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David Wolfe (raw food advocate)

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David Wolfe
David Wolfe at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.jpg
Wolfe speaks at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2011
Born (1970-08-06) August 6, 1970 (age 50)
Alma materUniversity of California, Santa Barbara
University of San Diego
OccupationAuthor, spokesman, social media influencer
Known forActivism for raw food, anti-vaccinations, flat Earth

David "Avocado" Wolfe (born August 6, 1970) is an American author and conspiracy theorist. He promotes a variety of pseudoscientific ideas such as raw foodism, alternative medicine, and vaccine denialism. He has been described as “[o]ne of Facebook’s most ubiquitous public figures” as well as an “internationally renowned conspiracy theorist” and a “huckster”.[1][2][3][4]

Early life[edit]

Wolfe grew up in San Diego, California and graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he studied mechanical and environmental engineering and political science. Afterwards, he earned a Juris Doctor degree at the University of San Diego.[5] According to Wolfe, he became intolerant of dairy when he was 18 and stopped consuming it, which led him to explore various diets and by the time he was 24 he was on an organic, raw food diet.[6] He introduced the diet to Thor Bazler (then known as Stephen Arlin), who had attended the same high school as Wolfe, and this led to the founding of their company Nature's First Law.[5]

Career[edit]

Thor Bazler and Wolfe co-founded the company, Nature's First Law in 1995.[5] The company sold organic food and products related to raw foodism. Wolfe and Bazler started the company selling products out of their car trunks; by 2005 the company had 23 employees and around $6 million in revenue, and had profits of $1.2 million in 2004.[5] The company grew in part by endorsements from celebrities.[5] By 2005 Wolfe had become an evangelist for raw foods, travelling and speaking, while Bazler stayed in San Diego and tended to the Nature's First Law business.[5][7][8] In 2007 Nature's First Law changed its name to Sunfood Nutrition.[9] The relationship between Wolfe and Sunfood ended at least by 2011, and there was litigation[10][11] involving personality rights.[12] In 2012 Sunfood claimed Wolfe was defaming it.[13]

While affiliated with Sunfood Nutrition, Wolfe also co-founded the company Sacred Chocolate in 2006 with Steve Adler, which sells specialized raw chocolate products.[14]

New Horizon Health, Inc. was founded in 2009[15] and runs websites and businesses for which Wolfe is the "celebrity spokesperson": the e-commerce site, Longevity Warehouse,[16][17][18][19] and the subscription-based longevity web magazine, The Best Day Ever that Wolfe says he co-founded.[16][17] New Horizon Health had $7.6M in revenue in 2013.[15]

Wolfe has been the spokesman for NutriBullet since its inception in 2012, and has appeared in several infomercials promoting the product.[20] Wolfe has authored and co-authored several books promoting foods and offering diet advice.[21][22]

Other activities[edit]

Wolfe is president of the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation,[23] which received its IRS nonprofit certification in 2002.[24]

In 2004, Wolfe starred on the reality TV show Mad Mad House regularly as the naturist "alt",[25] alternative lifestyle practitioners who served as hosts and judges for the contestant "guests".[26] In 2004 Wolfe was part of a rock band called The Healing Waters that travelled the country in a vegetable-oil powered bus and performed songs including "Raw Food Girl" and "Bye Bye Burger World".[27]

Conspiracy theories and pseudoscientific claims[edit]

Wolfe has been criticized for promoting pseudoscience and “harmful scientific flimflam”. He has been accused of convincing people they can prevent or cure real ailments with ineffective supplements and demonizing life-saving vaccines and cancer treatments.[28][29][30][1][4]

He has made numerous statements about medical treatments that are not in keeping with the scientific and medical literature.

Anti-vaccine advocacy[edit]

Wolfe is a prominent supporter of the anti-vaccine or "anti-vax" movement.[2][31] He has baselessly claimed that vaccines cause autism or otherwise harm or kill people[32] and may not work.[33] This claim has been discredited.[34][35] Wolfe's anti-vaccination stance led to protests during a speaking tour of Australia in 2017,[36] which had been funded in part by anti-vaccination groups.[37] This led to the cancellation of a scheduled event after the withdrawal of a sponsor,[38] and at least one more after a venue cancelled the booking.[39]

Cancer[edit]

Wolfe supports the unfounded claims that cancer research and modern cancer treatments are “largely a fraud”. Wolfe’s various websites and online stores sell alternative products he claims treat or prevents cancer. Wolfe advocates that people with cancer treat it with dietary supplements[20] and according to science writer Kavin Senapathy, he "demonizes life-saving vaccines and cancer treatments".[4]

Raw foodism & detoxification[edit]

