Bleachgate reaches the White House

Trump and unbranded bottle of bleach - photo credit: Drew Angerer. Other: iStock/Getty Images

Recent events necessitate this update. Trump is now part of #Bleachgate.

This is not something I expected to be writing, honestly – although recently, others have seen it coming.

Content warning for child abuse.

I’ve been preparing to do a roundup of some COVID19 stuff because it’s mostly what people are talking about and there’s a lot to be confused about.

Revealed: leader of group peddling bleach as coronavirus ‘cure’ wrote to Trump this week

To recap: ten years ago (TEN YEARS), Rhys Morgan and I were making a (highly amateur) podcast about a “miracle cure” going around called MMS or “miracle mineral solution”, peddled mainly by Jim Humble but also a number of his acolytes who formed an organisation called the Genesis II Church. It’s essentially bleach, of the chlorine dioxide variety.

You can read more about Humble’s specific, bizarre claims about MMS in this post and there’s some more background into his disturbing fringe views in this podcast transcript and above in Michael Marshall’s interview with him.

Some of the Church’s members: Mark Grenon, Alan Keyes (former Reagan adviser) and various QAnon conspiracy theorists have been pushing MMS, including directly at Trump – see the Guardian article above and FDA piece below for details.

As for the “church”, the FDA brought a temporary injunction against Genesis II for its covid19-bleaching claims already:

The FDA, jointly with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), previously issued a warning letter to Genesis and the FDA has warned consumers numerous times over the past decade not to purchase or drink chlorine dioxide products such as MMS sold as medical treatments.

“YouTube banned the promotion of MMS last year after an investigation by Business Insider” claims the BI link below. So, it turns out, social platforms have in fact had the ability to tackle this quackery for some time.

Apparently though, claiming to be able to cure the likes of AIDS, cancer, malaria, TB, Alzheimer’s and autism just wasn’t heinous enough – it took the current pandemic for various bodies to take action. Bleach kills a lot of things, of course. That doesn’t make it a medicine.

Worse is ‘disciple’ Kerri Rivera and her followers’ part in this. People have been using this stuff for years to torture their autistic children (and those presumed so, with no diagnosis). They have pushed this ‘MMS protocol’ to ‘cure’ kids (who were ‘vaccine injured’ of course) by giving them bleach enemas, and/or forcing them to drink it.

Then, because they believe this autism is caused by parasitic worms in the gut, they go through their stool (their bowel movements; literally sifting through their children’s poo), picking out bits, which is actually dead intestinal tissue from their child that’s sloughed off, and show their internet friends the “dead worms” to prove it’s working.

I won’t provide images because it’s horrific, but you can for example join this facebook group for information (which I’m muted in because they didn’t like a circumcision discussion I engaged in).

If the child is in clear distress, they take it as evidence it’s working. If they’re silent, or stop eating, having given up protesting or being unable to, then they must be getting better. Better is definitely better, worse is the ‘toxins’ coming out before it gets better. Lose/lose.

Children are suffering (and surely dying) for this and have been for years.

Trump is now making it worse and the vulnerable will pay with their health and their lives.

Why is this kind of nonsense permitted anywhere? Why is the US also so full of acupuncturists, chiropractors, crystal healers, herbalists, reiki masters, TCM shops and more, who make outlandish and dangerous claims every day, taking gullible and vulnerable people’s hard-earned cash for lies, empty promises and temporary relief at best?

Because people with the power to take action against them haven’t cared enough to listen and act – some have tried to warn about it incessantly, some of us have lost the will. Since the adherents, repeat customers, and of course those who profit from fake medicine will always push back as hard as they can, it’s often a losing battle.

When the answer to how your pet woo “works” is basically “It just does! Prove it doesn’t!” or “It’s ancient”, “You just don’t understand!” then it’s hard to convince people who don’t have the foundation knowledge to see why it’s dangerous and/or physically impossible that the woo-peddlers are wrong.

I think a normal response from most people is “Why would anyone believe this?” and that – along with “do these people know they’re lying – is it deliberate – or do they really believe in what they’re selling?” – are the million dollar questions, so to speak.

Personally, for the alt-med fans, conspiracy lovers, Trump-defenders, I think it’s a big mixture of the kinds of things that draws anyone to conspiracy (do read this book, on this general phenomenon): a kind of rebellion, a desire to be superior by knowing something ‘they’ haven’t figured out, general distrust of medicine/’experts’ and

In a way, the more ‘out there’ something is, the more likely some people are to cling to it – because most will say NO, THAT’S VERY DANGEROUS the minute you talk about injecting/bathing in/drinking bleach, and they’ll take it as proof of a cover-up and how right they actually are – a bit like the dismissal of a child’s clear demonstrations of illness and distress as proof they’re succeeding.

How do we protect the vulnerable from this? Education, I guess. I wish I knew all the answers – the last decade doesn’t seem to have provided them.


Here’s a collection of relevant articles and tweets that I will continue to update.


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