Age of Autism get annoyed at Amanda Peet

15 Jul

Remember last week when actress Amanda Peet gave a few people some home truths?

Once we had spoken, I was shocked at the amount of misinformation floating around, particularly in Hollywood,” says Peet, who quickly boned up on the hot-button controversies surrounding the topic, including the unproven link between certain vaccines and autism; the safety of preservatives like mercury-based thimerosal; and the fear that the relatively high number of shots kids receive today can overwhelm young immune systems. Her conclusion? Well, not only is Frankie up-to-date on her vaccines (with no staggering), but her mom will soon appear in public-service announcements for Every Child by Two. “I buy 99 percent organic food for Frankie, and I don’t like to give her medicine or put sunscreen on her,” says Peet. “But now that I’ve done my research, vaccines do not concern me.” What does concern her is the growing number of unvaccinated children who are benefiting from the “shield” created by the inoculated—we are protected from viruses only if everyone, or most everyone, is immunized: “Frankly, I feel that parents who don’t vaccinate their children are parasites.”

Well, today, Age of Autism posted a blog entry that gave full vent to their response:

…you have no idea who you are messing with. You have never seen the power of our numbers, our anger, our commitment, and our conviction. At present, you really have no dog in this fight.

Quite apart from the overtly threatening tone, I would like to remind these people that of _course_ Ms Peet has a ‘dog in this fight’. Everyone does. The collective health of us all clearly affects everyone. Parents who blog on Age of Autism and who blog about Gardasil have ‘no dog in that fight’ according to AoA logic.

The blog post contains one amusing little faux pas:

Ms. Peet’s decision to work with them [CDC] is analogous to the scientists in the 1950s who chose to assert that cigarettes do not cause lung cancer and work closely with Philip Morris to do so…

This is the same blog that continues to trumpet the opinion of Bernadine Healy who actually _did_ assert that cigarettes do not cause cancer and worked closely with Philip Morris to do so. Its either stupidity or a purposeful attempt to obfuscate the truth, I couldn’t possibly say.

The blog post closes with the contact details of Ms Peets advisors, along with the further threat:

…your client has chosen to align herself with him [Paul Offit]. In doing so, Ms. Peet puts herself directly in the line of fire.

If you wish to support Ms Peet’s stance, which I believe is a good one for both public health _and_ which will have a positive impact on autism in terms of moving on from this increasingly desperate and nasty campaign to convince the world vaccines cause autism, then please leave a comment in the comments section of this post, or email me (kevleitchATgmailDOTcom).

I can assure you that unlike the emails that will be sent using the details provided by the AoA blog, your comments will definitely be seen by Ms Peet.

Additional: There’s a nice piece on Amanda Peet and vaccines in today.

25 Responses to “Age of Autism get annoyed at Amanda Peet”

  1. Bink July 15, 2008 at 22:15 #

    I appreciate Ms. Peet’s speaking out and would like to thank her, and also assure her that the AoA types are a very, VERY small subset of autism parents. Please do not assume that most of us agree with them. Most of us want the focus of autism research to be on improved education, services, and respect for autistic citizens.

  2. Sullivan July 15, 2008 at 22:26 #

    Thank you Amanda Peet! Also, I am sorry for those comments, even though I didn’t make them. Not all of use autism parents are Generation-Rescue types.

  3. Alex Plank July 15, 2008 at 23:27 #

    It’s great to see another celebrity speaking out in support of common sense.

    Kevin, Brilliant post! Appreciate the bit about Bernadine Healy!

  4. Maddy July 15, 2008 at 23:40 #

    I’m reluctant to add my name as I really don’t like this analogy of ‘war’ between two conflicting parties. I’d much rather that we could all just ‘get along’ better and be more tolerant of differing perspectives in a civilized manner.

    I also wish that the dialogue would be less divisive.

    That said sometimes I have to step out of fairy land.

    Best wishes Ms. Peet

  5. brstpathdoc July 15, 2008 at 23:53 #

    We salute your welcome candor in restoring sanity to the vaccine issue, vis a vis a celebrity stance. Never let the petty thuggery of strident cranks dissuade you from speaking out for the good of children.

  6. Bunny July 16, 2008 at 00:16 #

    Amanda Peet is brave as hell. I hope she’s got a good sense of humor–she’s going to need one to deal with these vicious AoA kooks.

  7. CS July 16, 2008 at 00:21 #

    Is it me or do the AoA bunch seem very similar to the Pro-Life folks in their use of metaphors? I’m afraid someone will be killed one day by these people.

  8. Phil Schwarz July 16, 2008 at 00:22 #

    Thank you, Amanda Peet, for joining us in standing up to the bullies in our neighborhood.

  9. Patrick July 16, 2008 at 00:27 #

    “You have never seen the power of our numbers…” And I highly doubt we ever will.

    That’s right, we are still waiting for your great powers to bring the OAP to completion and prove even ONE of the three theories of causation.

    We are still waiting for your research bodies to produce material that is acceptable in the vaccine court and for peer review in the mainstream.

    You might have 9 gigawatts of hot air to drive your fantasies flux capacitor but your real power against the force of the condition called autism just hasn’t panned out yet, has it?

    Don’t try to show your superiority with the threatsa and juvenile acts of vandalism documented against Dr Offit and others, those would be described as criminal acts, not as efforts to fight the good fight.

  10. Mekei July 16, 2008 at 00:56 #

    Thank you Amanda Peet. A sane voice arises from Hollywood – finally.

  11. Unhinged People are Dangerous July 16, 2008 at 01:15 #

    Amanda Peet and her husband and the organizations they want to work with are liable to have lawyers who can contact the editors of aoa and inquire if what they made was a death threat against her to stop her from stating her views.

