Anti-vaxxer personal attacks – embracing hatred and ad hominems

The anti-vaxxer cult, also known as vaccine deniers, are infamous for their ad hominem personal attacks on anyone who disagrees with their pseudoscience, anti-science beliefs. I’ve documented a tiny percentage of their vile hatred towards us, but I don’t have enough time to keep up with their hate speech.

These anti-vaxxer crackpots were beside themselves recently, when the New York University Langone Medical Center hosted a lecture and panel discussion entitled “Confronting Vaccine Resistance – Strategies for Success.” Sounds like a great one to attend.

But what must have caused arteries to burst across the anti-vaxxer world are the list of speakers – Dr. Paul OffitDr. Richard Pan, and Prof. Dorit Rubinstein Reiss. If you’re unfamiliar with these three, at which point I would have to ask why you don’t know them, let me spend a minute just telling you about them.

Dr. Offit is one of the leading authorities on vaccines on this planet. He has committed to world-class research and training to understand all facets of vaccines. His left pinky finger probably knows more about vaccines than the whole lot of the anti-vaxxer cult. He invented a vaccine for rotavirus, which is the source of all sorts of anti-vaxxer attacks, ignoring the fact that hundreds of thousands of lives are saved every year by the vaccine.

Dr. Pan is a California State Senator who lead the fight for California SB 277, which mandated vaccines for children in school. Of course, the anti-vaccine movement did not appreciate this effort to save lives of children, so they attacked Dr. Pan in some particularly filthy ways.

Finally, Prof. Reiss, a tenured professor of law at University of California Hastings School of Law, is a regular contributor to this website. She is an expert on vaccines and the law and is one of the most civil individuals I know in spite of withering attacks on herself, her family, her education, and yes, her ethnicity. She has to deal with disgusting and disturbing anti-semitic attacks, along with just about every other personal attack one could imagine.

So these three are together in New York discussing how to overcome vaccine resistance. I’m almost certain that the anti-vaxxer cult will will think these lectures are presented in the Gates of Hell by three demons. Nah, I’m sure I exaggerate, they will hardly notice.


Anti-vaxxer cult gets angry

Well, of course, they got angry.

The anti-science and anti-autism group, Age of Lying about Autism, listed out their usual and unsubstantiated lies about Drs. Pan, Offit and Reiss. At the same time, they encouraged some lame protest of the lectures. I’m sure that was laughable.

[infobox icon=”quote-left”]Please plan on attending a demonstration against an event entitled “Confronting Vaccine Resistance” which will be coming to the New York University Langone Medical Center this Monday, November 21, 2016. Please meet at 11 am at 550 First Avenue in Manhattan to greet the speakers and attendees. The meeting is closed to the public but will feature three of America’s leading proponents of forced vaccination: Paul Offit, California State Senator Richard Pan and anti-vaccination rights Internet troll Dorit Reiss.[/infobox]

“Forced vaccination?” It’s pretty clear that they do not understand what constitutes “mandatory vaccination” – if you want children to go to school, they must be vaccinated to protect all children. On the other hand, if they don’t want their kids to go school, they don’t have to vaccinate them. Seems easy to understand.

Ah, but there’s more – “joining the demonstration will be…VAXXED producers Polly Tommey and Del Bigtree.” Yup, that Vaxxed, which was one of the most criticized documentaries fraudumentaries of recent vintage. Polly Tommey is an anti-vaccine hack, with a long history as an anti-vaxxer. And Del Bigtree knows about as much about vaccines and science as my cat. In other words, he’s not credible. And his claim that vaccines cause autism, because Andrew Wakefield says so in the fraudumentary, is simply dismissed by science.

The cerebral Orac has a much more detailed critique of this “protest.”  He concludes, “Unfortunately, good medicine is the farthest thing from what Bigtree and company are promoting.” Yup.

I don’t know how much of a “protest” formed there, but I don’t think it was that big. But there was more out of this day.

Anti-vaxxer interrupts Dr. Offit’s breakfast

While Dr. Offit was enjoying a breakfast before the meeting, a Vaxxed cameraman (they really need to get another job) ambushes him.

Breakfast is my favorite meal.  If you interrupt my eggs and bacon with a camera shoved in my face, whatever limited civility I have will go out the window.

Dr. Offit responds with a “get the fuck out of here.” I’m sure some of you will be offended by “fuck,” but I’ve got to tell you that in multiple decades of working with top notch physicians, the f-bomb is just a part of the standard medical dictionary. And let’s be honest, it is a wonderful word with so many uses. I was laughing when he said it.

And because Dr. Offit is the ultimate professional, he explained his actions:

[infobox icon=”quote-left”]Let me explain what happened yesterday.

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss sent me an email stating that the VAXXED crowd would be protesting before the symposium in front of NYU-Langone. So I took the early morning train (6:30am) from Philly so that I could get to NYU before they gathered. I don’t like having to walk through crowds like this for obvious reasons (I had to do this once at the CDC and it wasn’t fun.)

I entered the main building where I was met by a security guard. I told him that I was one of the speakers and he directed me to go to the cafeteria for breakfast where “I would be safe.” After sitting near the window for about 15 minutes (not imagining this would ever be a problem) I noticed Polly Tommey filming me from the street and another woman gesturing for me to look at their VAXXED truck.

It was unnerving. I felt ambushed.

At the same time that I noticed this, a man claiming to be “the cameraman for VAXXED” came up behind me and asked me to come in to the VAXXED truck to be interviewed. He had what looked like a camera which was around his neck but now I know that he was actually recording me. I asked him if he was recording me and he said that he wasn’t. I declined his request politely several times but he persisted.

Frankly the guy was a little frightening (now I know that this was Josh Coleman, who has a criminal past). So I cursed at him. Not terribly proud of this, but I’m human. I also can’t stand the way that the “VAXXED team” denigrates children with autism and scares parents away from vaccines. Frankly, I think their “quest” is a dangerous one. Now I’m just trying to deal with the fallout, primarily from our hospital’s PR team who are concerned that the video of me keeps showing up on their Facebook page. And so it goes.[/infobox]

Yes, Dr. Offit was ambushed by this horrible group of anti-autism, anti-vaccine cultists. They have no civility. They have no propriety. Because they have zero science backing their claim (unless you want to think Wakefield’s lies constitute science), they have to attack and attack and attack.

Predictably, the Age of Lying about Autism had to celebrate Dr. Offit’s declining to be interviewed, repeating oft-debunked lies about him. I will repeat myself – the rotavirus vaccine has saved millions of lives worldwide. Period. End of story.

And the anti-vaxxer reaction on Facebook was typically disgusting.


What a wonderful, delightful group of people.

Drs. Offit, Pan and Reiss are always standing in front of the anti-vaxxer personal attacks. I admire them for their standing up for children, for autism and for science. They put up with personal attacks that are so hateful, I actually think that many of them must have some serious psychiatric disorders.

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The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!