Kerri Rivera. Screenshot via Brighteon
In July 2021, police in Bremerhaven, Germany raided the home of Kerri Rivera, a faux health expert whose lifelong passion is shilling chlorine dioxide, a dangerous fake treatment that she’s marketed as a cure for autism, COVID and other serious illnesses. (In reality, chlorine dioxide, which is also sometimes referred to by the name Miracle Mineral Solution, is a powerful bleaching agent that the FDA says can cause “serious and potentially life-threatening side effects” when ingested.) Rivera, whom one might have surmised to be spooked or chastened, dropped out of sight following the raid until earlier this month, when she returned to Telegram and once again began peddling bleach.
Rivera appears to do most of her business on Telegram, where she runs groups in English and Spanish, focusing on both chlorine dioxide and the supposed health benefits of a ketogenic (low-carb, high-fat) diet, which has a mixed reputation among dietary experts. She uses Telegram groups to dole out advice that’s often extremely dangerous to her followers, and to set up private consultations, charging $175 per hour for an initial consultation. After she was raided by the police, her main, predominantly English-language group was administrated by Leon Edwards, an MMS promoter from the UK who became minor news himself when his infant was taken from him and his wife over concerns that the child would ingest what social workers called “harmful alternative medication,” either directly or in his mother’s breast milk. (According to videos the couple has made, the baby has never been returned to their custody and would today be six years old.)
In early April, Edwards announced Rivera would be starting a new group, since the old one was tied to a phone the authorities had seized. “Kerri is not in this group,” he told her followers. “She used to be, that phone and computer was stolen when Kerri’s home was raided by the police (state).” Instead he linked them to a new group, which, he made clear, was still promoting Rivera’s “autism protocol,” as he called it, and chlorine dioxide specifically.
(A spokesperson for the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Bremerhaven, Germany told VICE in early April, “I can only inform you today that the prosecutor’s investigations in this case have not yet been completed.”)
Irish activist Fiona O’Leary has campaigned for a decade against the use of MMS for “treating” autism. (She’s also facing charges herself for “incitment to hatred,” brought against her by an ultra conservative Catholic group, Society of St Pius X, founded by a Holocaust denier.)
O’Leary told Motherboard she’s been monitoring Rivera’s new group, and wrote on her blog that she contacted Rivera, whom she calls a “disgusting money grabbing charlatan,” under an assumed name. Rivera agreed to set up a consultation with O’Leary, which she takes as further proof that she’s still marketing chlorine dioxide directly to parents. “I will be sending Kerri Riveras emails to the police in Germany,” she wrote. “I will never stop fighting until this BLEACH monster is prosecuted.”
Screenshots from the new group provided by O’Leary show that Rivera was asked by the parent of a three-year-old autistic child with “enlarged lymph nodes” and a cyst on his private area how to help him. Per the screenshots, she recommended the use of chlorine dioxide as well as topical applications of DMSO, another chemical compound often used in alternative medicine, and which has been wrongly touted as a cancer cure.
Even before her return to Telegram, Rivera tried to remain in the public eye: she’s been hosting a weekly show on the alternative video-sharing platfrom Brighteon, called “Champions with Kerri Rivera,” which features a variety of players in what could generously be termed the alternative health and wellness space. She’s also made a number of appearances on fringe online shows, like an appearance in early April on a program called Freedom Force Live, hosted by a COVID and elections conspiracy theorist and End Times promoter who goes by “Melissa Redpill the World.” (The show’s logo is a large Q with a lion’s face inside it, common visuals for QAnon promoters.)
In one part of the segment, Rivera reminisced about joining a Facebook group to promote chlorine dioxide in February 2012. “It was before the days of the trolls. It was really nice, it was peaceful,” Rivera said. “There was no censorship in Facebook yet. They were kind of joyful times and we could share real information.” (The work of undercover activists and public pressure got Rivera’s largest chlorine dioxide group banned from Facebook, persuaded Amazon to stop selling a book she authored, and got her videos pulled from YouTube.)
Rivera also admitted in the same interview that her child, whose autism she says caused her to start researching alternative treatments, “has not fully recovered.” (This is despite her constant insistence that her methods “cure” the autism of her clientele.)
On top of her other activities, Rivera has returned to making appearances with other faux medical experts. She’s a featured guest in an upcoming webinar hosted by Coalición Mundial Salud y Vida, or COMUSAV, which peddles MMS and other dubious treatments in Latin America. The other listed sponsoring organization for the webinar is the “Kalcker Institute.” One of COMUSAV’s co-founders and most prominent members is Andreas Kalcker, a German self-proclaimed biophysicist who’s promoted injecting bleach as a COVID treatment in Bolivia and throughout Latin America. In September 2021, Kalcker was criminally charged by Argentine authorities following the August 2020 death of a five-year-old boy who suffered multiple organ failure after his parents gave him chlorine dioxide. An Argentine source told Business Insider’s Tom Porter that Kalcker, who is believe to live in Switzerland, is charged with “illegal practice of the medical profession and selling fake medicines.”
Rivera’s webinar is in Spanish, and promises to promote the “prevention, treatment, and cure” of autism, a nonsensical claim; the causes of autism are not well-understood, and Rivera’s particular wares can’t treat, prevent or cure it. The webinar is set to be moderated by Tanya Carmona, an actor in Mexico and the United States and COMUSAV’s director of communication, according to a flyer for the event. Another webinar in early April apparently featured Rivera, Carmona, Kalcker and a woman named Dr. Giselle Barrantes, who works at a organization in Peru which claims, on an English-language Facebook page, that it’s “focused on conducting and helping research aimed at improving the quality of life of children and adults with autism.”
The raid in Germany wasn’t Rivera’s first brush with the authorities, but previous actions against her have been civil, not criminal. In 2015, the Illinois Attorney General announced that Rivera had agreed not to market her products in the state. By then, Rivera had moved to Mexico, but is believed to have relocated to Germany sometime in the past three years. In September 2020, KetoKerri, an LLC run by Rivera, got a warning letter from the FDA for marketing unapproved treatments for COVID-19. At the time, Rivera was promoting a rainbow of dubious supplements to prevent or treat the disease.
“I recommend everyone treat themselves with health-promoting anti-viral measures as a way of killing any low-level virus they may be incubating and also to avoid unknowingly spreading the pathogen to a more vulnerable population—like the old and sick,” she wrote, according to the FDA. “My anti-viral protocols will be helpful … whether or not you are a silent carrier of Corona Virus.”
Activists monitoring her movements wonder if her renewed Spanish-language focus, as well as the company she’s keeping with a rogue’s gallery of Latin America’s most prominent bleach peddlers, indicate that she’s moved back to Mexico or elsewhere in Latin America.
Rivera did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Motherboard. She has an all-purpose response to the press on her website, which reads, in part, “I receive a large number of interview requests from early or stalled career reporters who have no background in health care, medicine or working with autistic children who want to talk with me about ‘toxic bleach.’ To call chlorine dioxide ‘toxic bleach’ is fraud, pure and simple.” She has also long claimed, on the same page, to have hired a private investigator to document the work of reporters and activists “spreading misinformation” about chlorine dioxide.
“It appears that some of these reporters have been actively coordinating with abusive Internet trolls who have been caught harassing families of children with autism,” Rivera’s statement reads. “We expect that when the details of these relationship reach public awareness—and they will—that some reporters will lose jobs and even careers over this.”