Wolfe promotes a diet based on unprocessed foods, stating that this has a "detoxification" effect.[20] Detoxification has been found to be unscientific and lacking in evidence.[40]

The British Dietetic Association has described raw foodism as a fad diet.[41][42] Claims held by raw food proponents are pseudoscientific.[43]:44

COVID-19[edit]

Wolfe is a frequent COVID-19 conspiracy theorist and anti-mask activist. He has spoken at anti-mask rallies and has repeatedly claimed without evidence that COVID-19 was artificially created.[44][45][46][47]

Wolfe advertises on Facebook his colloidal silver products, despite the National Institutes of Health's warning that they are "not safe or effective for treating any disease or condition".[48][49]. He called his brand his "#1 recommendation under the current crisis.” Medical professionals describe these sorts of treatments as a potentially harmful false cure.[31][50][51]

Other pseudoscientific claims[edit]

Wolfe believes that gravity is a toxin and that “water would levitate right off the Earth” if the oceans weren’t salty.[32]

Wolfe claims that chemtrails exist,[20] that the Earth is flat,[32] and that solar panels drain the sun's power. [52] He later stated the claim about solar panels was not meant to be taken literally.

Furthermore, he has advertised deer antler spray as being "levitational" and an "androgenic force."[53]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Senapathy, Kavin (February 8, 2018). "David 'Avocado' Wolfe Deletes Reviews After Facebook Page Slammed With Thousands Of 1-Star Ratings". Forbes.com. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Shoebridge, Joanne; Turnbull, Samantha (March 15, 2017). "Pro-vaccination campaigners concerned about David 'Avocado' Wolfe's sell-out event". abc.net.au. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  3. ^ Ahmed, Imran (July 7, 2020). "It's time the tech giants cracked down on the anti-vaxx infodemic". The Telegraph. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Senapathy, Kavin (January 1, 2016). "A New Year's Resolution For Science Advocates: Don't Cry Wolfe". Forbes.com. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Skidmore, Sarah (June 14, 2005). "Raw-food fervor starting to sprout". San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on March 22, 2016.
  6. ^ Goldstein, Myrna Chandler; Goldstein, Mark A. (2009). Food and nutrition controversies today a reference guide. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. p. 200. ISBN 9780313354038.
  7. ^ Beckett, Fiona (August 10, 2002). "Take the heat out of eating". The Telegraph. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  8. ^ Russo, Ruthann (2010). The raw food lifestyle the philosophy and nutrition behind raw and live foods. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books. ISBN 9781556439490.
  9. ^ "Press Release: Organic Raw Foods Pioneer Changes Name to Sunfood Nutrition". Via New Hope Network. February 8, 2007.
  10. ^ "David Wolfe Vs. Earle Douglas Harbison Case Number: 37-2011-00066729-Cu-Co-Ctl". Superior Court of California, County of San Diego. March 24, 2011.
  11. ^ Billings, Thomas E. "Investigating raw vegan and other diet gurus: Can you trust them?". www.beyondveg.com. Beyond Vegetarianism. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  12. ^ "Publicity Rights Damages". Nevium Intellectual Property Solutions. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  13. ^ "Press Release: Sunfood Defends Attacks on Corporate Integrity". Sunfood. August 16, 2012.
  14. ^ Barba, Elizabeth (Spring 2012). "Organic Indulgence" (PDF). Certified Organic. pp. 22–26. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 5, 2015.
  15. ^ a b "New Horizon Health: Number 519 on the 2014 Inc. 5000". Inc.com. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  16. ^ a b "About Me". davidwolfe.com. Archived from the original on May 25, 2016. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  17. ^ a b "Does David Wolfe's Bio On Wikipedia Hint He's Too Strange?". Superfoodly. June 1, 2016.
  18. ^ "Site Disclaimer". Longevity Warehouse.
  19. ^ "Longevitywarehouse.com website. David Wolfe & Longevity Warehouse | Superfoods, Superherbs, and more". Milonic. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  20. ^ a b c d Anderson, L.V. (June 28, 2015). "Everblasting Life". Slate. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  21. ^ Shriver, Jerry (April 26, 2002). "Healthful, raw-food trend is picking up steam". USA Today. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  22. ^ "How To ... Use chocolate for your skin". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. April 15, 2008. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  23. ^ Schneider, Pat (February 8, 2010). "Advocates envision free fruit and nuts for Madison parks". The Capital Times (Madison WI).
  24. ^ "Profile: Fruit Tree Planting Foundation". GuideStar. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  25. ^ Keveney, Bill (January 8, 2004). "Sci Fi's 'Mad House': Pretty scary". USA Today. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  26. ^ Fries, Laura (March 2, 2004). "Review: 'Mad Mad House'". Variety. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  27. ^ Stumpe, Joe (April. 21, 2004). "The raw truth? Decide for yourself". The Wichita Eagle.
