Respectful Insolence

Generation Rescue in transition?

Six days ago, celebrity spokescouple for the anti-vaccine movement, Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey, announced their breakup over Twitter. Some of us who have been following the antics of “Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey’s Autism Organization – Generation Rescue” have wondered what this would mean for the pro-disease movement pushing the idea that vaccines cause autism. Would Jim Carrey still lend his considerable Hollywood clout, which is at least an order of magnitude greater than Jenny McCarthy’s, to Generation Rescue? We didn’t have long to wait. By Friday, Generation Rescue had completely revamped its website.

Gone is the picture of Jim Carrey, Jenny McCarthy, and Evan from the front page of the website. Gone is any mention of his name, leaving Generation Rescue as now being just “Jenny McCarthy’s Autism Organization – Generation Rescue.” Gone is Jim Carrey from the Generation Rescue Board of Directors. Given the slickness of hte new look, no doubt that this revamp of the website has been a long time in coming, and probably GR simply moved up its originally planned revamp in order to deal with Jim and Jenny’s breakup. More interestingly, all mention of Desiree Jennings appears to have been send down the memory hole. In case you don’t remember who she is, she is the young woman who claimed that a flu vaccine caused her to develop dystonia, a claim riddled with inconsistencies that didn’t stand up to even mild scrutiny. Apparently even GR realized that it had backed a loser, something it had apparently realized relatively soon after its initial promotion of the story, even though it lashed out at people like Steve Novella and myself for having criticized its use of this poor woman for its own purposes.

In any case, as Sullivan points out, it’s interesting to note that the first thing a visitor to the new, “improved” Generation Rescue website sees is a video of Jenny McCarthy literally begging viewers to vote for Generation Rescue in the PepsiRefresh contest, the winner of which will get $250,000 to promote his or her idea. Interestingly enough, Generation Rescue apparently forgot to purge the photo of Jim Carrey from its vote page. One wonders if that’s because it realizes that Jim Carrey has a lot more appeal than Jenny McCarthy. In any case, GR is, as of my writing this, ranked 19th. I hope my readers will try to rectify that situation and drive GR lower in the ratings by voting for other worthy ideas and charities, given that the page states that the $250,000 will be used for “medical grants for children with autism” (Orac’s translation: money to pay for autism and anti-vaccine quackery).

One wonders if Generation Rescue will be able to do as well, now that Jim Carrey is gone. As I mentioned before, his star burned far brighter than Jenny McCarthy’s, and he had far more name recognition, wealth, and pure Hollywood influence, all of which make me wonder how much of Jenny McCarthy’s ability to pull in Hollywood stars to promote fundraisers for GR was due to wanting to curry favor with her now ex-boyfriend. Sure, Jenny can bring in Hugh Hefner and the Playboy mansion, but without Jim can she keep pulling in real stars? Could it be that Generation Rescue has reached its peak of fundraising prowess and can be expected to go downhill?

We can always hope.

Comments

  1. #1 Poogles
    April 12, 2010

    Orac, I know you hate nit-picky corrections, but I think this one may be worth your time to change:

    “Apparently even GR realized that it had backed a loser”

    I’m almost positive you mean to say the story is a “loser” insofar as it doesn’t give GR the “ammo” they thought it did, but it comes across as if you’re calling Ms. Jennings a loser. :-)

  2. #2 Julie
    April 12, 2010

    Yikes–the idea that Pepsi might actually give GR money is completely frightening. Grants clearly should not be up for a vote like this.

  3. #3 Rene Najera
    April 12, 2010

    I’m sure Ms. McCarthy will make full use of her God-given “talents” (both of them, up front and center, nicely maintained by all sorts of means) to attract attention. (Yes, what I’m writing reads misogynist, so don’t waste our time pointing it out.) Because she has not hesitated to use her image (all of it) to promote her cause. If she wasn’t attractive, she wouldn’t be where she is… as opposed to being smart and educated and being where she is. Which she is not. Not smart at all…

  4. #4 L
    April 12, 2010

    Actually, I don’t think Jim Carrey is as big of a deal these days. Case in point, he is now using his Twitter account to attack Elin Nordegren (Woods)for “obviously being aware of all that infidelity.” Nice. You’d think a celeb would be sensitive to gossip and spite-laced assumptions of people he does not know personally. Not Jim, he has no sense of irony or self-awareness. I think after hanging around at the rim for so long, he’ll be finally going down the toilet soon enough.

