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Fact check: CBD gummies in ad have no relation to ‘Shark Tank’ investors or contestants
After 10 seasons and 2,000 pitches, ‘Shark Tank’ sharks talk about the best, worst and funniest pitches they’ve heard.
The claim: Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary invested in CBD gummies created by contestants Donna and Rosy Khalife
A viral scam is falsely claiming the approval of “Shark Tank’s” Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary, to sell a CBD supplement.
The advertisement, masking itself as a news article, details how entrepreneurs Donna and Rosy Khalife earned a historic $2.5 million deal with all six investors on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”
“Apparently the Khalife sisters have invented a new Keoni CBD Gummies formula that can stop Nicotine Cravings instantly & for good,” it claims.
The website has a logo that reads Entertainment Today Insider News but all attempts to navigate the site lead to a sales page for the gummies.
Though he is not explicitly named, O’Leary’s photos are used prominently in the ad.
But neither O’Leary nor the Khalifes are working with the brand at the center of this advertisement.
USA TODAY reached out to Wellness Brands, which claims to own Keoni, via email.
Khalife sisters are not affiliated with the gummies
Rosy Khalife told USA TODAY she and her sister have no relationship to this product and have never pitched CBD gummies on “Shark Tank.”
“We get dozens of messages a week about these gummies and want people to know the truth,” the sisters wrote in a statement. “It’s frustrating that this scam has been going on for months.”
The Khalife sisters appeared on “Shark Tank” in 2014 to pitch their product, Surprise Ride. Surprise Ride is a monthly subscription service that supplies children with educational activities.
While they did not reach a deal during their first appearance, they accepted an offer from O’Leary in 2016 through ABC’s spin-off show “Beyond the Tank.” According to a 2016 Surprise Ride press release, this deal marked a historic moment for “Shark Tank” as the first time an investor reapproached a past contestant with a business offer.
According to Surprise Ride’s website, both sisters continue to work as co-founders of the subscription service.
Image of O’Leary with gummies is altered
The ad uses an altered promotional image that shows O’Leary and two women holding up large packages of CBD gummies.
The original unaltered photo didn’t contain any CBD gummies. It was taken outside of a Wine & Design paint-and-sip store. The franchise’s headquarters posted the image to Twitter on July 17, 2017.
Unlike Keoni CBD gummies, Wine & Design was featured on “Shark Tank” in 2017 and accepted a business deal from O’Leary.
USA TODAY could not find any evidence Keoni CBD gummies have any relationship with “Shark Tank”
O’Leary did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
In March, Lead Stories determined a nearly identical article with a different gummy name was a hoax.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that “Shark Tank’s” O’Leary invested in CBD gummies created by contestants Donna and Rosy Khalife. Rosy Khalife confirmed she and her sister have no relationship with the product. A viral article promoting the false story is a misleading advertisement. The promotional image of O’Leary with the gummies is digitally altered and there is no evidence the product is affiliated with “Shark Tank.”
Our fact-check sources:
- Rosy Khalife, July 29, Phone interview and email exchange with USA TODAY
- Surprise Ride via YouTube, Aug. 26, 2014, Donna Khalife and Rosy Khalife from Surprise Ride on Shark Tank
- Providence College, March 23, 2016, Update: Rosy Khalife ’13 and Sister Make “Shark Tank” History”
- ABC via YouTube, March 23, 2016, Surprise Ride’s Second Chance – Beyond the Tank
- Surprise Ride via// PR Newswire, March 23, 2016, Surprise Ride Makes “Shark Tank” History on ABC’s “Beyond the Tank”
- Surprise Ride, accessed July 29, About Surprise Ride
- WineAndDesignHQ, July 17, 2017, Tweet
- Heavy, Feb. 26, 2020, Wine & Design on ‘Shark Tank’ Update: Where is the Company Today?
- Lead Stories, March 19, Fact Check: Khalife Sisters Did NOT Pitch CBD Gummies On TV’s ‘Shark Tank’
Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.