Gwyneth Paltrow’s company Goop was dragged on social media for selling a pricey “luxury diaper” — but as it turns out, the product was just a stunt to protest the luxury tax placed on diapers in 33 states.
"Goop launched a luxury disposable diaper at $120 dollars for a pack of 12 and there was a lot of outrage — good," Paltrow declared in a video sent to media outlets and shared on Instagram. "It was designed to piss us off, because if treating diapers like a luxury makes you mad, so should taxing them like a luxury."
The uproar began Wednesday, when the lifestyle and wellness company, which has previously promoted pricey and real products like a $15,000 gold sex toy, shared a post on Instagram all about its newest launch, which was called “The Diapér.” The disposable diaper, set against a background of wildflowers in the ad, was described in the caption as being “lined with virgin alpaca wool” and “fastened with amber gemstones, known for their ancient emotional-cleansing properties,” as well as “infused with a scent of jasmine and bergamot for a revitalized baby.”
The backlash to the diaper was swift — especially as the ad came on the heels of an infant formula shortage. One Twitter user wrote, “Goop dropping disposable, alpaca-lined diapers at the height of a national infant formula shortage crisis? Yeah, it tracks.” Another added, “There’s a nationwide formula shortage and babies are going hungry. And @goop is selling a gemstone-encrusted disposable diaper that’s $120 for a pack of 10.”
In the Instagram comments, people criticized anyone wanting such a product. One follower wrote, “Omg, fancy moms need to be even fancier and out of touch!” Another called out the company for being unable to “read the room,” given rising inflation. A third wrote, “Instead of having it eco friendly and price friendly for new moms you come up with that!?”
Yet as it turns out, all the conversation around the Diapér was exactly the point. In the explainer video, Paltrow spoke about the uproar around the product — and revealed that the whole thing was part of a campaign with Baby2Baby, a nonprofit organization which provides infant necessities to families in need — with a goal was to promote awareness of the diaper luxury tax.
The Goop website further explains the specifics behind the stunt.
“What we actually want is to start a conversation about how much diapers cost. Despite the absolute necessity of diapers, in 33 states, they aren’t treated as an essential item. They’re taxed as a luxury good,” the site reads. “Depending on the state, this sales tax can add between 1.5 percent and 7 percent to their cost. (We priced our fictional Diapérs at $120, because that is what the diaper tax could cost families annually.)”
While Paltrow’s company was accused of being insensitive to the formula crisis, the campaign also aims to shed light on exactly that: The Goop site calls on individuals to make a donation to Baby2Baby in order to provide items like diapers (which are not covered by federal assistance programs) as well as infant formula.
“The nationwide formula shortage is a true emergency, and Baby2Baby is having formula made at a fraction of the retail cost and donating it to families throughout the US,” the Goop site explains.
This cause has long been close to Paltrow’s heart. In 2017, she gave a speech at the Baby2Baby gala, where she was honored with the Giving Tree award for her work in children’s causes.
“For a mother to have to make a choice between food, diapers and clothing for their children is unacceptable in this day and age,” the Glee alum said during her acceptance speech. “We’re living in a time where we really need to come together as a community and do what we can and really uplift each other.”
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