• Wed, Mar 19 - 9:00 am ET

#AskJenny Twitter Hashtag Trolls Anti-Vaxxer Jenny McCarthy With Reality

jenny

Sometimes I try to feel sorry for Jenny McCarthy because of all the hate unleashed against her for her staunch anti-vaccination stance, but more and more, it seems like she is just asking for it.

Just a short week ago, Jenny asked a totally rando question to her 1.13 million Twitter followers:

“What is the most important personality trait you look for in a mate? Reply using #JennyAsks.”

Jenny’s not-so-loyal Twitter followers took this perfect opportunity to come down on her for her super-controversial anti-vaccination beliefs. Since 2005, Jenny has made headlines by speaking out against vaccines that she believed caused autism in her son. Now, Jenny has tried to turn the tide by declaring that she is not anti-vaccine, but the damage has already been done.

Jenny can’t seem to step outside of the box she created for herself in the anti-vaxx movement. Twitter users started #AskJenny by responding to her silly question about what you look for in a mate:

“Someone who vaccinates.”

Burn! Sorry, Jenny, but most concerned parents would say that you had it coming. Evidenced by the growing hilarity of #AskJenny, the Twitterverse wants Jenny to answer for her crazy declarations that have been made over the years, with absolutely no basis in science.

Poor, poor Jenny McCarthy. She’s been out-trolled by Twitter with a hefty dose of reality:

jenni1

jenny2 jenny3 jenny4 jenny5 jenny6 jenny7 jenny8

Some may call them haters, others may call them educated Twitter users. Nonetheless, Jenny McCarthy has some ‘splaining to do. It’s one thing to speak out for your beliefs, but Jenny made a grave misstep when she spoke out without fully researching her cause. She may have buyer’s remorse all these years later, but she’s finding it almost impossible to change her reputation after coming out as anti-vaxx in 2005.

(Image: Twitter)

You can reach this post's author, Bethany Ramos, on twitter.
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  • ALE515

    Besides the e-cig thing, she talks about how wonderful Botox is. Which happens to have Botulism a.k.a Botulinum toxin. Yet vaccines have toxins to stay away from…

    • Guest

      As soon as I saw the e-cig commercial I was like what the wha?

    • Tinyfaeri

      But they don’t make you look like a frozen, less wrinkly version of yourself. Toxins that make you look younger-ish are OK.

    • ALE515

      Of course! What was I thinking?

    • Alicia Kiner

      Or maybe it’s okay for her to have toxins in her body (wonder what’s in breast implants these days) but not in her precious wittle snowflakes. Heavy in the snark here. I used to watch The View every day but I can’t watch with her on it. She irritates the bonkers out of me

    • Pappy

      Another fun fact: In her terrible, terrible book “Belly Laughs” she cheerfully talks about how, despite it being a planned pregnancy, she didn’t quite smoking until she was two months pregnant. She also bragged about eating nothing but junk food and sweets for the entire 9 months. And chose not to breastfeed, which is entirely her decision, but seems in conflict with the pseudo-crunchy cred she seems to want.

      I sometimes wonder if, after her sons diagnosis, she didn’t go looking desperately for a reason this had happened to her precious snowflake. And since she got sucked into the “everything natural is good!” outlook, she looked back and worried (erroneously) that maybe her non-crunchy choices might be at fault. So she desperately looked around for something else to blame. The vaccines! It was the vaccines fault! Not mine. Definitely not mine…

  • radicalhw

    It’s not hating on someone to tell the truth. Jenny has it coming.

  • Alicia Kiner

    I have to wonder why all these people follow her… Seems like they kind of waited for an opportune moment to jump all over her. Not that I don’t agree, it does seem ironic and hypocritical. At the same time, I do wish pediatricians gave us as parents more information and spread the vaccines out a bit more. I’m by no means anti-vax, but when my son was born, I had no clue. The ped said time for vaccinations, I said okay. I had no clue if there were side effects or anything. I had never even heard of rubella other than in reference to the vaccine. I still don’t know what it is (I should get on that). Maybe if people were better educated about the diseases themselves, they wouldn’t be so against the vaccines.

    • SunnyD847

      Rubella is “German measles.” It can cause birth defects if contracted during pregnancy.

