Fact Check: Barbara O'Neill, Other Celebrities Did NOT Promote Arthritis Management Strategies With $10,000 Guarantee -- AI-Generated Voices

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Barbara O'Neill, Other Celebrities Did NOT Promote Arthritis Management Strategies With $10,000 Guarantee -- AI-Generated Voices AI Voices

Did controversial naturopath Barbara O'Neill give a $10,000 guarantee for her arthritis pain management strategies and were they endorsed by director Bruce Beresford, tennis star Margaret Court, and author David Malouf? No, that's not true: A false promotion of an herbal remedy that supposedly cured their joint pain used AI-generated voice-overs to put words in people's mouths. The fake voice-overs were detected with AI-generated audio detection tools plus obvious visual clues like mouths not moving in synchronization with words spoken.

The claim appeared in a post and video (archived here) published on Facebook on May 23, 2024. It opened:

🚨Suffering from symptoms like fatigue, joint pain, and stiffness?
✅Dr. Barbara O'Neill's comprehensive guide to arthritis management provides strategies to prevent complications in crucial joints like hips and knees, offering relief from stiffness and swelling while enhancing joint functionality.

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


(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Jun 10 14:05:36 2024 UTC)

The video

The four-minute clip opens, showing Fox News host Jesse Watters. The voice, terribly mismatched with the movement of his lips, says:

Arthritis, gout and osteoporosis will go away forever in three weeks. Here's what Dr. Barbara O'Neill had to say. She created a medicine that treats joint diseases at any age in three weeks.

Fox News Channel

Lead Stories reached out to the Fox News Channel (FNC), where Watters works, to see if the purported story was shown on the network. In a June 10, 2024, email, FNC spokesperson Connor Smith said:

I can confirm this did not air on Jesse Watters Primetime.

After Watters, the video goes on to feature O'Neill, a controversial wellness coach, along with supposed testimonials from director Bruce Beresford, tennis star Margaret Court and author David Malouf. All four are Australians. As with Watters, the lip movements of these individuals do not match what they're saying.



To verify the authenticity of the video, Lead Stories ran it through an online tool called the DeepFake-o-meter (archived here), hosted by The University of Buffalo's Media Forensic Lab, which focuses on "the forensic analysis of digital media." The following screenshot shows the results after the clip was run through seven separate video detectors connected to the site. Five of the seven tools found the video was likely AI-generated:


(Source: DeepFake-o-meter website screenshot taken on Mon Jun 19 21:00:43 2024 UTC)


In addition, Lead Stories stripped the audio from the video and ran it through the deepfake tool. Four of the five audio tools used in the DeepFake-o-meter's analysis concluded that the voices were very likely AI-generated. The screenshot appears below:


(Source: DeepFake-o-meter website screenshot taken on Mon Jun 19 21:10:53 2024 UTC)

Resemble AI

Another AI audio detection tool, called Resemble AI, also said the voices were "Fake":

Resenble Detect.png

(Source: Resemble AI website screenshot taken on Mon Jun 10 21:10:53 2024 UTC)

Barbara O'Neill

O'Neill is well-known in the alternative medicine community but was sanctioned by Australia's New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) in 2019. A statement from the HCCC, following an investigation, said:

The Commission is satisfied that Mrs O'Neill poses a risk to the health or safety of members of the public. The Commission therefore makes the following prohibition order:

  • Mrs O'Neill is permanently prohibited from providing any health services, as defined in s4 of the Health Care Complaints Act 1993 (the Act), whether in a paid or voluntary capacity.

Read more

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

Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims related to deepfakes can be found here.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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