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Madison Czopek
By Madison Czopek January 10, 2022

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta is alive, but he’s not selling CBD gummies

If Your Time is short

• Dr. Sanjay Gupta is alive and appeared on CNN in the days after his alleged death.

• The death hoax in the Facebook post linked to a spam advertisement that falsely claims Gupta is the CEO of a company that sells CBD gummies. 

• Similar advertisements relying on fake celebrity endorsement scams have been used to sell other cannabis products.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon who serves as CNN’s chief medical correspondent, has fallen prey to a social media death hoax. 

He is alive and well, despite a post announcing, "A Tragic End Today For Our Dr. Gupta, Viewers Feel Sad About Today’s News."

The post from Dec. 23 also linked to an article with the preview text, "End of the road for medical expert."

It was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Gupta is still alive. And we wish we could tell you this is ‘the end of the road’ for social media posts that falsely proclaim the deaths of people who are very much alive.

Already in 2022, Gupta has appeared on CNN to discuss the CDC’s changes to its COVID-19 isolation guidelines and on MSNBC to promote his book and discuss the long-term realities of COVID-19. 

There is no mention of Gupta’s death on his official social media accounts. He has posted on Twitter in the days since Dec. 23 — including a tweet shared at about noon on Jan. 10.

A CNN spokesperson for Gupta confirmed: "Thank goodness, Sanjay is alive and well."

There are other inaccuracies in the link the Facebook post shares.

Clicking on the link leads to what looks like a CNN article with the headline, "Big Pharma In Outrage Over Sanjay Gupta's Latest Business Venture - He Fires Back With This!" 

Featured Fact-check

A closer investigation of the site reveals that it is actually an advertisement.

Clicking on any links on the webpage — including links in the byline that appear to link to the "authors" of the article — leads to different sites selling various brands of CBD gummies. Similarly, clicking on the fake CNN Health logo or the site’s drop-down menu in an effort to navigate to a different page also leads to a site encouraging people to buy CBD gummies.

The fake article purports to have been written by CNN’s Maggie Fox and Elizabeth Cohen — who work for CNN as a senior editor and a senior medical correspondent, respectively. A search of articles written by Fox and Cohen did not turn up any articles of this sort — nor did a search of all CNN headlines. 

The article attributes a number of quotes to Gupta. There is no evidence Gupta said them, or that he is connected to a company that makes CBD gummies. 

The CNN spokesperson said there was "zero connection" Gupta and any CBD gummy company.

Our searches of the quotes and the article headline pulled up stories about other CBD product endorsement scams that featured advertisement articles with similar headlines that occasionally used the same quotes attributed to other celebrities.

PolitiFact has debunked false claims about CBD gummies and fake CBD endorsements

Some cannabis product manufacturers have earned a reputation for falsely claiming their products have been endorsed by celebrities like Tom Hanks and Clint Eastwood. It appears Gupta has become their latest target. 

Our ruling

A Facebook post claimed Gupta met "a tragic end today" on Dec. 23, 2021. He is still alive and has already appeared on CNN and MSNBC in 2022. 

The post links to an advertisement for CBD gummies that falsely claims Gupta is the CEO of the company and has been promoting his products on television. There is no evidence Gupta has any connection to a CBD gummy company. Similar advertisements relying on fake celebrity endorsement scams have been used to sell other cannabis products.

We rate this claim False.

Our Sources

Facebook post, Dec. 23, 2021

CNN, "​​Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Coming out of Covid-19 isolation doesn't have to be complicated," Jan. 6, 2022

MSNBC, "Dr. Sanjay Gupta On Living With Covid, Building Up Cognitive Reserves," Jan. 7, 2022 

MSNBC’s Morning Joe tweet, Jan. 7, 2022

CNN, "Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent," accessed Jan. 10, 2021 

Email exchange with CNN spokesperson Neel Khairzada, Jan. 10, 2021

CNN, "Elizabeth Cohen, Senior Medical Correspondent," accessed Jan. 10, 2021 

Sanjay Gupta’s verified Twitter profile, accessed Jan. 10, 2021

Sanjay Gupta’s verified Instagram profile, accessed Jan. 10, 2021

Sanjay Gupta’s verified Facebook profile, accessed Jan. 10, 2021

HealthMJ, "Blake Shelton CBD Oil Endorsement Scam Controversy Arises," Aug. 10, 2020

The Wrap, "Clint Eastwood Sues CBD Retailers Over Endorsements He Says Are Fake," July 22, 2020

Leafie, "Russell Brand is latest celebrity to be used in fake CBD endorsement scam," Sept. 14, 2021

Today, "Tom Hanks slams 'intentional hoax' ad that shows him endorsing CBD company," Jan. 21, 2020

New York Times, "Clint Eastwood Wins $6.1 Million CBD Lawsuit," Oct. 3, 2021

PolitiFact, "Don’t fall for fake news headlines about this pastor selling CBD," June 10, 2021

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Madison Czopek

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta is alive, but he’s not selling CBD gummies

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