  5. #5 wfjag
    April 12, 2010

    Wonder that happens when it becomes apparent to GR (and the public) that her child’s “autism” was a case of mis-diagnosis? See http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1967796-2,00.html#ixzz0ghYP8tCU It appears that the correct diagnosis should have been Landau–Kleffner syndrome – which is a rare condition. Although this is a serious, trying condition, it generally has a much better prognosis, especially with early, intensive intervention of speech therapy. However, a special diet isn’t apparently important in the outcome.

    “The syndrome can be difficult to diagnose and may be misdiagnosed as autism, pervasive developmental disorder, hearing impairment, learning disability, auditory/verbal processing disorder, attention deficit disorder, mental retardation, childhood schizophrenia, or emotional/behavioral problems.” See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landau%E2%80%93Kleffner_syndrome

  6. #6 Dan Weber
    April 12, 2010

    I exhausted my ten votes for the day on things above GR on the list (currently at 20th).

    Probably would be better to vote for the things right around GR so that it plummets further.

    I saw some things that scared me to vote for them, like “cancer treatment without side effects.” Otherwise, most of the ideas are indistinguishable — everyone is for jobs and schools and puppies, but what matters is the effectiveness of who runs them, which one simply cannot determine by a paragraph of glurge.

    Probably a good idea to vote up the other “health” issues — those are the ones colored red.

  7. #7 David N. Brown
    April 12, 2010

    wfjag,
    I don’t think disputing the diagnosis is particularly promising. What I think is of more interest is that Jenny has told mutually contradictory stories of her son’s history, and that it’s reasonably clear from “Louder Than Words” that he was showing behaviors consistent with autism before age 1.
    Also, while I don’t wish to make it an arguing point, “Munchausen by proxy” comes all too easily to mind (something I discuss in an essay called “Vaccine Madness”).

  8. #8 Jon H
    April 12, 2010

    I’d like to suggest that everyone vote for the Duke Lemur Center on that Pepsi thing. A friend of mine works there. They do non-invasive research and breeding programs.

  9. #9 Jon H
    April 12, 2010

    The lemur center is #3 in the $50,000 group.

    http://www.refresheverything.com/thepathtosavinglemurs

  10. #10 JonF
    April 12, 2010

    While I’d love to believe that Carrey’s apparent departure from the GR fold will reduce their ability to garner funds and notoriety based on star-power, there’s more than enough crazy to go around in Hollywood and I’m reserving judgment on the “Jenny McCarthy alone is not enough” argument until we find out who she’s dating next. I won’t say any more than that since I had to edit this about eight times to cut back on the schadenfreude.

  11. #11 DLC
    April 12, 2010

    I wonder if Jim Carrey now sees how foolish he was being re Gen R. Or Jenny Mac. or both.
    Or does he still think Vaccines are poison ?
    Perhaps, like Fire Marshall Bill, he’s been burned and not learned his lesson.

  12. #12 Anonymouse
    April 12, 2010

    My darling hubby was telling me more about this story this morning, but I have to track down the source: apparently Jim Carrey was McCarthy’s backer in an autism school, and now that he’s pulled his money the school is shutting down. So if that’s any indication, I agree that GR could take a major hit from this breakup.

  13. #13 provaxmom
    April 12, 2010

    If you want to vote against GR and keep them down, please vote for Erin’s Dream, currently #3. They are a friend of a friend and lost two kids to cancer. She wants to build a resource home for families dealing with loss.

  14. #14 Liz Ditz
    April 12, 2010

    Anonymouse @ 12 — yes, Teach2Talk Academy (Jenny’s school) is to close, she announced. However I’m waiting for more to the story. Some speculations and the history of Teach2Talk enterprises. My interest here isn’t so much Jenny or autism, but my general interest in private or non-public schools.

    In other news, I’ve been voting daily in the PepsiRefresh event. I’ve used all my 10 daily votes for anything on the $250K leaderboard above the GR proposal that I can support. (No thanks to the cancer-treatment-without-side-effects, for example.) Voting for anything other than the $250K category doesn’t affect Generation Rescue’s standing.

