Gwyneth Paltrow acknowledged "the outrage" toward her Goop diaper promotion on Wednesday, an admitted publicity stunt to bring attention to the high cost of diapers.
"Goop launched a luxury disposable diaper at $120 for a pack of 12 and there was a lot of outrage," Paltrow said in an Instagram video posted Wednesday evening. "Good. It was designed to piss us off. Because if treating diapers like a luxury makes you mad, so should taxing them like a luxury."
Paltrow continued, "Despite the absolute necessity of diapers, in 33 states they aren’t treated like an essential item. They're taxed like a luxury good. This leaves one in three families struggling to afford them. While eliminating the diaper tax is not a complete solution, it could allow many families to pay for another month's supply."
The actor asked Instagram to donate to the nonprofit organization Baby2Baby, which is trying to abolish the tax. She used the hashtag #ChangeTheDiaperTax.
Hours earlier, the lifestyle brand founded by Paltrow in 2008 shared on Instagram, "Meet The Diapér. Our new disposable diaper lined with virgin alpaca wool and fastened with amber gemstones, known for their ancient emotional-cleansing properties. Infused with a scent of jasmine and bergamot for a revitalized baby. Dropping tomorrow at 11 a.m. EST at $120 for a pack of 12."
“Is it April Fools’ Day?” “Is this an SNL (Saturday Night Live) skit?” and “This can’t be real,” read some Instagram comments.
A representative for Goop sent a statement to TODAY Parents, which read in part, “During the pandemic, Baby2Baby’s diaper requests have skyrocketed 505 percent. National shortages exacerbated the need. So Baby2Baby began manufacturing their own diapers, produced at a fraction of the cost to increase the number of children they serve. Baby2Baby has also been working to meet the ever-increasing demand for formula since COVID began, distributing over 300,000 cans of formula through COVID relief efforts.”
Goop stated that donations to Baby2Baby "will support their advocacy efforts nationwide, as well as help with the formula shortage and other issues facing families in need."
Earlier today, VICE reported that the announcement was a publicity stunt.
"After the Instagram post went live and we all busily tweeted about it, (VICE's) Motherboard received an email from a PR company, asserting that the luxury diaper was actually satire and not a real item for the real bottoms of pampered Goop babies," VICE reported. "In the press release that the PR company sent to us, unsolicited — and under an embargo that we absolutely did not agree to honor — it was revealed that the diaper ad is actually a PR stunt between Goop and a nonprofit and diaper bank called Baby2Baby, which does the very important work of getting diapers and other essential items to infants and children across the U.S."
A representative of Baby2Baby did not immediately respond to TODAY Parents' request for comment.
Although some Instagram users disliked the initial announcement in light of large-scale baby formula and diaper shortages, Paltrow's revelation was a relief to commenters who wrote, "This is bold. Thank you so much for using your platform to spread this life saving message" and "Way to shine light on a real issue!"
Goop's press record has been contentious at times. In 2017, the nonprofit group Truth in Advertising accused the brand of making "deceptive" health claims about products related to infertility. Goop called those allegations "unsubstantiated and unfounded." Paltrow's COVID-19 remedies also were disputed by a British medical professional. The actor likened the criticism to "clickbait" when asked about it by The Hollywood Reporter.