Mark Blaxill attempts to support Andrew Wakefield?

20 Feb

As most have now gathered, Andrew Wakefield’s career in the UK is finished. However, the PR machine keeps spinning in the USA as a new fascinating web piece from Brian Deer reveals.

Brian tells the story of how Max Clifford’s daughter – who works for her father – had apparently been ready to take on Andrew Wakefield as a client:

They are looking to take us on for a few months…

However, her father – who previously refused to work with Michael Jackson – had other ideas:

It’s my company, and my daughter works for me, he said

We are not involved, and we will not get involved unless they are backed by top medical experts…

Heh. Not much chance of _that_ happening.

During the piece Brian discovers who might be financing Andrew Wakefield’s about-face in the public eye. He suggests a couple of names to Clifford’s daughter who confirms the participation of one Mark Blaxill:

…she appeared to take the bait over Blaxill. “Right, Mark. Okay. Mark is…” But then she paused to ask: “Brian, what’s your background?

Amazing that someone who was preparing to work with Brian Deer didn’t know who Brian Deer was but more interesting to me was the possibility that Mark Blaxill was preparing to fund Max Clifford’s PR firm to try and rehabilitate Andrew Wakefield’s public image. Go read the whole thing, its pretty interesting.

9 Responses to “Mark Blaxill attempts to support Andrew Wakefield?”

  1. Clay February 20, 2010 at 21:36 #

    “Observers say that the doctor may now be the victim of a domino effect, which threatens to see him lose his fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists, which he obtained in 2001 on the basis of a submission of his publications, and potentially cause the collapse of a new celebrity-led American anti-vaccine movement.”

    One can only hope! Take cover, Jim and Jenny! Too bad they let you step out onto a limb to publicize the monkey study, even though they knew it was going to be withdrawn soon.

  2. Science Mom February 20, 2010 at 21:57 #

    “What Carol’s concerned about, and obviously Andrew, is presenting the facts as they see them,” she insisted. “And a lot of American professors are behind him.”

    She said: “We are not trying to create any sort of alarm. We are trying to represent a man who has been represented in a very narrow way.”

    Good grief, how can someone in Ms. Clifford’s position be that damn gullible? Good thing daddy is reigning her in.

  3. Liz Ditz February 20, 2010 at 22:10 #

    Thanks for posting this — wouldn’t have seen it until tomorrow or Monday.

    You wrote
    Amazing that someone who was preparing to work with Brian Deer didn’t know who Brian Deer was but more interesting to me

    I find the sentence confusing, did you mean to write

    Amazing that someone who was preparing to work with Andrew Wakefield didn’t know who Brian Deer was but more interesting to me

  4. Kev February 20, 2010 at 22:33 #

    good catch Liz, I did indeed 😉

  5. Mike Stanton February 21, 2010 at 15:31 #

    So once again we are invited to disregard the evidence. If we can only manipulate public opinion it will somehow overturn the inconvenient truth.

  6. Science Mom February 21, 2010 at 19:53 #

    Bingo Mike Stanton. As my husband said yesterday in response to this, “If you can’t manipulate reality, you can manipulate peoples’ perception of it.”

    Michael Jackson’s woes paled in comparison to Wakefield’s and Clifford’s PR firm wouldn’t touch the former, and those were much deeper pockets.

  7. brian February 22, 2010 at 00:16 #

    If Mark Blaxill is indeed involved in a public relations effort to support Andrew Wakfield, he should be ashamed.

    Perhaps Blaxill might celebrate the fact that Roman Polanski today won the Best Director prize at the Berlin Film Festival, because, of course, if you are a terrific guy or enough time has passed, ethical lapses should be excused.

    Mr. Polanski admittedly had sex with an aspiring thirteen year-old actress who might have benefited from Polanski’s exalted position in the film industry. (Polanski reportedly had asked the child to “take off your underwear” to pose for photos for “French Vogue” while plying her with quaaludes and champagne.)

    As the father of a young girl who cannot make adult decisions, I think that Polanski’s behavior was execrable. As a scientist who must understand the Declaration of Helsinki and the necessary protections for children when I work with human subjects, I think that Andrew Wakefield’s proven dishonesty and and irresponsibility is execrable.

    Mark Blaxill’s continued support of Andrew Wakefield is regrettable. Blaxill has changed before our eyes from a man who tried to understand the available evidence to a cultist who hangs on desperately despite the overwhelming weight of the evidence.

    Blaxill should be ashamed.

  8. Prometheus February 22, 2010 at 19:06 #


    Mark Blaxill has never been that interested in “the available evidence” when it comes to autism and vaccines. Some years ago, he had an exchange with a parent (who happened to be a physician) in which he said (and I paraphrase), “Mercury is the cause of autism, in my opinion.”

    The physician-parent replied (again, paraphrasing), “Since you have no education or experience in biology, chemistry or medicine, your opinion on the cause of autism carries very little weight.”

    To this, Mark Blaxill retorted (again, paraphrasing), “What a typically arrogant remark from a doctor!”

    No, Mark Blaxill has long been a “cultist” who refuses to accept that his understanding of medicine and biology is in inverse proportion to his confidence in his own opinions.


  9. Sullivan February 25, 2010 at 21:38 #

    The story has been picked up by PR week:

    Not that I have heard of PR week before this!

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