  15. #15 Not the crazy one
    April 12, 2010

    Has this already been noted?

    “Hard on the heels of her split from actor Jim Carrey, Jenny McCarthy is closing her well-known school for autistic children, Teach2Talk Academy.”

    Jenny McCarthy closing her school for autistic children April 9, Fox News

  16. #16 Skeptico
    April 12, 2010

    Rene:

    I’m sure Ms. McCarthy will make full use of her God-given “talents” (both of them, up front and center…

    Try “surgery given..”

  17. #17 Rene Najera
    April 12, 2010

    @Skeptico True. True. God would have had her use those talents for good, not evil. And He would have made them more natural-looking.

    Seriously, though, am I the only one that can see how she only gets attention because of her looks? I mean, with all due respect, Kim Stagliano would have never pulled this off.

  18. #18 Fuzzzone
    April 12, 2010

    @Rene: No, you’re not the only one who has noticed… you’re just the only one evincing surprise. Pretty peoples’ views are taken more seriously and given more attention than they would be if they had to stand solely on their merit? Will wonders never cease!

  19. #19 Rene Najera
    April 12, 2010

    Then I feel bad for Ms. Stagliano. No one is bound to take her seriously. (Too mean?)

  20. #20 Dangerous Bacon
    April 12, 2010

    Orac: “Apparently even GR realized that it had backed a loser, something it had apparently realized relatively soon after its initial promotion of the story”

    The meaning of this is clear to me – it refers to the story of alleged vaccine-induced dystonia being a loser for Generation Rescue, not the young woman who was exploited for antivax purposes.
    I’d wonder though if anyone at GR has the smarts (much less the decency) to pull references to the story because it’s bogus. Maybe they just sense that their target audience is starting to become jaded with flu vaccine references, and are making room for freshly invented scare stories.

  21. #21 Anthro
    April 12, 2010

    I can’t believe anyone thinks McCarthy is “good-looking” let alone “pretty”! She has a horsey-sort-of-face and badly bleached hair cut in a ridiculous style. She is a low-level celebrity based mostly on her relationship with Carrey. One can only hope Carrey has dumped her in time to resuscitate his own career and that he has purposely removed himself from anything to do with GR (hopefully because someone, somehow, got through to him that he was only embarrassing himself with this ridiculous “cause”.

  22. #22 Fuzzzone
    April 12, 2010

    @Anthro: Actually, Jenny’s real fame predates Jim Carrey’s. She was Playmate of the Year in 1993, and was most definitely good-looking. Jim’s fame hit in 1994 with Ace Ventura. Though he’d been in stuff before then, he was nothing like a star.

  23. #23 JJ
    April 12, 2010

    Actually, Jenny’s real fame predates Jim Carrey’s. She was Playmate of the Year in 1993, and was most definitely good-looking. Jim’s fame hit in 1994 with Ace Ventura. Though he’d been in stuff before then, he was nothing like a star.

    I remember Jenny from back when she was on Singled Out a horrible MTV ‘dating’ show from the mid 90′s. She was later given the Jenny McCarthy Show also on MTV, which while I found it quite amusing (as an 11 year old) it was full of adolescent toilet humor. I doubt I’s find that show entertaining any more.

  24. #24 Liz
    April 12, 2010

    Good news: I was at my kids pediatrician’s office this afternoon thumbing through Parents magazine (gag!) when I saw not only a full-page ad to get vaccinated for Pertussis, but a spread entitled “Vaccines Getting to the Point” by Kelley King Heyworth that not only shoots down the anti-vax crowd, but Dr. Sears and his “delayed schedule” bs too!

    For perspective, this is a magazine in which I read an article about how rabid bats could squirm through your children’s windows in the middle of the night, bite them, and squirm out before dawn. By the time your kid was wildly rabid – it could be too late.

  25. #25 slightlyharmless
    April 12, 2010

    Done and done. She was in 21st place when I voted.

