Fact Check: Barbara O'Neill Or Other Celebrities Did NOT Tout Hypertension Remedy With $10,000 Guarantee -- AI-Generated Voices

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Barbara O'Neill Or Other Celebrities Did NOT Tout Hypertension Remedy With $10,000 Guarantee -- AI-Generated Voices Edited Audio

Did Barbara O'Neill guarantee that a hypertension medication will clear your vessels and cure the disease in three weeks or she will transfer $10,000 into your bank account -- and have Samuel Jackson, Jane Seymour and Tom Hanks all endorsed this treatment after it cured their hypertension? No, neither statement is true: This false promotion uses AI-generated voice-overs to put words in people's mouths. The original video footage of O'Neill - an Australian promoter of alternative health care - giving a lecture, and of three celebrity interviews, were not about curing hypertension. The fake voice-overs were detected with an AI-generated audio detection tool, as well as by comparing the altered audio to the original footage.

The video promoting a remedy (which is not named) appeared in a post (archived here) where it was published by the Facebook page "Comely rge8" on May 16, 2024. The post is not captioned, but does contain a 'Learn More' link:

If you have high blood pressure, see it urgently! -- bluebellpanoramic

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:


(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed May 22 14:48:04 2024 UTC)

Fake news segments

In the screenshot below from the Meta Ad Library, alternative versions of this video linking to the website placketscrunchier.com are sponsored by the Facebook page "Good metabolism." Each altered clip begins with footage of a news host; Kaitlan Collins, Jonathan Lemire, Joe Concha, Wolf Blitzer, Tucker Carlson, Anderson Cooper, and Lawrence O'Donnell -- all supposedly promoting this remedy, with AI-generated voices and scripts that do not match the mouth movements of the original footage.

(Image source: Meta Ad Library screenshot taken on Wed May 22 20:43:27 2024 UTC)

Another page "Comely rge8" has five ads running at the time of writing on May 22, 2024. These ads feature fake news segments with Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, and Sean Hannity, and link to the website bluebellpanoramic.com.


One video promotion begins with a clip of Fox News host Laura Ingraham. Her voice has been duplicated with an AI text-to-speech program. The fake voice says:

An American doctor has created a medication that permanently cures hypertension in just three weeks. She is so confident in the results that she will pay $10,000 if the medication does not help you. Watch the exclusive video where she talks about her invention

The fake chyron (below right) reads:

Fox News
She will pay you $10,000 if you don't cure your hypertension
Breaking News


(Image source: Lead Stories composite image with Fox News and Facebook screenshots taken on Wed May 22 19:15:55 2024 UTC)

This footage of Laura Ingraham was part of a November 28, 2023 broadcast posted on the Fox News website (above left) and had nothing to do with a hypertension remedy. The real chyron read:

Fox News
Left doing nothing to stop the flow of illegals
The Angle Alert

Fake whiteboard text

The text on Barbara O'Neill's whiteboard (below right) has been digitally edited. This is not her handwriting. It reads:


A reverse image search with Google Lens pointed to an Instagram account where a video posted on May 3, 2024, shows O'Neill wearing the same outfit and lecturing at the same whiteboard. In the real video, she was talking about dietary fats and cholesterol, not hypertension or a remedy backed by a $10,000 guarantee. The composite image shows two images of the whiteboard. The Instagram video (left) shows what O'Neill had actually written in her own hand during this lecture.


(Image source: Lead Stories composite image with Instagram and Facebook screenshots taken on Wed May 22 15:10:15 2024 UTC)

AI-generated voices

Lead Stories took a clip from this video of O'Neill speaking and used the AI-generated content detection tool at Hive Moderation to test the audio. The input was determined to be 99.9 percent likely to be AI generated.


(Image source: Hivemoderation.com screenshot taken on Wed May 22 15:10:15 2024 UTC)

At 2:30 minutes into the false promotional video, there are three fake celebrity endorsements, from Samuel L. Jackson, Jane Seymour, and Tom Hanks. The video footage was sourced from previous interviews, and as with the hijacked video of O'Neill's lecture, the celebrity voices have been AI-generated to resemble their voices and to follow a promotional script.

In the original interviews, identified with Google Lens Reverse image searches, the subject of hypertension was not discussed. Samuel L. Jackson's interview with Charlie Rose was posted on YouTube on January 6, 2016. He was talking about working with Quentin Tarantino for the film "Django Unchained." On November 6, 2019, Jane Seymour was a guest on the Collider podcast and was talking about getting a role in the movie "Wedding Crashers." Tom Hanks was on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" to talk about the film "A Man Called Otto," and the video was posted to YouTube on January 10, 2023.

Lead Stories made short .mp4 clips of each fake celebrity endorsement and tested each individually in the hive moderation tool. Jackson and Seymour's clips registered 100 percent likely, and Hanks' registered 99.9 percent likely to have been AI generated.


(Image source: Lead Stories composite image with Facebook and Hivemoderation.com screenshots taken on Wed May 22 17:51:38 2024 UTC)

Sketchy websites -- Where is the hook?

The Facebook ads link to the websites placketscrunchier.com and bluebellpanoramic.com. At the time of writing these websites are only 30 days old. The Whois record shows placketscrunchier.com and bluebellpanoramic.com were both registered on April 22, 2024. The links open to pages titled, "If You Have High Blood Pressure, Watch Now!" -- But there is no video, just a photo of freshly picked cucumbers and a short blurb about purported health benefits of this food.

The forward facing landing page of these websites do not say anything about Barbara O'Neill or have any apparent sales pages. The page is also not currently running any ads. It is not currently clear what the motivation is to create this false promotion for an unnamed product that does not appear to be for sale.


(Image source: Screenshots from placketscrunchier.com and bluebellpanoramic.com taken on Wed May 22 20:00:38 2024 UTC)

Additional Lead Stories fact checks on claims by and about Barbara O'Neill can be found here.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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