Fact check: Fake advertisement falsely claims Sanjay Gupta launched new CBD gummy line – USA TODAY

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Online advertisements using the names of celebrities to promote fake cannabis products have become a popular form of misinformation on social media, with the latest iteration targeting CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
“Big Phrama in Outrage Over Sanjay Gupta’s Latest Business Venture – He Fires Back With This!” reads the headline of a Jan. 18 article that was shared to Facebook in a post that accumulated more than 100 reactions in a day.
The article, purportedly authored by CNN’s Maggie Fox and Elizabeth Cohen, claims Gupta “made headlines” after revealing his new line of CBD gummies on live television. The post includes supposed quotes about the product from Gupta and celebrities Tom Hanks, Randy Jackson, Drew Carrey and Halle Berry.
“FunDrops CBD Gummies is the product of thousands of hours of research and development,” the article attributes Gupta as saying. “I wouldn’t talk about something on air I don’t believe in and give to my family.”
But there is no evidence Gupta made these comments or that he launched a CBD gummy line. The claim has been previously debunked, and the article is one of many fake cannabis advertisements that have circulated online.
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The Facebook page that shared the post did not return a request for comment. 
The advertisement misleads by appearing as if it were published by CNN, but no such headline exists on the network’s website.
Neel Khairzada, Gupta’s publicist, and Matt Dornic, head of strategic communications for CNN Worldwide, both told USA TODAY via email that the article is fake.
The hyperlinks included in the article as well as the “CNN health” logo on the upper corner of the site direct readers to numerous websites promoting CBD gummy products. 
Gupta has previously spoken about the benefits of medical marijuana, and in an October 2019 CNN article he warned about the authenticity and safety of certain CBD products. But he has never revealed his own cannabis line. 
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Other celebrities mentioned in the article have previously criticized fake CBD advertisements using their names.
In January 2020, Hanks shared a fabricated quote promoting cannabis products, writing that he “would never make such an endorsement.” He made a similar comment in July 2019 on Twitter.
CBD promotions featuring “Shark Tank” investors, Fox News hosts, Reba McEntire and various other celebrities have been previously debunked by fact-checking organizations. 
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Gupta launched a new CBD gummy line. A CNN spokesperson and Gupta’s publicist said the advertisement is not authentic. There is no evidence that Gupta is associated with a CBD gummy line or that he made the quotes being attributed to him. Similar CBD advertisements using celebrity names have been previously debunked.
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Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.


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