Here we go again: More entertainers sucked into the "autism biomed" fundraising maw

Here we go again.

Apparently, trying to bounce back from the humiliation of having had its plan to do a music and comedy fundraiser with Jill Sobule as one of the headliners shot down when Sobule found out that Generation Rescue is an "autism organization" that supports anti-vaccine pseudoscience like that of Andrew Wakefield and Mark and David Geier and quite correctly decided to withdraw, Generation Rescue is at it again with an event it's calling Comedy for Kids with Autism.

According to the mass e-mail I received:

Join us Saturday, September 11th at the Third Annual "Comedy for Kids with Autism" culinary, art and comedy event at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

Please join Jenny McCarthy and her fabulous funny friends to laugh the night away. Jenny is hosting the comedic lineup which includes Whitney Cummings, Heather McDonald, Gary Valentine and Josh Wolf.

You can buy your tickets NOW at www.comedyforkidssf.com.

The Ryder Foundation and Generation Rescue partnered together to make it a night of laughing and fun! We would love for you to join us and have a joyful and fun experience helping us raise money for kids with autism. Your contribution will help our organizations continue to provide support and services to families who have children with autism. The autism rate has never been higher, affecting 1 out of every 110 children, and the need for your support has never been greater!

Jenny McCarthy burst on the scene in a September 2007 appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the autism world has never been the same. Her personal story of her son Evan's descent into autism and ultimate recovery crashed Oprah's servers as thousands of moms and dads around the country jumped online to tell the similar stories of their own children. A New York Times best selling author and actress Jenny continues to be a Mother Warrior for Evan and children with autism.

Whitney Cummings: The hilarious and wickedly ranchy 27-year comedian, from the movie "Made of Honor" can also be seen on TV shows such as the "Chelsea Lately Show," "Howard Stern", and her own "Money Shot" special on Comedy Central.

Heather McDonald: Besides performing stand up comedy, Heather McDonald is a full-time writer and story producer on the E! Channel's top rated show "Chelsea Lately." She has a top-selling book called "You'll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again" and you can find her writing (and opinion) in US Weekly's "fashion police" section.

Gary Valentine: A stand-up comedian and regular on the television show "The King of Queens", he has also has had his own show on Comedy Central Presents and appeared on Jay Leno. He can be seen in movies such as "Stuck on You," "I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry" and "Paul Blart Mall Cop."

Josh Wolf: Josh's unique, honest and high energy style of storytelling makes him a favorite stand-up comedian at The Improv, The Laugh Factory and The World Famous Comedy Store. He has also done a one-man show at the HBO Workspace as well as written for television shows for years, such as "Fairly Normal," "Yes, Dear," Will Smith's "All of US," which he has also acted on, and "Cuts." He can be seen on shows such as "My Name is Earl" and "Chelsea Lately" and has had several hosting gigs for E! entertainment.

Looks like it's time to do the same thing with these comedians that was done with Jill Sobule and try to educate them about why supporting Generation Rescue is supporting anti-vaccine pseudoscience. Sobule totally got it; so we can hope that these entertainers will "get it" too when educated about just what it is they've hooked up with. If you're a fan of of any of these performers, please consider sending her an e-mail or contacting her on Facebook (and I know some of my Facebook friends have also friended her) expressing your disappointment to them for associating with this sort of pseudoscience and trying to educate them.

Contact information for the comics can be found at the links:

As always, be calm and respectful. Lay out succinctly why Generation Rescue is not a "charity" that any performer should want to associate his name with and how proceeds from any fundraising go to promote anti-vaccine pseudoscience and to "grants" to pay for "autism biomed" treatments for autistic children.

More like this

Orac note: Please be sure to read the addendum. Say it ain't so, Jill! Check out this e-mail notice from the latest Generation Rescue mailing list sent to me by a reader. It's apparently legitimate, because I found a copy of it on the Generation Rescue website itself. Look at who's being featured…
I was called upon once before, and now I'm called upon again. Jenny McCarthy needs me: From: "Jenny McCarthy" volunteer@generationrescue.org Reply-to: volunteer@generationrescue.org To: orac@scienceblogs.com Date: Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 11:26 AM Subject: News From Jenny McCarthy Become a Rescue Angel…
Oh, geez. You might have noticed that I haven't written much about Jenny McCarthy in a while. The reason is fairly obvious. She seems to have faded into the background as far as her previous promotion of a vaccine-autism link. Three years ago, she was leading marches on Washington in which anti-…
Over the last year and a half, Jenny McCarthy has been, unfortunately, a fairly frequent topic of this blog. There is, of course, a reason for this. Ever since she published her first book on autism back in the summer of 2007, she has become the public face of the antivaccine movement and autism…

You're probably wasting your time trying to educate these comedians. They all work for Chelsea Handler and the Chelsea Lately TV program. Chelsea Handler is best friends with Jenny McCarthy.

