burn baby burn

The Vagina Candle Continues to Sow Discord

Beware! Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Goop

For more than a year now (I know) we have existed under the tyranny of Gwyneth Paltrow’s “vagina”-scented novelty candle. This $75 votive has spawned a number of enfants terriblesThis Smells Like My Orgasm; This Smells Like My Prenup; a custom This Smells Like Kourtney’s Orgasm for Travis Barker — that have kept the words “vagina candle” in the news cycle; it has also, allegedly, sparked towering infernos in multiple customers’ homes. For example: Texas resident Colby Watson contends in a new class-action lawsuit that his “Smells Like My Vagina” candle became “engulfed in high flames” the first time he lit it. Chaos reigns!

E! reports that Colby is seeking damages amounting to more than $5 million for himself and whomever else may have been personally victimized by this candle. Colby argues that “a design flaw or defect” may cause the product to “explode or suffer catastrophic failure during … normal usage,” after his combusted in an allegedly spectacular fashion. Colby says he left the candle burning for “an estimated three hours or less” when it allegedly became a fiery mass, filling the room with smoke and leaving a black burn ring on his nightstand. Apparently, the glass itself did not shatter, but it’s reportedly quite charred. Rather than suing Heretic, the candle’s maker, he is suing Goop, which batted down his claims on Tuesday.

“We’re confident this claim is frivolous and an attempt to secure an outsized payout from a press-heavy product,” reads a statement from the company. Noting that Heretic “has substantiated the product’s performance and safety through industry standard testing,” the statement added: “We stand behind the brands we carry and the safety of the products we sell.”

While Goop does include safety warnings in its product description — “DO NOT BURN FOR MORE THAN TWO HOURS AT A TIME” and “KEEP WAX POOL FREE OF DEBRIS” and “TRIM WICK TO 1/8” BEFORE EVERY LIGHTING” — Colby is not alone in his mistrust of this flammable menace. In January, Londoner Jody Thompson reported that her fancy vagina candle “exploded and emitted huge flames, with bits flying everywhere.”

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she told the Sun. “The whole thing was ablaze and it was too hot to touch. There was an inferno in the room.”

Troubling indeed, although Goop said at the time that it didn’t sell Thompson her candle, and so couldn’t verify its authenticity. Anyway, it bears remembering that candles sometimes explode — this happened inside my own home mere weeks ago! constant vigilance! — and therefore it is important to “BURN CANDLE WITHIN SIGHT” as Goop’s website advises. Possibly while wearing eye protection, in case of surprise shrapnel?

The Vagina Candle Continues to Sow Discord