    • Alicia Kiner

      thank you!!

    • tSubh Dearg

      Am I right in thinking that it can also cause infertility if it’s caught by girls during puberty or is that another disease?

    • Sarah

      Mumps can cause infertility in men, if it’s caught as an adult – measles can cause deafness, and all of these can kill. Rubella frequently caused major disabilities and miscarriage when caught by pregnant women.

    • tSubh Dearg

      Thanks Sarah, I think I was squishing all the MMR diseases into one.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I wonder if she has any supporters at all, certainly not evidenced by Twitter!

    • Kendra

      COMPLETELY agree. That is why so many people are jumping on the train. They have no education on the diseases themselves, and pregnancy boards are SLAMMED with people telling you about the horrible things that can happen from vaccines. If you don’t put the time into it yourself, it would be very easy to be swayed into the anti-vaxx mindset.

    • K.

      I don’t think that these people are necessarily her followers–I think that there are probably vaccine advocates who DO follow her in order to rebuff her anti-vax tweets on the spot, and what we’re seeing is how twitterverse works, which is that her post is probably re-tweeted a million times AND the anti-vaxers’ responses (who are followed by other anti-vaxers) will by hyperlinked back to her original tweet. Thus, the majority of these followers aren’t really hers, but several connections removed.

      The other thing is that yes, I think parents should be more involved with their children’s health in general, including vaccines. But the truth is, vaccines are complex–generally, too complex for a layperson to really understand. An immunologist would have to explain how they work on a cellular level and why certain ingredients are used (which could be anything from being active in the body, to supporting the preservation of other materials that are active in the body, etc.)

      Now, what I can tell you about the whole “slow method” to vaccines is that it doesn’t really make sense except to make parents feel better–the recommended schedule comes from the CDC and THAT schedule has been tested and tested and tested over and over; the slow method has not. If it makes you feel better, then fine–at least you are vaccinating–but don’t deceive yourself into thinking that there’s a proven medical reason to.

      The difficulty in this issue is that I think we parents WANT to believe desperately that the world is easily controlled–if we can point to ONE thing that counts as a risk we can successfully avoid then we feel like we are safer. So it’s tempting for a parent to think, “Ah, VACCINES are the culprit! If I avoid them then I can prevent anything bad from happening!!” because it’s the antidote to the actual reality, which is that life is simply unpredictable. ALL medical procedures, from aspirin to anesthesia carry risks and will not work for every person–that includes vaccines, which have caused terrible reactions in some children and babies, but only a very small percentage.

      If we were truly rational creatures, with a reasonable understanding of risk, every child would be vaccinated and no one would drive.

    • Williwaw

      I think you’re right that many people might not understand the immunological details of vaccination (I am certainly not up on them but I am not a biologist), but I’d like to think that someone who finished high school could understand basic statistics, e.g. “x percent of people who contract measles die from it”, “x percent of people who receive a vaccination have an adverse reaction that has been documented in peer-reviewed medical research”, and “before the vaccine, x children in the US died of measles each year”.

    • K.

      Yes, I would hope so too, but we’re talking about a set of people who also think that reading shit on the internet means they’re immunologists.

      I once argued with an anti-vaxxer who told me her kid’s gluten-free vegan all-organic diet was keeping him healthy. I told her he was surely healthy, but what was keeping him from getting a deadly childhood disease is the fact that *we* are all vaccinated.

    • Williwaw

      Good point. I think some people have so much invested in a particular worldview that they are not amenable to reason – no amount of evidence would be enough to change their minds.

      On a weird fringe note, I keep misreading “anti-vaxxer” as “anti-waxxer”…which is definitely me. Ouch! It would be hard to change my mind on that one. Fortunately, no one will get measles because of it.

    • Kay_Sue

      “If we were truly rational creatures, with a reasonable understanding of risk, every child would be vaccinated and no one would drive.”

      So very well put.

