Desiree Jennings & Dr. Buttar on Inside Edition

I feel like a total asshole for laughing at this but I swear I cannot help it. Jennings is the cheerleader who claimed she developed dystonia after a flu shot, despite the fact that the science-based medical community unanimously cried, “Bullshit.” She was then mostly “cured” by Dr. Buttar, Quack of Distinction.

Inside Edition secretly followed her around, showing that she walked perfectly normally. When they confronted her, she went back to her jerky movements. But the bonus is that she now speaks with a strange Cockney/Australian accent. WTF! My favorite part of this is when our own Steve Novella is forced to tell the camera that no, you cannot contract Magical New Accent Syndrome (MNAS) from a flu shot.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. I’m not a doctor,* but those symptoms are faker than Meg Ryan’s orgasms.

    It’s remarkable how they seem to manifest most severely as soon as she notices the camera.

    *But Dr. Steven Novella is.

  2. Why is she doing this? Is it the attention? I thought she was a tool for the anti-vax crowds for a while, but after that video, what is she getting out of it?

  3. hahaha, the only thing that would have made this more amusing is if she said “Ello Guv’na”.

    Lesson to be learned, be wary of Quacks who’s last names start with a “Butt”

  4. This is the closest thing to “responsible journalism” I’ve ever seen come out of Inside Edition, so good for them.

    Also, I love the initial part of the interview with Steve: “Dr. Novella is a neurologist – you can see that because here he is looking at xrays of someone’s head. See the xrays? That’s ’cause he’s a doctor!”

  5. Maybe she’s now channeling one of her past lives that had an accent. Vaccines cause you to be in contact with your past lives! Aiiieee/woohoo depending on if you want that or not.

    Mind you, those who are on Jennings’ side can probably claim that diagnosis by video is no more legitimate in this case than it was with Frist and Schiavo. So if it is legitimate for Dr. Novella to diagnose by video in this case, can someone please post a link to info explaining why that is? I am assuming, since he’s slammed Frist on this in the podcast, that his diagnosis by video is more legitimate and I’d like to hear why.

  6. @kimberlychapman: He’s not diagnosing by video, and he’s pointed that out in the past on the podcast. (There’s a chance he pointed it out here, but you never have control of the final edit to decide which 30 seconds of your 6-hour interview is used!)

    What Steve does do is say that with the symptoms she describes, it is a virtual impossibility that she has the disease she claims, and it is definitely impossible to be cured by the way she claims to have been cured.

    ETA: And once he does all that, he uses ye olde Occam’s Razor to suggest that perhaps it’s all in her head.

  7. My favorite part of this video is Novella having to explain that you cannot get a british accent from a flu shot. It’s so funny and sad at the same time when that HAS to be explained to people. Although it does make me wonder when Rebecca will start to get an accent, we should seriously start betting on that.

  8. May I be the first to yell “Constanza!”

    And she ain’t getting no acting contract with those moves. (Nick’s right about Meg Ryan too.)

  9. Yeah, I’m beginning to think that Desiree may be a hypochondriac, especially when she hears or reads about a rare medical condition and then starts to mysteriously develop the symptoms associated with it. If only we could confirm that she’s prone to do things that draw attention to herself, like dance around in skimpy clothes in front of thousands of people and multiple tv cameras?

  10. No, silly people. You can’t get a British accent from a flu vaccine. That’s an Australian accent.

    You get a British accent from Gardasil. Come on, this is basic!

  11. I want to know how they got the shot of Dr. Novella looking at the x-rays. Does the producer come in and say “can you do something doctor-y for us?”

  12. @kimberlychapman:

    I’m not a medical doctor, but I would guess that diagnosing dystonia pretty much involves watching how the patient moves, while figuring out whether anything’s going on inside a patient’s head is a bit trickier.

  13. After seeing all the crap that she went through with her “treatment,” I wonder if she’s just too psychologically invested in being sick at this point. It might be easier for her to keep up the pretense than to face the fact that she went through all that garbage for nothing.

  14. As I said over on Pharyngula…

    So she takes a flu shot, which somehow causes damage to her central nervous system, which impairs her motor skills. That same neurological damage that periodically caused her to lose control of her muscles also caused the precise changes in her brain to make her sound like she learned to speak her native language in another country?

    The plausibility of this story is somewhere between the Loch Ness Monster and Atlantis. Why is anyone still paying this attention whore any mind?

  15. I’d like to see Inside Edition attach a tiny microphone to the back of her neck and find out if she speaks the same way when the cameras aren’t around.

  16. @Rebecca: Oh yeah, I assumed he pointed it out in the interview and it didn’t make the cut. I’m still catching up on the podcasts (I’m in summer of 2007 right now) so I haven’t heard him talk about this case, I don’t think.

    I was hoping for an explanation as suggested by jwwalker, that her movements weren’t anything like the real disease, or something. If it’s in the podcasts, I’ll catch up to it soon. Thanks.

    BTW speaking of catching up on the podcasts, I sent a message through the site asking you to stop being so damned funny when my giggles were wrecking my cake decorating and the very next episode, you weren’t there and it wasn’t as funny, so thanks for going back in time like I asked and for proving time travel exists! Woot!

  17. I very nearly rolled around on the floor laughing after watching this. Satire is dead. That was so Monty Python I expected John Cleese to be introduced as her new doctor.

    Ministry Of Funny Walks

  18. This one is fine, but I’ve seen a lot of coverage of this story claiming that she’s faking. The worst being PZ Myers. Even Steven Novella has said that she’s probably not faking.

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