  12. Bev July 16, 2008 at 03:05 #

    Thank you, Ms. Peet. I hope you will not be discouraged by the threatening tones of the conspiracy theorists. Your words on this matter are very much appreciated.

  13. HCN July 16, 2008 at 04:08 #

    Having a health impaired baby who depended on herd immunity that had been eroded away by those choosing to not vaccinate… Thank you, Ms. Peet for speaking out!

  14. qchan63 July 16, 2008 at 06:05 #

    “You have never seen the power of our numbers, our anger, our commitment, and our conviction.”

    Feh. Save your wind. If anyone should be angry, it’s the autistic people and family members of autistic people (and i count myself among that number) who constantly are hearing these self-righteous zealots describe those with autism — often their own children — as “damaged” or “poisoned” or the like.

    That is hopelessly misguided and, in my opinion, deeply immoral.

    So many, many thanks to Amanda Peet for her grace, intelligence and willingness to speak out; she strikes a blow not only for public health but for the dignity of our kids and all autistic people.

    Interesting to note that Sigourney Weaver, a Stanford grad, has been a vocal champion of autism acceptance, and now Amanda Peet, a Columbia grad (go Lions!), is daring to dispute the vaccine=autism orthodoxy. And then there’s Jenny McCarthy …

  15. isles July 16, 2008 at 06:05 #

    It’s incredibly refreshing to finally hear from someone who went to Hollywood and didn’t leave her common sense at some diner along the way!

    Ms. Peet, you’re brave and you’re in the right. You’re doing a great thing for children, autistic and otherwise.

  16. isles July 16, 2008 at 07:49 #

    Actually, Susan, it is you who is wrong.

    Your LLM and your husband’s engineering degree don’t confer on you any special resistance to the logic block that afflicts some parents of autistic kids. They get it in their heads that vaccines must be involved, and can’t get past it, in spite of overwhelming evidence. Apparently this has happened to you.

    I don’t believe that your doctors agree that your children were made autistic by vaccines, unless you take them to some enterprising doc who’s figured out it’s easy to get business by sucking up to parents who think they’re smarter than the average AAP member. More likely your doctors are humoring you to keep you from stomping off and placing your kids in the clutches of some chiropractor or homeopath.

    There is no science supporting anti-vaccine claims. Only sciencey-sounding woo. They’re easily confused by people who want very badly to be able to blame vaccines.

    Parasites is exactly the right word for people who coast on other people’s willingness to get their kids vaccinated for the sake of their own health AND that of others. Does it sting? If it does, it means down deep you know it’s true.

  17. Catherina July 16, 2008 at 11:06 #

    I second Bunny and CS.

    Well done Ms Peet!

  18. Dawn July 16, 2008 at 11:28 #

    Ms Peet: Thank you for making a stand and being both intelligent in your research and vocal in your findings. It’s very refreshing to hear about the celebrity families who think with their brains.

    Best of health and good wishes to you and your family.

  19. Jen July 16, 2008 at 12:17 #

    Ms. Peet-

    Thank you so much for speaking out on this issue. I’m sure that you are going to take a lot of heat for it, but as the parent of 3 autistic children, I thank you. It’s so important that our time, energy and money go towards enabling our children to live the most full lives that they can, instead of wasting all of this energy on anti-vaccine nonsense that has been disproved by actual science time and time again.

    I admire your bravery in speaking up- thank you, and please know that your efforts are worthwhile.


  20. Oldfart July 16, 2008 at 13:01 #

    Ms. Peet – I whole-heartedly support your research and conclusions in this matter and hope you have the courage to carry on. These people (the anti-vaxers) can get very nasty but keep your head up – there are many of us behind you!

  21. Club 166 July 16, 2008 at 14:29 #

    Ms. Peet,

    Thank you for both listening to reason, as well as having the guts to speak out on this issue. As both a physician and a parent to a child with autism, I feel that not only is all the energy devoted to the “vaccines cause autism” idea grossly wasted, it is also harmful to the population as a whole.

    My apologies (on behalf of the majority of parents of children with autism) for all the heat you are taking and will take from a misguided vocal minority.


  22. Emily July 16, 2008 at 20:18 #

    Ms. Peet: Kudos to you, not necessarily for having common sense (which you do), but for having the courage to come out and say what people with common sense already know. You are probably by now aware that anger and helplessness are in the driver’s seat for many people who want to blame vaccines for their child’s autism, and it is dignified and brave of you to stand up in the face of that and state the facts, coolly and clearly.

    As you can see, there is much in the way of anger and threats from the folks who disagree with you, but little to nothing in the way of facts to counter what you say. Bless you for your courage and sensibility. For any number of reasons, your imprimatur on the side of sense carries far more weight than the opinions of someone with a degree from “Google U” advocating for hysteria.

  23. Doctor Doom July 18, 2008 at 10:22 #

    Thanks go out to Amanda Peet who took the great parenting step of actually contacting an expert on the topic of vaccines (Dr. Offit of CHOP, of course – the “guy who wrote the book”) in order to get a better handle on an issue that can be confusing these days for a parent trying to do the right thing for their child. Then she took the extra step of actually discussing her decision and beliefs with an interviewer and got the message out that somebody in the entertainment industry believes in the reality that vaccines and autism are not related. Wow.

    Thank you again, Ms. Peet!

  24. Sharon July 18, 2008 at 10:41 #

    Thank you Amanda Peet from another mum with an autistic child. I want all children to be healthy and protected and the rise in measles is very worrying. I’m also fed up with the horrid “toxic child” talk that the autism-vaccines crowd engage it.

    It’s time to engage in the real issues.
    Don’t let the nasty talk get you down.


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