Age of Autism (AoA) propagates the unfounded notion that vaccines cause autism. Last Thanksgiving, the group tried to put a sponsored commercial in AMC movie theaters that warned about the "dangers" of the flu vaccine, right in the middle of flu season. But Elyse Anders, a blogger, mom and vaccine advocate, rallied her supporters to ask AMC to drop the PSA, and AMC complied. Infuriated, AoA started a smear campaign against Anders, posting her Facebook picture on their wall, accompanied by threats and insults. Facebook didn’t respond to abuse reports, but thanks to over 800 Change.org members, they took her picture down in just a few days.
Update: Victory! Elyse Anders' picture and the comment thread have been removed from Age of Autism's Facebook wall. Thanks to all who signed the petition!
When Elyse Anders decided to try to stop a misinformed,
anti-vaccination commercial from running in AMC movie theaters this Thanksgiving, she
was doing the right thing. The mother and blogger was trying to ensure that
people weren’t misled by the paid PSA, which was developed by the
anti-vaccine group Safe Minds, with support from the Age of Autism (AoA). Both of
these groups still erroneously believe that vaccines cause of autism
and were using the commercial to spread the idea that vaccines are harmful.
Anders used her blogging platform to urge readers to
email AMC not to run the anti-vaccine PSA. After receiving hundreds of emails,
AMC listened and pulled the commercial.
But then, AoA decided to get personal -- and nasty.
They took Anders’ Facebook profile and put it on their wall with this message:
“This is the woman who fought to
pull the SafeMinds PSA's from the theatres. It's her FB profile page photo. She
is anti-choice and wants to tell you that mercury is safe and that Thimerosal is
good - according to her blog. She trolls AofA regularly. As do all the
A slew of AoA supporters chimed in, wishing harm upon Anders and her child and calling her “mental.” One responder went so far as to
state this: “She needs a few broken mercury thermometers in a few key orafaces
Anders and readers have repeatedly asked Facebook to
remove her photo from AoA’s wall. But even though they have used her full name,
a picture of her and her child, and have threatened harm, Facebook has not
responded to the reports to take the photo down.
Facebook shouldn’t be complicit in helping to foster
a harmful and hateful vendetta by the Age of Autism. Sign the petition below to
tell Facebook that they should
immediately remove Elyse Anders’ photo from the Age of Autism’s wall.