A viral Facebook post, which links to a webpage that misrepresents itself as a Fox News report, pushes the false story that evangelical Christian leader Charles Stanley sells CBD, a cannabis product. Stanley’s organization said the story is a “scam.”
Charles Stanley is the founder and leader of the evangelical Christian organization In Touch Ministries, which claims to reach more than 100 million homes in the U.S. through its digital, television and radio broadcasts. Stanley, the former senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Atlanta, also served for two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
But a viral post on Facebook, which since has been deleted, falsely claimed that Stanley also sells a line of cannabidiol, or CBD, gummies — an edible form of a chemical found in marijuana. CBD doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana that produces a high.
The post linked to a webpage that impersonates Fox News by misappropriating the network’s name and logo on the page. The fake page also names Brit Hume, a senior political analyst for Fox News, as the author of the fabricated story on Stanley.
Another webpage on a different website posted a similar bogus story, which also masquerades as Fox News and includes photos of the religious leader. But, in this case, Stanley is falsely portrayed as selling a different brand of CBD products. Both webpages — which provide links to Florida-based companies that sell CBD products — are unaffiliated with Fox.
“Both of these are fake sites and not affiliated with Fox News in any way,” a Fox News spokesperson confirmed to us in an email.
False advertisements for “Charles Stanley CBD Oil” appeared on Facebook as early as April. The bogus websites and social media posts have included reviews of the products, stating there are “Significant Advantages of Charles Stanley CBD Gummies.”
In response to the posts, In Touch Ministries posted a “Scam Alert” on its website. The statement, in part, reads (emphasis is theirs):
In Touch Ministries, June 5: We want to alert you to a scam that has been posted on Facebook and has been distributed through various emails, websites, and even text messages.
In Touch Ministries has received reports that scammers have been posting Dr. Charles Stanley’s image, falsely reporting that Dr. Stanley is beginning a new business venture in CBD oil. Some of the articles even utilize fake Fox News headers to appear more convincing. However, none of it is true. IT IS A SCAM. Dr. Stanley has not begun any new venture.
PLEASE DO NOT CLICK ON THESE DECEPTIVE POSTS, EMAILS, TEXTS, OR WEBSITES. Scammers are attempting to trick you into giving your personal information or infect your electronic devices by using Dr. Stanley’s image.
Bauer, Brent. “What are the benefits of CBD — and is it safe to use?” Mayoclinic.org. 18 Dec 2020.
Fox News spokesperson. Email to FactCheck.org 11 June 2021.
“In Touch Ministries, Inc.” webpage. GuideStar. Accessed 11 June 2021.
In Touch Ministries. “DON’T GET SCAMMED!” InTouch.org. 5 June 2021.
Mandi. “Charles Stanley Biography, Wife, Age, Children, In Touch, Books, Worth.” BiographyScoop. 5 July 2020.
Reinhold, Robert. “Fundamentalist Re-elected Head of Southern Baptists.” New York Times. 12 Jun 1985.
Tom Hanks (@TomHanks) “This is false and an intentional hoax. I’ve never said this and would never make such an endorsement. Come on, man! Hanx!” Instagram. 21 Jan 2020.