    • Jessifer

      This is one of the thing that bothers me about one of my friends who is an anti-vaxxer (among her other half-baked theories). She claims to have done her “research” on it in order to come to this conclusion. This is a girl who was held back a year and barely made it through high school because she had a lot of difficulties with reading, math, etc… I find it very hard to believe that she has the ability to sift through dense, complicated scientific data to reach these kind of decisions. I think when she talks about “research”, she is talking more about magazines, blogs, message boards, etc… And since it’s the internet and not a reputable peer-reviewed journal, people can say whatever they want without being held accountable for shoddy research and faulty logic. Also, many don’t realize that just because someone has a fancy title and puts “PhD” at the end of their name, it doesn’t mean that they are a specialist on the subject.

    • K.

      Exactly–I have a PhD. I am a pretty good reader; I know how to research (like, actual research, not reading shit on the Internet). But I am certainly not qualified to understand scientific papers that are published for those in the field. More importantly, I won’t understand the broader significance of those papers in relation to the existing science–which also includes things like who the authors are, professional qualifications in reference to the scope of their research, the quality/size/reputation of the lab in sponsorship of the study, the nuances of who funded the study, etc. etc. Those are important things to know as well, and they are generally not things available to a layperson.

    • Williwaw

      Exactly. I have a PhD in a field of science unrelated to immunology, and I don’t claim to have done immunology “research”. Also, I note that a lot of people’s “research” consists of the first three Google hits they get on their favorite opinion. Of course if you try to look for evidence supporting an extreme worldview, you will find it. Out of morbid curiosity, I Googled “vaccines are bad”. The first four hits are anti-vax websites full of “wisdom” like “health cannot come from a needle” and “fully vaccinated children are he unhealthiest children I know” and “you can never undo a vaccination”. (I would be delighted if some hacktivist made it so that Googling “vaccines are bad” or something similar would direct you to the CDC page about vaccines, or a Mayo Clinic page – or a page that plays the recorded sound of a baby with whooping cough or shows a child in an iron lung in the 1940s….not that I think any of this would change most nutjobs’ minds, but maybe it would influence a few people who were on the fence.)

      I also can’t speak for all Wikipedia pages, but they seem to be a first resort for much offhanded research – not that there’s anything wrong with that, since they often make great starting points, and I have come across a number related to my own field that are just fantastic – but I have also found some that were total invented nonsense (which bothered me so much I spent a couple days gathering the proper references and other evidence in order to have the pages removed)…so I never assume Wikipedia is correct without verification from an external reliable source. (I haven’t actually checked to see what Wikipedia says about vaccines – hopefully someone with some real knowledge makes sure the anti-vaxxers don’t fill it with nonsense.)

    • rrlo

      Completely unrelated – but I once was on a forum where mothers were going on and on about how baby bjorns were bad – and they had done their “research”. Then the same ones talked about making their own baby carriers from old night-gowns etc.

      Dumb people using the word “research” drive me bonkers.

    • Alicia Kiner

      I listened to the pediatrician. I quite frankly love our pediatrician. He’s fantastic. So I pretty much do what he tells me to, when he tells me to do it lol. I just thought that it seemed like an awful lot to put them through when they were so little, especially that first year. As in, 5 shots at one time. We did it. But looking back, at how much it actually hurt them for days afterward, if it wouldn’t have been better for them to spread those out over a week or two. That’s all. And for my kids, it doesn’t matter, because they’ve had them already, and I’m not having any more kids, so second guessing myself at this point is really a waste of time ;)

    • shorty_RN

      Don’t second guess yourself, Alicia Kiner. You did the right thing! Getting the multiple shots is hard, and they usually feel crappy for a day or so after, but you gave them the lifelong gift of protection from terrible illnesses.

    • K.

      I’m not debating your decision or saying I’m
      against parents choosing an alternative vaccination schedule (which is not the same thing as choosing not to vaccinate at all); I’m saying that I think
      parents ought to take a step back and figure out what’s really going on. The
      facts are that the alternative schedule has not been tested and the CDC’s
      has. So if you decide on an alternative schedule because you are suspicious of
      the CDC or think that the CDC’s testing is flawed, then fine—but at least admit
      that you have suspicions; don’t try and justify your decision by saying you
      have “science” (not that YOU did that, but that’s what McCarthy and her ilk
      do). Obviously, I can understand parents following the pediatrician’s recommendations, and truth be told, had ours recommended that, we would have
      done it because the sum result would still be that he’d be vaccinated. (Ours,
      however, noted that there wasn’t any science to back up the alternative
      schedule and that the sum result from her perspective was that kid would simply
      get more shots, more often).