  26. #26 Pablo
    April 12, 2010

    Liz – yeah, Kelly has had a couple of good vaccine articles in Parents, which, as you imply, is otherwise a complete disaster (one question for Parents editors: are dads not Parents, too? If you look through, you wouldn’t know. The only reference to dads in articules is how moms deal with them, and the only pictures of dads are when mom is with them (except for that stupid Huggies advertisement where the dad is chasing the crawling baby through the park)

  27. #27 Adam_Y
    April 12, 2010

    I saw some things that scared me to vote for them, like “cancer treatment without side effects.”

    I wouldn’t be afraid of that group for two reasons. Its essentially thermal heating of tumors. An entirely plausible mechanism to kill cancer. The second reason involves watching the NBC??? update on the Kanzius machine. The doctor involved with the research openly admitted that the engineer (Kanzius) essentially administered quack medicine to himself. The quack medicine in this case is full body microwaves rays without the nanoparticles. Mind you I doubt that Kanzius actually came up with this idea first but still its not insane nor do the people involved (Besides Kanzius) act wooishly.

  28. #28 phoenixwoman
    April 12, 2010

    Orac — even worse, the Kanzius “no side effects cancer treatment” woo-ists are at #7 right now!

    Vote for #8 — Smiles for Habitat — to knock the Kanzius woo back a few notches.

  29. #29 Adam_Y
    April 12, 2010

    Then again the whole Kanzius episode was just strange in so many ways.

  30. #30 Adam_Y
    April 12, 2010

    And by strange it somehow involved Rustum Roy and defying the laws of physics.

  31. #31 David N. Brown
    April 13, 2010

    Something I just noticed… A link to Jenny’s school is still up at GR’s site. My impression was that it was being listed as a SPONSOR. So, GR is losing a sponsor?
    Another factoid: I’ve heard that GR spent a quarter-mil on just one USA Today ad. Now they’re trying (and failing) to get the same amount of money by a popularity-vote grant program.
    I seriously think GR is on its way out of existence, at least as an independent and self-sufficient org.

  32. #32 Paul Browne
    April 13, 2010

    Just been on to http://www.refresheverything.com/leaderboard to vote and noticed that GR has dropped to 20th position…it’s good to see it headed in the right direction already.

    Keep up the good work everyone!

  33. #33 RodM
    April 13, 2010

    It will be really interesting to see if Jim Carrey comes out and completely denounces the Anti-Vaccine Movement? you wonder why he would not still be part of Age of Autism anymore? If he still strongly believed in it that he would keep his association even if he and Jenny are Split. It makes you think Jim was just Supporting his Girlfriends cause strictly because she was his girlfriend and it actually had nothing to do with his actual beliefs.

  34. #34 MAnon
    April 13, 2010

    I am waiting to see what Oprah is going to do about Dr. McCarthy. We know that Jenny’s 15 minutes of fame are over–her son didn’t have autism, and she has made a LOT of money offering hope and misinformation to people who were desperately seeking answers. She has undermined our whole vaccination program. Like any good snake-oil salesman she could tell the people that hyperbaric chambers, gluten-free diets, etc. were going to “cure” their children with certainty, using her own child as an example. Jim Carrey supplied the testimonial–confirming that this was true. They made believers out of everyone–including Oprah. Oprah was “had”, just as everyone else was by their misinformation. So what will Oprah do? We know that she won’t admit that she made a mistake or accept responsibility, but will she now protect her reputation by divorcing herself from Jenny as Jim Carrey did? Will she make Jenny’s new show “disappear”, or will she support someone as ignorant and dishonest as Jenny? Only time will tell, and I will be watching anxiously to see what happens. I pray every day that these people will be seen as the opportuni$t$ that they really are.

  35. #35 Old Rockin' Dave
    April 13, 2010

    If I may, I urge you to go and vote at the Pepsi website. I ask you to vote for Long Island’s HorseAbility, an organization that works with autistic and other special-needs children. My autistic nephew goes there and they helped to turn him into an accomplished athlete who rides competitively and may soon be competing with “normal” riders. They have helped many other kids as well. Here is the URL:

  36. #36 Jake Crosby
    April 13, 2010

    @the guy who runs this “Science”Blog: You’re anti-Safe Vaccine.

  37. #37 Todd W.
    April 13, 2010

    @the guy who runs this “Science”Blog: You’re anti-Safe Vaccine.

    Oh, snap! Orac, you have been firmly put in your place. How can you possibly hold your head up after this witty zinger?

