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.
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 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.