AutismOne: Don’t snark on me…we’ve got security and police!

28 May

Remember Jamie Bernstein? Her site, hug me, I’m vaccinated, should give you an idea of her stance. She’s the woman who took a picture with Andrew Wakefield at his big rally last year, and slipped him a note that said

Dear Andrew Wakefield,

I know that you truly believe that what you are doing is helping people and that the ends justify the means, but I just want you to know that the things you are doing –- the actions you have taken in the past have hurt people –- killed people. Your work has scared and manipulated parents into not vaccinating their children, putting them and their entire community at risk, all in the name of safety. Children have died because of you. I just want to make sure that you fully understand that.


It turns out that Ms. Bernstein attended AutismOne this year. AutismOne is a parent conference that promotes, amongst other things, the vaccine-injury model of autism. Last year they gave Andrew Wakefield an award–after he was struck off the register in the UK for ethics violations. This year they are hosting talks by Mark and David Geier, the father-son team that has recently run afoul of the medical authorities in their home state of Maryland. To be clear, the Geiers are frequent annual speakers at AutismOne.

Ms. Bernstein was live tweeting the conference. Yes, she has a viewpoint different than the conference organizers. And, she was with Ken Reibel, a journalist who was ejected a few years back for asking a question of Terry Poling (mother of Hannah Poling).

The response by AutismOne?

It apparently takes 3 security guards and 4 police officers to kick me out. Did I mention I did nothing wrong? #antivaxcon

Yep. 3 security guards and 4 police officers.

Why did they stop there? She is obviously a very imposing figure. She’s the one on the left:

OK, they hooked me. I decided to check out the live stream. I joined 39 other people watching Mark Blaxill tell us the same old mercury story.

The hotel security had no comment, but forwarded me to the Lombard police. Lombard police would not comment either.

The message is clear: don’t show up to AutismOne if you aren’t on board with their message. They will not ask you to leave, they will call in the police.

55 Responses to “AutismOne: Don’t snark on me…we’ve got security and police!”

  1. Interverbal June 1, 2011 at 07:53 #

    Some thoughts,

    I feel bad that Jamie was kicked out, but in the US you can have a private club/conference. I visited the AutismOne site. I notice they accept applications from professionals, parents, and media members. Media members are expected to give “links to your recent works”. In other words, the AutismOne crew likes to check to make sure media members are friendly to their cause. Once again, their club, their rules.

    What is more disturbing is the use of multiple police to escort Jamie out. And this probably merits further discussion with the police department. However, although the AutismOne crowd has a right o have closed meetings and to dis-allow media members, let’s not pretend that these standards are similar to other major science conferences, because they are not. Even ones with heavy parent involvement. And this too, is disturbing.

    “The Geiers got repeated standing ovations. Mark Geier might know more about vaccine damage bio-markers than anyone. He’s got an incredible pool of data (lab work-ups).”

    Geier had his medical license suspended in Maryland recently. Quoting from the suspension order:

    “The Respondent is certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics as a Genetic Counselor. In an interview with Board staff, the Respondent false claimed to be a board-certified geneticist and a board-certified epidemiologist. See Section IX, (Misrepresentation of Credentials).”


    “The Respondent misdiagnosed six (6) of the nine (9) autistic children whose care is reviewed herein with precocious puberty”

    I take that into consideration when I read:

    “And you don’t understand why 3,000 parents come to AutismOne?”

    It is no crime to want the best for your child. I imagine people go to AutismOne for answers, ideas, and hopes. They go to it for love of their children. There is nothing in this that is particularly hard to understand. Nor are these parents the first to walk down this path.

    However, there is a danger here. Good wishes and good intentions are not enough. The AutismOne organizers give license and a soapbox to absolute charlatans. This is in no way to the benefit of families of autistics, or of autistics themselves.

  2. David N. Brown June 1, 2011 at 09:11 #

    I have long suspected that Autism One’s hypersecurity is driven less by the wishes of the organizers than what “researchers” like Wakefield and the Geiers demand before they go out on a limb speaking before an audience. I gather Mark Geier in particular has at times made comments letting slip that he treats “precocious puberty” as little more or less than a cover story for insurance companies. He would have every reason to be paranoid about whether his statements were being monitored.

    Something else I have thought about is how long Mark Geier would survive if he was charged with child abuse (as I am wholly satisfied he can and should be) and stuck in a prison’s general population. Again, paranoia might be well-founded…

    David N. Brown
    Mesa, Arizona

  3. MJ June 2, 2011 at 01:37 #

    “If she says we were breaking conference rules, then she will be lying to the police.”

    “No recording of any type is allowed without prior written permission. Any individual using audio, video, or other recording or photographic devices without current written authorization from the conference organizers may be required to leave the conference.”


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