Jenny McCarthy: When Celebrity Advocacy Turns Deadly

Jenny McCarthy has really done it this time. This is much worse than pretending to eat her own vomit or faking orgasms. When she became one of the most vocal opponents of the CDC, she became party to what amounts to biological terrorism. For decades, the childhood vaccination program has prevented children from contracting serious and sometimes deadly diseases. Yet, McCarthy believes that these vaccines are unsafe and the reason her son is autistic.

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In a Time Magazine article last year, she announced that she would rather her son contract a potentially life-threatening disease than be autistic (I apologize now to any autistic adults that may be reading this for I can imagine how offensive that is). The problem is, there is no proof that vaccines cause autism. Celebrities mean well. Whether they are trying to free Mumia or inform us that 9/11 was the first time in history that fire melted steel, they desperately want to “do good” so that we don’t stop paying attention to them.
“I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their f___ing fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s s___. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism…If you ask a parent of an autistic child if they want the measles or the autism, we will stand in line for the f___ing measles.”

I don’t ever remember Jenny calling me, or any of my friends, to see if we’d rather have children with measles or autistic children. Many of us would prefer she just stopped talking about autism altogether. She is not brave, nor is she any kind of warrior mom. She is simply a misguided attention-seeker. Before she went public with her son being autistic, she announced that he was a “crystal child:”
“The day I found out I was an adult Indigo will stay with me forever. I was walking hand in hand with my son down a Los Angeles street when this woman approached me and said, ‘You’re an Indigo and your son is a Crystal.’ I immediately replied, ‘Yes!’ and the woman smiled at me and walked away.”

Based on this chance encounter, McCarthy started a website for Indigo Moms (mother’s of crystal children) and dreamed of a school where each child would start the day in silent meditation, eat in organic cafeterias and attend lessons outdoors. Unfortunately, Jenny gave up this attitude when she went public with her son’s autistic diagnosis. The Indigo crap may be far fetched, but it was harmless. She has since taken down her IndigoMom.com website—however, perhaps due to the bizarre nature of this subject matter, many bloggers and browsers have this info readily available if you know where to look. Here is some more in case you are interested:
“Being the Indigo I am, I do know I have taken on the biggest task anyone could try to accomplish in one lifetime. I have no doubt in my mind you will be watching me do this for the rest of my life, until I can barely hold myself up with my walker.”

McCarthy must have seen that this movement was not taking off like she had hoped. Then in May of 2007, announced that her son was autistic. She blamed his autism on childhood vaccines without any real scientific evidence, based on her “mommy instinct.” While “mommy instinct” might be useful in determining whether your child actually brushed his teeth or not, it is not the best tool to use when formulating complex scientific hypotheses. Sadly, this message took hold and people stopped vaccinating their children.

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Thanks to the anti-vaccine movement that heralded Ms. McCarthy as one of their most vocal leaders, whooping cough is back with a vengeance. In California alone, the number of cases has risen to its highest point since 1955. Los Angeles Unified School District sent out a recorded message to all families this month warning of an epidemic. 10 babies have already died of whooping cough in California this year alone. The saddest part is that all of these deaths were preventable.

Recently, McCarthy was asked if she would ever pose for Playboy again. She claims that if they would donate $2 million to an autism charity, then she would do it. The problem is that $2 million to her type of autism charity would inadvertently go towards more children dying. I’m begging Jenny to stop. Here is my plea:
Dear Ms. McCarthy,

I can honestly say that you are a beautiful woman with a fantastic figure. You have managed to use those charms to make a wonderful career for yourself. However, you turned those charms into dangerous weapons when you took on autism and childhood vaccines. You are part of a risky message that makes parents so afraid of autism that they will risk their child’s life to avoid it. I’m begging you to change your message.

Sincerely,
Dana Commandatore

I hope her ego doesn’t get in the way of doing the right thing. It’s true that autism needs attention but not the kind that McCarthy delivers. She feels that autism is worse than diseases that kill (yes Jenny, measles can be deadly). Despite the overwhelming evidence that there is no link between vaccines and autism, her message persists.

There are real world consequences when celebrities decide to make a difference. Many good charities get overlooked or worse, children get sick and die from the pseudo-scientific advice that Ms. McCarthy is peddling. Make jokes about dirty diapers and bootie calls, but leave the serious stuff to the pros.

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