Actress Gwyneth Paltrow is the founder of the online wellness and lifestyle brand, goop.com, which offers a candle called “This Smells Like My Vagina” for $75. A Texas man, Colby Watson, alleges that after purchasing said candle, it burst into flames.
Watson filed a complaint on Monday, according to Law360.com. The proposed class action seeks to recall Goop’s “defective and dangerous vagina-scented candles.”
In the complaint, Watson says the candle he purchased, after being lit for approximately three hours, burst into flames on his nightstand the first time he burned it. Watson alleges the candle became “engulfed in flames” and smoke filled the bedroom. Afterwards, the glass jar containing the candle was charred and his nightstand had a black ring on it. Watson says in the complaint he wants other consumers to be spared of the danger.
Responding to the complaint, representatives for Goop, which according to Watson’s complaint, will earn approximately $60 million in revenue, said it’s a “frivolous money grab”, according to Law360.com.
Goop spokespeople added that the Santa Monica-based company is “confident this claim is frivolous and an attempt to secure an outsized payout from a press-heavy product. We stand behind the brands we carry and the safety of the products we sell.”
Watson is seeking $5 million in damages.
Although the supposedly vagina-scented candle does carry a warning, Watson’s attorney, William Federman, told Law360.com that the warning doesn’t say: “this candle can explode and set your house on fire.”
Federman also told Law360, “If you want to sell something that smells like your vagina, that’s up to you … But you need to sell a safe product. Consumers deserve that.”
In addition, Federman noted the irony that a brand that touts itself as healthy is selling something that could pose a big safety hazard.
The candle is supposedly named after Paltrow smelled it for the first time and jokingly noted the resemblance of the candle to her private parts. Goop itself does not make the candle; its manufacturer is a brand called Heretic.
Watson is not the only person to have had the same candle explode. Earlier this year, a woman from London also claimed her vagina candle exploded and burst into flames, causing “an inferno” in her home. The incident garnered much media attention, with coverage in People, Vanity Fair, and NYPost.
Considering the extensive media attention, Watson says that Goop “knew its customers had experienced problems with the candles yet failed to warn him and other consumers.”
And although the candle comes with clear instructions to keep it in sight at all times when it is burning and not to let it burn for more than two hours, Watson says the warning doesn’t go far enough because the product is “inherently dangerous.”
Watson’s attorney, Federman, said, per Law360, “They are putting a hand grenade into your house. They are telling you it’s OK to pull the pin but don’t let go of it.” Federman added, “It’s like an electrician saying you could use your lamp, but it may explode after two hours.”
The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
This isn’t the first time Paltrow’s Goop has been on the receiving end of a vaginal-device-related complaint. In 2018, the company paid $145,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the California Food, Drug and Medical Device Task Force over gynecological health claims it made for its mineral eggs, which are small stones inserted into the vagina. Goop claimed the stones could prevent the uterus from drooping (uterine prolapse). Goop also claimed the stones could regulate hormonal balance and normalize menstrual cycles.
The Task Force also came down on Goop for its claim that an essential oils blend could prevent depression.