Damn! I *like* that building! Seems it has a 1000 seat theatre.... the website lists events, including Jenny's (palaceoffinearts.org)

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

The plan per Orac:

Act sincerely really nice and respectful like you really mean it. You know, act like your on their side and you really are concerned about them and their image.

If they don't see things your way then show them your TRUE self. Ridicule, shame, insults, and the wrath of true skeptic brand of science.

Help, methinks science has been hijacked by a bunch of thugs. Scientism lives.

By augustine (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

You are a pathetic piece of shit. Fuck you, Orac!

By OracIsAFuck (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

You are a pathetic piece of shit. Fuck you, Orac! This is to help kids, and you want to try to black list them? How low can you possibly get? What a fucking asshole you are.

By DorkskitheDick (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

You are a pathetic piece of shit. Fuck you, Orac! This is to help kids, and you want to try to black list them? How low can you possibly get? What a fucking asshole.

By How Pathetic (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

Aww...look! Poor wittle Orac is too afraid to let my comments come through. I thought that you were too high and mighty to resort to censorship. Not only are you an idiot, Orac, but you're a hypocrite too.

By How pathetic (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

@5, umm, pathetic? We can all see your comments. Your persecution complex is showing.

By Powerfuldot (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

LOL - definitely pathetic!

wow...seems like someone forgot their meds...as well as not understanding the concept of a comment filter :-/

In spite of the rant by augie and one (or more) other deranged commenters, this show is about promoting lies and making money for quacks. If the performers are okay with that then they are open to ridicule.

Sorry (not) that you are offended by us standing behind the research and science while you push quackery and death.

He probably had an earlier comment full of "educational" links that got hung up in the filter.

Aww...look! Poor wittle Orac is too afraid to let my comments come through. I thought that you were too high and mighty to resort to censorship. Not only are you an idiot, Orac, but you're a hypocrite too.

Apparently "How pathetic" is pathetically unaware of the concept of a comment filter. Here's a hint. There's a spam filter and some custom filters that I've created that mark posts for automatic moderation. Certain profanities will trip the filters. So will too many links, because the built-in spam filter views comments with too many links as spam.

I approve virtually every non-spam post that gets sent to the moderation queue (with the exception of posts that contain nothing other than grammar, style, or spelling flames, which I delete with extreme prejudice because they contribute nothing substantive to the discussion and serve merely for the commenter to try to play "gotcha" and feel superior), but I do not sit in front of my computer 24 hours a day, appearances notwithstanding.

I'm going to be out and about Chicago most of the rest of the day. What that means is that if your comment gets caught in the spam filter it may well be several hours before I get around to approving it. It does not mean I am "censoring" you. Deal with it or don't comment if having to wait a few hours before seeing your idiotic words appear in the comments of this blog gets you so hot and bothered.

This is to help kids, and you want to try to black list them? How low can you possibly get?

Umm, no. It's to help a bunch of anti-vaxx organisations fund their lies and propaganda. And it won't help kids one bit. Quite the opposite, in fact, as evidenced by those seven children killed by pertussis in California.
PS the reason your comments didn't show was because they had profanities. The comment filter traps that. I know: a comment of mine was trapped for profanity.

Educating performers and attempting to persuade them to back responsible elements of the fight against autism sounds like a worthy endeavor to me.

The foolish hyperbole and profane hostility that's already been generated in response to Orac's piece might furnish additional clues to those comedians about the nature of the organization and people they've allied themselves with.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

This is to help kids, and you want to try to black list them? How low can you possibly get?

Umm, this is to help a bunch of anti-vaxx groups better spread their lies. It won't help any kids. Quite the opposite, as evidenced by the pertussis outbreak in California which has so far killed seven babies.

Won't someone think of the children!?

Sorry, I couldn't help it.

OracIsAFuck, DorkskitheDick, and How Pathetic: Congratulations on achieving the most obvious sockpuppeting I've ever seen, as well as being probably the most immature person on the Internet. Go find some other pretty lights to stare at and then bitch about.

Augustine: "Blacklisting" is when a performer's reputation is severly marred, fairly or unfairly, and as a result they are unable to find any work. It does not mean "suggesting to a performer that they may not wish to associate themselves with a particular organization." In future, learn what words mean before you use them.

By Lycanthrope (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

Interesting. Josh Wolf and Gary Valentine both worked with Scientology celebrities as well (on King of Queens & My Name is Earl). The stupid might have rubbed off on them.

By Anonymous (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

Augustine, you are a tool.

Act sincerely really nice and respectful like you really mean it. You know, act like your on their side and you really are concerned about them and their image.

If they don't see things your way then show them your TRUE self. Ridicule, shame, insults, and the wrath of true skeptic brand of science.

