‘I stung Gwyneth Paltrow‘ explores the use of bee stings as a form of skin treatment, a practise that involves killing the bees, which the actress has revealed she has tried.
Paltrow and her company Goop have in the past been criticised for selling various alternative, and often downright bizarre, health treatments that have no scientific basis or any form of appreciable effect on health or wellbeing. On 24 January, she launches a new series on Netflix, ‘the goop lab’, which the broadcaster says will ‘look at psychedelics, energy work and other challenging wellness topics’.
“Like many celebrities’ companies, a component of Goop’s strategy is to imply that by purchasing its products, one might become as attractive and successful as the celebrities themselves,” said Professor Chittka, a bee expert at Queen Mary University of London.
In the video, an obsessive Paltrow fan (played by the actress Jessie Jetski) buys into this sales pitch and follows the actress’ steps of bee sting beauty treatment, until things take a turn for the worse when the bees invade the character’s nightmares.
‘Like a horror B-movie’
Professor Chittka and film director John Clay jointly conceived the video which is deliberately crafted like a horror B-movie. The song comes from the album ‘Strange Flowers‘ by Chittka and his band Killer Bee Queens, which is dedicated to the strange world of bees.
The song lyrics, written by Chittka, takes the vantage point of a bee slayed on the altar of the celebrity’s beauty, and borrows heavily from biblical phrases of sin, sacrifice, and divine retribution.
Professor Chittka said: “In a time when the global plight of bees is daily news, the last thing we need are celebrities using their influence to advocate the killing of bees as a skin treatment.
“Such recommendations stand side-by-side with the anti-science stance popularised by leading politicians claiming that climate change is a hoax, or that vaccines cause autism. Rather than being simply innocent forms of ignorance, such stances are downright harmful. They perpetuate the view that there are somehow better truths to be had than those delivered by experts, typically with disastrous consequences – except for the bank accounts of those who stand to benefit from people’s credulity.”
The music video can be viewed on Youtube, and the Killer Bee Queen’s music can heard at https://killerbeequeens.bandcamp.com/releases, with all the proceeds from the album going to invertebrate conservation charity Buglife to help endangered bee species.