    • K.

      I’m not debating your decision or saying I’m
      against parents choosing an alternative vaccination schedule (which is not the same thing as choosing not to vaccinate at all); I’m saying that I think
      parents ought to take a step back and figure out what’s really going on. The
      facts are that the alternative schedule has not been tested and the CDC’s
      has. So if you decide on an alternative schedule because you are suspicious of
      the CDC or think that the CDC’s testing is flawed, then fine—but at least admit
      that you have suspicions; don’t try and justify your decision by saying you
      have “science” (not that YOU did that, but that’s what McCarthy and her ilk
      do). Obviously, I can understand parents following the pediatrician’s recommendations, and truth be told, had ours recommended that, we would have
      done it because the sum result would still be that he’d be vaccinated. (Ours,
      however, noted that there wasn’t any science to back up the alternative
      schedule and that the sum result from her perspective was that kid would simply
      get more shots, more often).

    • Andrea

      I’m the same way with my pediatrician. I admit to trusting doctors more than probably regular people do, even if I probably shouldn’t. I come from a family of MDs so maybe that has something to do with it.
      At any rate, our pediatrician has never steered us wrong and she is pretty good at answering questions and explaining things, so that helps too.

    • JLH1986

      The #AskJenny could have been trending. So they wouldn’t have had to follow her. They would have seen that and then been able to follow that to her question and then respond. So I don’t think she has that many followers chewing her out. Incidentally, her response to all this was to thank the people who tagged HER twitter handle (not just the ask jenny) because her Q score went up. So she doesn’t seem to be overly worried about it.

    • Natasha B

      I believe there is a more spread out schedule for vaccines that you can opt for, not so many at once. That’s what my pharmacist friend says. But she’s NOT vaccinating her kids for chickenpox and I’m all, wot.

  • Kendra

    This gave me so many LOL’s.

  • K.

    An insult is aggression towards someone’s character.

    These (for the most part) are challenges to McCarthy’s public statements and beliefs on a public issue.

    McCarthy is a twit. <– insult (but also true, thankyouverymuch)

  • ChooChooChoose

    Those people weren’t necessarily following her on Twitter and waiting for the chance to jump on her. The hashtag could be trending and it was all over the news/social media early, so all they had to do was tag her Twitter handle and use the hashtag.

  • SunnyD847

    More disturbing than a uneducated, untrained “celebrity” giving medical advice is people who take medical advice from such a person. I just don’t get it.

    • Zettai

      I agree with you, I just have trouble figuring out if half of the American public are ignorant or just stupid. As in, do they REALLY not know any better?

      In America, so much emphasis is placed on celebrities that it isn’t surprising that when a celebrity wears a dress, writes a book, or announces their belief in a cause, everyone runs out to buy it or jump on the bandwagon. Look at the way celebrity news to reported on “real news” channels like CNN and whatnot. The ratings sure didn’t go down, otherwise they’d stop doing it.

      Maybe we did this to ourselves.

    • Mystik Spiral

      I often wonder if people just think that celebrities, being celebrities, have some sort of “insider info” on the crap they pontificate about, thereby trusting what they say. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s the best explanation I can come up with.

      I miss being able to get news without having it all turned into entertainment for entertainments’ sake.

    • Zettai

      Me too.

    • Zettai

      Me too.

    • Andrea

      I am yet to meet a person that admits to not vaccinating due to the former playboy bunny though. Then again, I tend to not associate at all with people that are that stupid, but you know…

    • K.

      This drives me bonkers.

      It’s like, …really? You’re going to debate people who have been studying medicine for 30 years and who have entire careers invested in researching childhood disease? REALLY?? Who are you? Oh, a former Playboy model/actress/SAHM with access to the Internet and a really big bullhorn?

      Really.

      (oh and the richness of the fact that her son, it turns out, never had autism.)

    • Andrea

      I never got that part straight: at some point she claimed he was “cured” right? I missed the news about the kid never having it.

    • K.

      She first claimed she’d “cured” him (which can’t happen, although you can make a difference in terms of developing cognitive pathways through therapy); then it turns out he has some rare neurological disorder that often looks like autism (and, to give her some benefit of the doubt, is often misdiagnosed as autism), but is some other hereditary thing.

