Celebrities who visited and promoted John of God are distancing themselves from the Brazilian faith healer now that more than 200 people have accused him of sexual abuse. The “psychic surgeon,” real name João Teixeira de Faria, rose to global prominence when he was profiled by Oprah Winfrey back in 2010.
The talk-show host then aired an interview with him in 2013, saying she felt “something very strong. It went way beyond what I expected. I thought I was going to faint.”
The Oprah stamp of approval turned Faria’s small town into an international mecca for the crippled and diseased seeking his “psychic surgeries.” Those gullible disciples may regret their pilgrimages.
In a statement earlier this week, Winfrey said, “I empathize with the women now coming forward and hope justice is served.”
Paul Simon told NPR in September that he visited John of God because he’d been having violent dreams since he was a child. But Simon said the healer failed to heal him.
“He didn’t really have anything that fixed it, if that’s the right word,” Simon said.
Naomi Campbell visited John of God one day in 2015, flying by private plane from Sao Paulo. A photo of the supermodel smiling next to the mystic was posted on Facebook. But her reps didn’t answer my queries as to why she visited and whether she regrets it.
A 2014 profile of John of God in the Sydney Morning Herald reported that John of God’s right-hand man and translator, Diego Coppola, mentioned that Bill Clinton had also come for treatment. “Well, that’s the rumor, anyway,” Coppola said.
Several victims spoke about the alleged abuse on Brazilian TV last weekend, and since then hundreds more claims have been filed with local authorities. Faria has denied the allegations.
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