  38. #38 Rene Najera
    April 13, 2010

    Son of a… Orac, you must respond to Jake’s inflammatory accusation. Nothing else would be enough.

    Nah, I’m kidding. The dude’s a troll. Momma Stagliano must have sent him over on her behalf.

  39. #39 David N. Brown
    April 13, 2010

    Speaking of Jake, heres’s something he wrote about me last week: “a blogger on Leftbrain/Rightbrain libeled Age of Autism, which he accused of circulating a “hoax” and of forging an official document regarding the scandal.”

    Since I repeatedly stated that I did NOT consider an AoA member responsible, this is libel against me. Since AoA repeatedly censored statements to this effect, despite warnings that failure to acknowledge my actual views would be grounds for legal action, Jake’s post represents an act of malice and a display of contempt for journalistic ethics and the laws of the US. I’m not particularly interested in suing AoA, but I want the truth known, and I hope somehow this could be admitted in court as grounds to dismiss ANY legal threat by AoA.

  40. #40 dedicated lurker
    April 13, 2010

    Jake: and you’re anti-real vaccine. What’s your point?

  41. #41 Andrew
    April 13, 2010

    Jake’s right. Orac must praise people who have created safer vaccines – like Paul Offit! Thanks for the reminder Jake.

  42. #42 jim
    April 14, 2010

    Well, you’ve got to take an interest in your other half’s hobbies, be they painting, stamp collecting, infecting children with deadly and easily preventable diseases, etc. But there’s nothing that says you have to keep them up once you split.

  43. #43 Todd W.
    April 14, 2010

    @David N. Brown

    Yeah, Jake Crosby likes to fly fast and free with the facts. He wrote an error-laden screed on AoA not too long ago. I responded to it, copying my post over to Silenced by Age of Autism.

  44. #44 dNorrisM
    April 14, 2010

    OTP (Sorry) but Big Phrma Strikes again!

  45. #45 a-non
    April 14, 2010

    I wonder if the grants to get families hooked on the woo will dry up now? We can only hope.

    http://www.generationrescue.org/about/grants

  46. #46 bluemaxx
    April 14, 2010

    I ran (figuratively speaking) over to the PEPSI grant site..

    and like many who posted above… I am amazed/ chagrines/ Shocked/ frightened at some of the ’causes’ that are listed… as well as how some are LEADINg…

    but I did my best.. spent my ten grant bullets trying to divert funds from the G-R sham. I did what others have suggested… voted for several above them to press downward… and for several beneath them (within the large grant health category) to try and perhaps leverage someone into place over them (GR).

    and I have taken a vow to spend 3 minutes daily to return and reinforce my efforts to defund them… and to hopefully vote for some real, legit programs scattered among the weird!!!

  47. #47 bluemaxx
    April 14, 2010

    I admit it… I went over to check the new and misaligned GR website…and found myself reminded of their “FAVORITE” doctor…
    “a professor of surgery, I teach cardiac surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Seattle VA Medical Center.” Dr DONALD MILLER. MD. WOOSTER?

    So. Their FAV doc is a cardiac surgeon… who feels his expertise extends beyond that of the immunology and pediatric specialists at CDC… and he offers contrarian advice to the expert PANEL…

    Fabulous. DOnt think I want him on my childs health panel…or as my Cardiac Surgeon either.. now that I think of it.

  48. #48 bluemaxx
    April 16, 2010

    DAMMIT.. sometimes you move a rock… and find more rocks.. or worms.. not sure how to tidy up the metaphor… anyway

    I go to PEPSI to anti-Vote against Generation Rescue getting funding… and see they have slipped from 20th place to 21st.

    BUT… then as I scroll thru.. I am shocked to see, at slot #6 for $250K, the KANZIUS foundation for Side effect free cancer treatments… advocating the Radio Wave WOOOO treatments…
    http://www.refresheverything.com/kanziuscancerresearch

    oh my..

  49. #49 the anti sheeple
    April 18, 2010

    It’s people like you that that thought the sun revolved around the earth and the world was flat. None of these trifling comments have any kind of scientific argument about them. This is supposed to be a medicine science site but it just looks like a bunch of sheeple grazing. I’m glad you(Dr.)are giving these sheep their opinion, or they wouldn’t have one at all. This was just a gossip column. How uneducated. Do some real research! There are thousands of children that have been injured by the vaccine regiment in our country. What a horrible Jezebel Jenny is for trying to help other mothers who have vaccine injured children. You bible beating, fox news watching, republican, soccer moms, better pray that your chldren or your family never have to suffer like these children do.