    • Andrea

      So in other words, nothing to do with vaccinations. Not that autism has fuck all to do with vaccinations either.

  • Thomas Johnson

    Twitter is retarded

  • Kay_Sue

    “Jenny, Jenny, who can you turn to?
    Should have relied on science you can hold on to…”

    • Bethany Ramos

      HAHAHHAH

    • Kay_Sue

      I really tried to come up with more, but drew a blank. #CreativityFail

    • Sexy Robotic Arms Dealer

      How bout

      “Jenny, Jenny, you’re acting nuts
      Pull your junk science out your butts”

    • Kay_Sue

      That sounds like it should be a rap song, not an 80s pop tune…..

    • Sexy Robotic Arms Dealer

      Well, I grew up during the 90′s gangsta rap era.

      My street name was Sir Math A Lot.

    • Kay_Sue

      Were you unable to lie about your love of large ASS theorem(s)?

    • Sexy Robotic Arms Dealer

      CONSTANTly. But I was mostly obtuse.

    • Sexy Robotic Arms Dealer

      You can’t rhyme “to” to “to”!!!

      >:(

      #kodakrhymeswithkodak

    • Kay_Sue

      Tommy Tutone did it! So there! #YouCantMakeMeChangeMyRhymes

    • Sexy Robotic Arms Dealer

      I had to wiki that…

      Wow, these people preceded your birth. Nice drop!

    • Kay_Sue

      My mama’s musical taste froze circa 1989 for the longest time, with Mariah Carey, Reba Mcentire, and Celine Dion being the most modern stuff she listened to during our childhood…

      Plus, who doesn’t tap along to this song?

    • Sexy Robotic Arms Dealer

      Define “tap”

    • Kay_Sue

      Tap your toe. Just a toe. I’m not personally coordinated enough to do anymore…

    • Sexy Robotic Arms Dealer

      Disappointed with your definition :(

  • Ashie

    I may get attacked on here, but I use to be anti vaccine. My in laws, and all their family are all so caught up in the anti vaccine movement that I was also duped for awhile. Instead of just reading their research they would send me, I started doing my own research and my eyes were truly opened. Now I fully support vaccines (although the hubs and me have not told his family we vaccinate, I refuse to let them make me feel bad about the decisions we make for our children anymore). I think its really good that people are looking into everything such as food and medicine, but to look at ALL sides of it, not just one view. I live in Canada so most of the articles they send me don’t even make sense because half of that stuff for vaccines doesn’t happen here. (For example, they keep saying vaccines have mercury in them, well, in Canada no childhood vaccinations contain mercury.)

    • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden

      I hope you don’t get attacked! It can be VERY difficult to break out of the anti-vax circle especially when they try to use those social relationships to enforce their preferred stance. I think it’s awesome that you were able to find the right sources on your own to make a science-based decision!

      http://adashofmeg.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/164637_536889613016964_2008044695_n.jpg

      I would say to watch out for the “all sides” fallacy though – sometimes especially in the media, stories are presented as if there are two equally valid positions when really the consensus is one side (climate change being the biggest one I can think of, with 97% of scientists agreeing on its effects) – it’s just as important to see who the “sides” are coming from as to see what their position is! *takes off ex-science-teacher hat*

    • Kay_Sue

      Side note: I just stole that image because it is awesome.

    • Sarah

      It is so much more brave and wise – and harder! – to admit you were wrong in anything, it’s a sign of a strong person. a

    • A. Levy

      Side note about your side note: childhood vaccines in the US don’t contain mercury either. They haven’t for almost 20 years.

    • Ashie

      See what I mean about all the bad information out there?? And people believe these articles that oppose vaccines and most likely will ever refuse to believe anything else! Thanks for clarifying that fact for me :)

  • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden
  • Fireinthefudgehole

    I think one of the reasons people blame vaccines for autism is because they feel some sort of guilt. They desperately want to believe it’s something 100% controllable.

    • Guest

      Just because it isn’t genetic does not automatically = vaccines as culprit. Frustrating.

  • whiteroses

    What absolutely kills me about this is that her response to all this was essentially “Haters gonna hate”. If she were an animal, I suspect she’d be an ostrich.

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