  28. ^ Orac (May 28, 2015). "How is it that I've never heard of David Avocado Wolfe before?". Respectful Insolence. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  29. ^ Rexroad, James (July 15, 2001). "To be eaten raw". The Guardian.
  30. ^ LeMieux, Julianna (May 23, 2017). "'Super-Food' Blogger, Known as 'Avocado,' Acts Like a Nut | American Council on Science and Health". American Council on Science and Health Blog.
  31. ^ a b Ahmed, Imran (July 17, 2020). "Despite COVID-19 pandemic, tech giants still profit from anti-vaccination movement". USA Today. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  32. ^ a b c O'Leary, Cathy (February 28, 2017). "Call to stop anti-vaxxer's Perth talk". The West Australian.
  33. ^ Babuschkin, David (August 11, 2016). "Beyond the Woo – Why David Wolfe & Co. Are Detrimental to Society". The Unapologists.
  34. ^ Boseley, Sarah (February 2, 2010). "Lancet retracts 'utterly false' MMR paper". The Guardian. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  35. ^ Taylor, Luke E.; Swerdfeger, Amy L.; Eslick, Guy D. (June 2014). "Vaccines are not associated with autism: An evidence-based meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies". Vaccine. 32 (29): 3623–3629. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.04.085. PMID 24814559.
  36. ^ Shoebridge, Joanne; Turnbull, Samantha. (March 25, 2017). "Pro-vaccination campaigners concerned about David 'Avocado' Wolfe's sell-out event", ABC. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  37. ^ Hansen, Jane. (March 5, 2017). "David Wolfe: Aussie anti-vaxxers funded flat earther’s tour", The Daily Telegraph, News limited, Sydney, Australia. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  38. ^ Arlington, Kim. (February 23, 2017). "Mr Vitamins faces backlash after promoting a talk by anti-vaccination advocate David Wolfe", The Sydney Morning Herald, Fairfax Media, Sydney, Australia. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  39. ^ O’Rourke, Jim. (March 3, 2017). "Inner West Council smashes weekend event hosted by anti-childhood vaccination advocate David “Avocado” Wolfe", The Daily Telegraph, News limited, Sydney, Australia. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  40. ^ Klein, AV; Kiat, H (December 2015). "Detox diets for toxin elimination and weight management: a critical review of the evidence". Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. 28 (6): 675–86. doi:10.1111/jhn.12286. PMID 25522674.
  41. ^ "Fad diets". British Dietetic Association. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  42. ^ "Top 5 worst celeb diets to avoid in 2018". British Dietetic Association. December 7, 2017. The British Dietetic Association (BDA) today revealed its much-anticipated annual list of celebrity diets to avoid in 2018. The line-up this year includes Raw Vegan, Alkaline, Pioppi and Ketogenic diets as well as Katie Price's Nutritional Supplements.
  43. ^ Fitzgerald M (2014). Diet Cults: The Surprising Fallacy at the Core of Nutrition Fads and a Guide to Healthy Eating for the Rest of US. Pegasus Books. ISBN 978-1-60598-560-2.
  44. ^ "Antisemitic Conspiracy Superspreader David Icke To Headline Vancouver Anti-Mask "Mega Rally"". Canadian Anti-Hate Network. October 16, 2020. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  45. ^ Wolfe, David (March 21, 2021). "Toronto united on March 20 to 'Just Say No' to masks, experimental vaccines and lockdowns". Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  46. ^ Wolfe, David (March 18, 2021). "Peel District School Board says teachers must now wear face shields or goggles. The hypochondria is much much worse than we ever imagined". Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  47. ^ Wolfe, David (January 20, 2021). "A Peruvian court said in a ruling that the pandemic was created by Bill Gates, George Soros and the Rockefeller family". Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  48. ^ "The Anti-Vaxx Industry" (PDF). Center for Countering Digital Hate. Center for Countering Digital Hate. 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 21, 2020. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  49. ^ "Colloidal Silver". National Institutes of Health. Archived from the original on December 20, 2020. Retrieved January 4, 2020.
  50. ^ "My dad takes colloidal silver for his health. Is it safe?". mayoclinic.org. Mayo Clinic. May 25, 2020. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  51. ^ "Author David Wolfe, who has millions of social media followers, is selling "coated silver" as a way to gain coronavirus "immunity"". mediamatters.org. Media Matters for America. May 18, 2020. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  52. ^ Kasprack, Alex. (December 19, 2018). "Did David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe Post a Meme About Solar Panels Draining Light from the Sun?", Snopes.com. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  53. ^ Engber, Daniel (August 10, 2015). "That *#^% Sugar Film". Slate.

External links[edit]