  50. #50 Antaeus Feldspar
    April 18, 2010

    There are thousands of children that have been injured by the vaccine regiment in our country. What a horrible Jezebel Jenny is for trying to help other mothers who have vaccine injured children.

    The people who are blaming vaccines today are the same ones who would have been blaming (and burning) witches in centuries past. Is Jenny a good person for “trying to help other mothers”? Not when her means of “helping” them puts their children at greater risk of dying or being maimed by vaccine-preventable diseases (by Jenny’s own admission, the actions of the antivax contingent is likely to result in deaths from these diseases, something she seems to think is an acceptable price to pay) and offers not one bit of actual protection from anything in return.

  51. #51 Vicki
    April 18, 2010

    Sheeple:

    Amusing how you assume that because we disagree with you on this issue, we must also hold a set of other opinions you despise. I’m about as far from a Republican as you can get, and have never voluntarily watched Fox News (waiting rooms are not always controlled by the patient).

    There is a huge difference between “Fox is not a reliable news source, therefore I will not base my conclusions on anything I’ve seen only there” (which I consider reasonable) and “Fox is not a reliable news source, therefore anything I disagree with must be from them.” You might try a basic logic course, if you can find one.

  52. #52 Vicki
    April 18, 2010

    Sheeple:

    Amusing how you assume that because we disagree with you on this issue, we must also hold a set of other opinions you despise. I’m about as far from a Republican as you can get, and have never voluntarily watched Fox News (waiting rooms are not always controlled by the patient).

    There is a huge difference between “Fox is not a reliable news source, therefore I will not base my conclusions on anything I’ve seen only there” (which I consider reasonable) and “Fox is not a reliable news source, therefore anything I disagree with must be from them.” You might try a basic logic course, if you can find one.

  53. #53 Science Mom
    April 18, 2010

    I’m glad you(Dr.)are giving these sheep their opinion, or they wouldn’t have one at all. This was just a gossip column. How uneducated. Do some real research!

    Another poor AoAer cluelessly blazing in here to show us the twoof. Do you realise that most of us here are scientists, physicians and engineers?

    There are thousands of children that have been injured by the vaccine regiment in our country.

    Vaccines are part of the armed forces now? Why don’t you provide some citations for this?

    What a horrible Jezebel Jenny is for trying to help other mothers who have vaccine injured children. You bible beating, fox news watching, republican, soccer moms, better pray that your chldren or your family never have to suffer like these children do.

    The demographic of this site is actually, quite the opposite of what you think. Autism isn’t vaccine injury so Jenny McScience isn’t helping anyone. Again, feel free to provide some evidence of this since this isn’t a ‘gossip site’.

  54. #54 Todd W.
    April 18, 2010

    @the anti sheeple

    Gotta echo some of the others in saying that you, quite frankly, are wrong. Bring some evidence to bear. Show us that you are right with more than just “because I said so”.

    Also, take a look at the comments here, then compare them to the comments at someplace like Age of Autism. If you pay attention, you will notice something. Here, dissenting voices are allowed to post. Age of Autism, on the other hand, censors dissenting voices. They even go so far as to allow their adherents to smear or distort comments by people with whom they disagree without allowing the target of the smear to post any manner of defense.

  55. #55 Chris
    April 18, 2010

    sheeple:

    It’s people like you that that thought the sun revolved around the earth and the world was flat.

    Except, that is a myth. The only ones who propagate that myth are those with limited education who cannot differentiate the science from the propaganda from places like AoA and NVIC.

    Most of us who stayed awake in grammar school science know that Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of our planet over 2000 years ago. Just as we know there is no plausible mechanism for the “vaccines cause autism” stance held over by non-scientists like Blaxill, Redwood, Fisher/Arthur, Handley, and Binstock, and the quacks like Wakefield, Geiers and friends.

  56. #56 monado
    April 19, 2010

    At least we’ve found out who gets custody of Generation Miscue.