Jenny McCarthy: A health menace that needs to do penance (UPDATE)

Yesterday, the story about Jenny McCarthy’s son actually not having autism was making rounds on social media and being sent to us at DN. But the story was from 2010. We were unsure why it started up again. (Make sure you look at the date for stories before sharing them as “news”. We’ve learned OUR lesson on that.) The web has a strange way of resurrecting older stories as new. They seem to hit a stride and take off all over again. I suspect it was due to a Reddit posting of the old story. But thanks to helpful @LizardInCrimson on Twitter, we found at one source that was promoting the old story as well.

Changing Her View? Jenny McCarthy Abandons Controversial Position On Vaccines And Says Her Son May Not Have Autism After All! | Radar Online.

This article, posted January 4, 2014 was poorly sourced and confusing, noting the Time interview from 2010 was ‘new’, but it still contained info noting that Jenny’s anti-vaccination views gave her a reputation as a health menace and may have damaged her career. So, she is changing her tune. The Radar article notes she now wants vaccines to be better studied, not banned (they provide no source for that).

For whatever reason the story resurfaced, it’s a good opportunity to bring up the fact that autism is not caused by vaccines and Jenny was ABSOLUTELY WRONG in promoting this claim. Also, it’s a great lesson for NOT listening to celebrities spout nonsense they have no qualifications to talk about. She has undoubtedly done great damage to the public perception of vaccines and should not be trusted to counsel the public on anything since she has zero experience. Chicago Now blog posted this about her misguided activism.

Jenny McCarthy autism recovery.

Jenny McCarthy believed in a cure for her son’s autism. She fought for what she believed and hoped to be possible. The former Playmate and bomb shell potty mouth used her platform to make a difference as the world’s most well renowned advocate for autism.

McCarthy identified her son’s autism as the result of vaccines he received. She made a lot of controversial noise and even influenced some parents not to vaccinate their children. When our son experienced delays, I trusted medical professionals. I got more information from doctors and therapists.

Jenny McCarthy’s assertion that her son is scientific evidence to prove her argument doesn’t hold weight for me.

Some hypothesize Jenny McCarthy’s son may have Landau-Kleffner syndrome. It’s a neurological disorder that may cause speech impairment and brain damage in children. They say her son never had autism. Others may explain her son’s supposed recovery as simply a delayed child catching-up by age seven.

So now Jenny is backing off on the vaccinations thing a bit. See her wikipedia entry for a full history of her activism and the backlash. She still believes that since she wrote three books about the subject, she doesn’t have to discuss it now. But she does. She needs to admit to the public how mistaken she was. About everything. Only then will any bit of respect return to the many who will forever think of her as a public health menace.

UPDATE: Jenny responds on her facebook page and denies what was reported.

Stories circulating online, claiming that I said my son Evan may not have autism after all, are blatantly inaccurate and completely ridiculous. Evan was diagnosed with autism by the Autism Evaluation Clinic at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital and was confirmed by the State of California (through their Regional Center). The implication that I have changed my position, that my child was not initially diagnosed with autism (and instead may suffer from Landau-Kleffner Syndrome), is both irresponsible and inaccurate. These stories cite a “new” Time Magazine interview with me, which was actually published in 2010, that never contained any such statements by me. Continued misrepresentations, such as these, only serve to open wounds of the many families who are courageously dealing with this disorder. Please know that I am taking every legal measure necessary to set this straight.

I guess this is what we get from celebrity news sources too. Looks like she has not changed her position in public though she has clearly moved off public discrediting of vaccines. In a side note, someone posted the link to this story with the quote about her admitting she was mistaken to regain credibility.

  5 comments for “Jenny McCarthy: A health menace that needs to do penance (UPDATE)

  1. Angela
    January 4, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    Remember when I said that I was saving my ‘celebrities promoting BS’ rant for another day?

    I have an autistic child that is in the moderate/severe spectrum, diagnosed at age 2 1/2. My first questions started with ‘why’ and I began to do research. Of course I had questions when I saw some of the hype saying that vaccinations were causing autism. The misinformation that was (is) out there regarding vaccinations and autism diagnosis is astounding. And no one has done more to spread that misinformation than Jenny McCarthy.

    Those of us that experience raising a child with a disability do NOT need this crap. We need answers, and those answers are not easily obtained as it is–and some may remain mysteries. That I can accept. What I cannot accept are irresponsible, self-righteous, misinformed, famous personalities causing actual harm by saying that vaccinations are in any way related to autism. Measles had been nearly eradicated in this country–not anymore and I feel she, and others who stood behind her for this, are largely responsible.

    However, we as human beings have to be responsible as well for getting better information. This means do NOT listen to celebrities. Listen to the ones that have done the actual work to find answers. We can’t be so anxious to need an explanation that we will allow ourselves to listen to one that is made up. I searched for further answers and came to the conclusion that vaccinations did not cause my daughter’s autism. Unfortunately, there are many who listen to these celebrities simply because they are well known..and that type of thinking has to stop.

  2. January 4, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    my own doctors point out to me that finding a diagnosis is often a long difficult process. Symptoms can be confusing, they progress over time, treatments are tried and discarded. Mainstream medicine is very imperfect and indeed often brutally honest about how hard it is to make a diagnosis, and doctors try to promise no more than they can deliver. So much easier to go with alternative medicine that claims “Cures” , and also gives you someone to blame. Of course the blame goes to the medical community or GMO foods or wheat or whatever. I always felt slightly horrified by JM as she seemed to stick a “NOT NORMAL MUST BE FIXED” sticker on her son. the treatments she inflicted on her son, including some sort of horrific purging process, made me cringe. As the mother of a disabled child, acceptance that we’re all “unique” and helping my child feel she’s as normal as anyone else (trust me if JM thinks she’s the definition of “normal” she’s wrong)… is my job. Not “fixing” her or assigning blame.

    • Angela
      January 4, 2014 at 4:41 PM

      Very well said. The attitude that children who are in any way unique need to be ‘fixed’ is one that grinds my gears all the time..I’ve had to experience it in my own family. JM would like to sweep it under the rug, and I for one agree that she should have to answer to WAY more than saying ‘oops, sorry’.

  3. January 4, 2014 at 6:42 PM

    Jenny McCarthy has come out today, claiming the Time Magazine article is wrong and she never claimed her son didn’t have autism.

    http://www.generationrescue.org/latest-news/recovery/jenny-mccarthy-s-official-statement/

    EDIT: Sorry, didn’t see you had already updated the story with this information.

  4. Captain Bee Fart
    January 6, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    McCarthy has a hell of nerve using a phrase like “irresponsible and inaccurate” in light of all the damage her ignorant anti-vax crusade has caused.

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