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Assume they aren't aware of what they are supporting. Explain to them. After all, they might not realise it. This isn't about "acting," it is a genuine attempt to educate them, and could benefit them.

If they respond that they know that it supports quackery and antivaccine pseudoscience and that they still plan to perform, then we can mock them - since we've discovered that not only do they already know what the organization stands for, but they are happily helping it.

Idiot.

By Epinephrine (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

âDad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis.â

-- Jack Handey

"This is to help kids,"

fail...

Anon, if we held all entertainers who have worked with Scientologists up as likely to have had the stupid rub off on them, that would pretty much wipe out the credibility of the entire entertainment industry. I know, I know, I say that like it's a bad thing. But, while I think few would disagree that entertainers' opinions on unrelated subjects are given too much importance as a general statement' I prefer to let them show that they're dumbasses on their own, not just because of (former) coworkers.

I can forgive someone for being conned into doing a benefit for an "autism charity" without doing the requisite Googling of said charity first, esp. as none of these are major names yet, and doing a benefit could be seen as an easy way to promote their career. If, when informed that they may have been too trusting, they don't pull a Sobule and correct their error, they are totally signing up for mocking.

that would pretty much wipe out the credibility of the entire entertainment industry.

You talk like the entertainment industry has any credibility other than entertaining.

I'd like to suggest to those who contact the comedians or who post here in opposition to the comics' participation that they offer names of other autism organizations that enjoy a better reputation than Age of Autism or Generation Rescue.

Supporting the fight against autism is something I am sure we can all get behind. Some organizations are more reasonable than others. Shall we start a list?

By PsyberDave (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

Autism Science Foundation comes immediately to mind.

By Orange Lantern (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

@28 - That's a great idea. I saw a flyer for a local event for ASAT - The Assoc. for Science in Autism Treatment and I was wondering if it was on the "good" side. From its website, it looks good, but there are so many orgs with similar names, it's hard to keep track.

By gpmtrixie (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

Who were the scientologists on My Name Is Earl?

ahh, they're chelsea lately regulars, no wonder i've never heard of them. don't find her funny, don't find any of the half dozen of her vehicles that have failed to become successful funny. i guess i prefer "smart" comedy.

San Francisco has some local advocacy groups, such as AASCEND and Autastics, that are run for autistic/aspergers people by autistic/aspergers people. Parents Helping Parents helped me locate local resources and did not mention anything fishy.

Oh, and the timing of this announcement couldn't be better ; my state representatives just emailed me that California has a pertussis epidemic. Thank you, Jenny McCarthy.

ToxKat

By Toxicology Kat (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

Who were the scientologists on My Name Is Earl?

actor Jason Lee is a Scientologist, as is show creator Greg Garcia and Ethan Suplee who plays Earl's slow-reader brother Randy. So far, so creepy. But there has also been a guest appearance from Juliette Lewis, Suplee's sister-in-law and a practising Scientologist. Also down with the Church is Giovanni Ribisi, who plays recurring character Ralph Mariano.

From: http://bit.ly/18K35x

pathetic says:
"Not only are you an idiot, Orac, but you're a hypocrite too."

BLAST! Thanks Pathetic for letting me know that. All this time I actually thought Orac was a highly educated Physician and Scientist.
I can't believe I've been fooled by this charlatan.

By nitramnaed (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

I live near San Francisco. Let me know if there is going to be a (peaceful of course) protest outside of the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts. I will be there in my nursing scrubs, holding a sign.

Gwen, I live south of SF... that's a great idea. Should I wear a labcoat as a researcher or would that just look like I was impersonating an MD?

By Toxicology Kat (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

[trolls universally ignored]
I suppose we might hope to hear that these people have watched this month's Penn & Teller, and realize that no, it's not a good thing to support quackery.
As for why we don't think of the children . . .
How about we think of the tortuous sham-treatments, invasive procedures and outright poisoning that Ill-informed but otherwise well-meaning parents put their children through because of the "Autism Biomed" scams?

I'm a little insulted. My comments seem to slip right through without any real delay. Hmmm, I need to step this up a bit.

By DrWonderful (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

Gwen & Toxicology Kat -- I too live south of SF, within driving distance, as do a number of pro-science autism families involved with The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism.

Great suggestion from PsyberDave. What one organization serves (in a science-based way) the most kids on the spectrum in the Bay Area? I don't know.

PysberDave @28:

Supporting the fight against autism is something I am sure we can all get behind.

Uhhhm, a suggestion. Rather than "fight against" how about "more services and community support for individuals and families affected by autism".

It's not just hair-splitting. Fighting against something also implies eliminating it. That's a fair-enough goal for a communicable disease (like polio, pertussis, or measles) -- but not so much for a condition such as Down Syndrome or autism, in which "fight against" implies that there should be no such individuals who have the condition.

