Nessel: '90 Day Fiancé' participant must retract COVID-19 claims or face litigation
Attorney General Dana Nessel has notified a reality show participant and owner of Michigan weight loss centers that she must retract a statement linking the use of an injection with prevention against COVID-19.
Failure to do so could result in a civil lawsuit or formal investigation, Nessel's office said in a Monday notice of intended action.
The attorney general's notice to Stephanie Davison, a contestant on TLC's 90 Day Fiancé, alleges that she told viewers of a West Michigan lifestyle show that Skin Envy's ipamorelin/sermorelin injection boosted the immune system and prevented against COVID-19, according to a statement from Nessel's office.
Davison, the statement said, owns Skin Envy LLC, which operates non-surgical weight-loss centers in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.
“Misleading and false claims related to consumer products will not be tolerated,” Nessel said in a statement. “It is my hope Ms. Davison will abide by our notice and that further action is not necessary in this matter.”
A woman listed as a contact for Davison on her social media page could not immediately be reached for comment. A call to Skin Envy also was not immediately returned.
According to the Monday notice, Davison told WOOD TV's Eight West program that all of her friends got COVID-19, but she never did.
"So, I'm thankful and now I've been vaccinated so I will not get it ever now," Davison said, according to Nessel's complaint. "So I'm so grateful and I've had people tell me in the medical field that it is probably due to the ipamorelin/sermorelin."
Her website neglects to mention potential side effects of the injection, according to the complaint. The website instead describes the injection as a "biosynthetic hormone that naturally stimulates the production of the body’s own HGH (Human Growth Hormone) through the pituitary gland."
The televised claims prompted concerns from at least one consumer, who called it "quite predatory and awful," the complaint said. In addition, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services expressed concern that the claims were "untrue and unsupported by any medical evidence," Nessel's office said.
Nessel asked Davison in the Monday notice to make a public retraction within 10 days, stop claiming the injection prevents COVID-19 and discontinue the use of video repeating the claim. Otherwise, she'll face either a civil lawsuit or formal investigation.
“For over a year now, consumers have been barraged with misinformation regarding Covid-19 prevention," the complaint said. "While we commend your statement in support of one type of injection for prevention — vaccination — your false claim regarding sermorelin injection prevention is troubling, especially as it may encourage consumers to purchase sermorelin injections from your business in lieu of receiving a free vaccination."
According to her social media pages, Davison was a contestant on Season 8 of TLC's "90 Day Fiancé," a show pairing international couples who have 90 days to wed and secure a visa or break up and the foreign partner has to return home.