There's a pretty hard to believe item in today's New York Post claiming that the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project (CFAP) not only exists, but that its supporters are picketing Oprah events in Canada this week because the billionaire media mogul endorsed a beauty product containing chemicals that come from human foreskin cells.
It's completely true, though. On an episode of her show from at least 9 years ago (it's possible she's mentioned it again since), Oprah endorsed Skinmedica's anti-aging TNS Recovery Complex, containing Tissue Nutrient Solution, which is derived from cells of the foreskin. On its website, Skinmedica describes it as "Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media (TNS®)," a "physiologically balanced, naturally secreted and stabilized growth factor blend that helps improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and overall skin tone and texture."
CFAP first went after Oprah in January 2013 when she made a public appearance in Vancouver, where the advocacy group is based. CFAP is in the Canadian press again this week as Oprah attends speaking engagements in Ottowa, Montreal, and Hamilton.
They feel that Oprah's endorsement of the product is hypocritical given her opposition of female genital mutilation, something she once dedicated an entire episode of her show to. “How would Oprah respond if a skin cream for men hit the market that was made using cells from the genitalia of little girls?” Glen Callender, founder of the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project, told the Toronto Star. According to its website, CFAP's main objectives are to "educate Canadians about the splendid and very worthwhile collection of sex organs collectively known as the foreskin" and "lobby the Canadian courts and government to amend the Canadian Criminal Code, which currently protects only female minors from medically unnecessary genital cutting, to also protect male minors."
While it doesn't explicitly say the word "foreskin" on labels or on its website, SkinMedica founder Dr. Richard Fitzpatrick told San Diego CityBeat in 2010 that the company intentionally stopped mentioning it because "Initially, there was a misunderstanding and people thought we were actually grinding up the foreskin." The article also confirms that, at the time, the company's supply of foreskin cells had been acquired over 20 years before.
We've reached out to SkinMedica for comment and will report back if we hear more.
CFAP's next Oprah protest is planned for tomorrow in Hamilton. You can watch a pretty interesting video from the first protest below.