Orac wrote:

I do not sit in front of my computer 24 hours a day, appearances notwithstanding.

It's beautiful, isn't it? If you're at your computer 24/7, you're not doing your job. If you're not at your computer 24/7, you're trampling free speech underfoot.

By Andreas Johansson (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

Support your local behavior analysts.

@Epinephrine

"Augustine, you are a tool."

No, no, no. You have Augustine all wrong. Tools are useful.

By The Gregarious… (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

'Tools are useful'

Like a Hammerfor.

"'Tools are useful'

"Like a Hammerfor."

Oh man, what is a hammerfor? (couldn't resist)

If they don't see things your way then show them your TRUE self. Ridicule, shame, insults, and the wrath of true skeptic brand of science.

Help, methinks science has been hijacked by a bunch of extremists. Scientism lives.

The evidence:

[@Epinephrine

"Augustine, you are a tool."

No, no, no. You have Augustine all wrong. Tools are useful.

Posted by: The Gregarious Misanthrope | August 21, 2010 2:39 AM
49

'Tools are useful'

Like a Hammerfor.

Posted by: Coryat | August 21, 2010 9:26 AM
50

"'Tools are useful'

"Like a Hammerfor."

Oh man, what is a hammerfor? (couldn't resist)

Posted by: clayton | August 21, 2010 12:23 PM]

By augustine (not verified) on 21 Aug 2010 #permalink

I did not know that Chelsea Handler is a good friend of Jenny McCarthy - that is truly depressing to me. I will be in my room for the rest of the day. That will be all.

clayton, I suspect a hammerfor is related to a "cluebyfour."

Um Augustine??? I know how smart you are (or at least claim you are) but you keep making this mistake: "act like your on their side", that should be "you're", it is not a little mistake the entire sentence really has no meaning the way you wrote it. For those of us who are trying to hard to root for you (not) this isn't helping your cause at all.

Agashem!

Bless you!

Orac meant this for you:

[I approve virtually every non-spam post that gets sent to the moderation queue (with the exception of posts that contain nothing other than grammar, style, or spelling flames, which I delete with extreme prejudice because they contribute nothing substantive to the discussion and serve merely for the commenter to try to play "gotcha" and feel superior)]

It's

By augustine (not verified) on 21 Aug 2010 #permalink

Actually augustine is more like an appendix. No known useful purpose, one can live without it, and it sometimes becomes inflamed and potentially harmful.

By The Gregarious… (not verified) on 21 Aug 2010 #permalink

Another good, science-based program supporting autistics and their families, is the Lurie Family Autism Center/LADDERS. They provide treatment services for those with autism, as well as support and educational services for family or other caregivers. They can also help families find support services near them, if they are not local to Boston. I'm not sure if they have any collaborators in the SF area, but it is another to add to the list.

@54, others:

I really like that the "Make fun of Augustine" fad is catching on. You guys make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

By Chance Gearhea… (not verified) on 21 Aug 2010 #permalink

@Chance Gearheart

I can't tell if your statement is sarcastic or not, though I'm leaning toward sarcastic.

By The Gregarious… (not verified) on 21 Aug 2010 #permalink

I've written to several of the comedian's managers. None of them knew what I was talking about or were confused about my concern for the reputations of their clients. They've all been linked back to this article and some pro-vax, pro-science autism sites. We'll see what happens, but most of them just seemed annoyed.

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 22 Aug 2010 #permalink

Hmm..it would appear that it is not the entertainers who were "sucked," but the writer of this site who sucks. What a moron.

Augustine, I'm confused. You claimed that science supporters think:

"If they don't see things your way then show them your TRUE self. Ridicule, shame, insults, and the wrath of true skeptic brand of science.

Help, methinks science has been hijacked by a bunch of extremists. Scientism lives."

Before quoting as your evidence me innocently noting that a hammerfor is a tool. What gives? Are you actually that dull?

@61

Astoundingly clever.

By mikerattlesnake (not verified) on 24 Aug 2010 #permalink

And really, bravo to all the trolls for their outstanding performance in this thread. Really making the case for civility without a hint of irony...

By mikerattlesnake (not verified) on 24 Aug 2010 #permalink

Egads! Such vitriol. This is a pretty innocuous post.. Orac simply points out an event where some entertainers who were likely mislead or are otherwise unaware as to the true intentions of what it is they'll appear to be supporting could use some education. He deserves to be verbally assaulted for this? I don't get it.

For those who are anti-vaccine and trolling this website: if you had a foot to stand on you'd actually argue your point rather than descending into blind slander.

Mike: "For those who are anti-vaccine and trolling this website: if you had a foot to stand on you'd actually argue your point rather than descending into blind slander."

They probably lost that foot to some vaccine preventable disease

By Drivebyposter (not verified) on 24 Aug 2010 #permalink