocalypse and cure-alls between hymns and prayers.
You can see his pitch for one "health" product in the video below.
The Jim Bakker Show is suggesting that the silver solution it sells can kill the coronavirus within 12 hours. https://t.co/kbUGnUp69m— Right Wing Watch (@Right Wing Watch) 1581531423.0
Bakker has claimed in the past that his "Silver Solution" can cure cancer, AIDS, depression and any number of other illnesses. But now that COVID-19 is making headlines, Bakker now claims his product can cure coronavirus.
The Food and Drug Administration issued warnings that colloidal silver—particles of silver metal suspended in a liquid—in Silver Solution was unsafe. They also stated there is no evidence that silver is effective for treating any known disease or medical condition.
In addition to the FDA, the National Institutes of Health also said Silver Solution could be dangerous.
With the risks of contagious people taking a snake-oil cure and ignoring public health warnings because of it, New York Attorney General Letitia James is saying enough is enough.
Chief of the Attorney General's Health Care Bureau, Lisa Landau, sent a cease and desist letter to Jim Bakker threatening legal action if he doesn't stop selling his Silver Solution as an effective treatment for COVID-19.
The letter said:
"Any representation on the Jim Bakker Show that its Silver Solution products are effective at combatting and/or treating the 2019 novel coronavirus violates New York law."
The coronavirus claims came last month when Bakker had Sherri Sellman—an integrative naturopathic "doctor"—on his show.
Bakker asked Sellman if his Silver Solution would cure the "influenza that is now circling the globe."
"Well, let's say it hasn't been tested on 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."
"Totally eliminate it, kills it, deactivates it and then it boosts your immune system."
Bakker sells various forms of the solution for $125 each, paid to his show.
New York AG James said in a statement Thursday her office was watching for coronavirus scams like Bakker's.
"In addition to being mindful about our health, we must also beware of unscrupulous actors who attempt to take advantage of this fear and anxiety to scam or deceive consumers."
"I encourage anyone who believes they are the victim of a scam or predatory action to contact my office and file a complaint."
In response, Bakker's program issued a statement to The Washington Post.
He claimed Silver Solution wasn't a fraud and could cure the many illnesses his program claimed, including HIV, and links to documentation would be provided. However no documentation of proper clinical trials has ever been produced.
Jim Bakker is standing by the claims he has made about the silver solution he sells ... and he's willing to sell yo… https://t.co/8T1MnwLY5r— Right Wing Watch (@Right Wing Watch) 1583173328.0
People found Bakker's health product claims similar to his past behavior that landed him in prison in 1987.
Jimmy needs some more time behind bars for fraud it appears! New York AG orders televangelist Jim Bakker to stop… https://t.co/Kapvjdj86s— Suze Michelini (@Suze Michelini) 1583676246.0
@RightWingWatch The same silver solution that my dad paid $60 a bottle to cure his cancer? Spoiler alert: HE'S DEAD NOW— Red Lori Bright Eyes, Please Vaccinate For Me (@Red Lori Bright Eyes, Please Vaccinate For Me) 1581540987.0
This makes my heart feel happy. It is reassuring to know that this particular mean-spirited and greed-stoked fraud… https://t.co/uBzVJp87I9— Carol Valentine (@Carol Valentine) 1583629480.0
Whether Bakker will see himself back in court depends on whether he reigns in his Silver Solution claims.