Hey Facebook, GET MY FACE DOWN!

Monday I updated you with the latest and greatest in classy schemes brought to you by the very good people over at Age of Autism.

Long story short, AoA was sponsoring some BS anti-flu shot ads to run at AMC theaters over Thanksgiving weekend. You guys rocked the shit out of slacktivism and, within hours, AMC agreed to never run the ads.

And the world was good. Everyone ate turkey. I ran a bunch of 5Ks. We went to parties. We went to work. And life went on.

Until Sunday.

Sunday morning, AoA got vindictive and posted some not-so-nice stuff about me on their Facebok page. That was no surprise. The surprise came when my daughter, 6-month-old Delaney, was displayed for mockery and abuse. AoA says that it was “news” and their readers deserved to know who I was…but that they didn’t have 40 seconds to spend Googling my name to find a picture of me that didn’t include either of my children.

Age of Autism Stopping Americans unable to understand? What is she St. Skepchick? She interefered with medical choice and commerce. That's her right to make the attempt. We dis not use her name. We pulled her public photo that she used here on FB. We ran it on FB, not the main site - our readers deserved to know who was behind (at the outer level anyway) the AMC campaign to stop the ads. We provide news. This was news. Yesterday at 5:54am
It’s news that I have a face, apparently. AoA got the scoop!

So I flagged the post for removal. And so did the rest of the Skepchicks. And so did a bunch of you.

But Facebook hasn’t removed it.

Since posting the photo, commenters have posted my full name and my workplace, and some have attempted to friend me on FB. (I can only speculate that this is an attempt to dig for more personal information.)

Brie Cadman of has written and article about the debacle and put together a petition to ask Facebook, again, to remove the photo of Delaney and me along with their charming displays of compassion and humanity.

Since you people are the Greatest Slacktivists EVER (Guinness is certifying this right now!) I know you can take a few minutes to go over and sign this petition.

Delaney, wearing her Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated. T-shirt.

Little Delaney Bug deserves better than this; I mean really, everyone deserves better than this.

And, once you’ve finished signing the petition, you can head over to the new Facebook group, Friends of Elyse, which was put together by Skepchick reader James Fox, for people to show their support for me in light of this new smear campaign.

It’s a nice place on the internet where people can talk about how they love their kids so much they vaccinate them… or they hate germy kids and so they’re glad people vaccinate them… or they have mercury fetishes, so they get flu shots like crazy. Which is weird, because…. oh, I’m not going to get into it; just stop hogging all the vaccines. People need them to save lives and shit.

But first, sign the petition.

Lastly, thank you everyone for your amazing outpouring of support and encouragement. You guys make saving the world so worth it.

***Update: The post, my picture and all the disgusting comments have been removed from Age of Autism’s Facebook page. Thank you everyone for your help! ***

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Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. @infinitemonkey:

    You’re a minion already?! You lucky lucky bastard. My dream is to be allowed to be a minion. Just for a day. They must think the sun shines out of your …

    Petition Signed.


  2. Signed.

    Also, I really love how they’re phrasing it like it’s a copyright issue. Why do so many ignorant people think copyright ends if you post something online? Cook’s Source, anyone?

  3. FB is built on Cassandra, iirc…entry >>retrieval>> deletion paradigm, iirc. Give it a bit for all the nodes to agree.

    Or…I could be completely full of it. Too much info in too many areas to keep track of. :(

    Good job on AMC, I’ll poke ’em (subtly) for yah. ;)

  4. Who has two thumbs and works at This guy!

    I’m going to see if we can promote this to a prominent place on the site (depending on our editorial review).

  5. @Elyse: I see what u did thar.

    Petition happily signed. All while boozin it up on my couch at home. I can totally get behind this kind of activismthatswhatshesaid!

  6. I signed. My kids are vaccinated, I was vaccinated, my siblings were vaccinated.

    Elyse, how does one get promoted from private to corporal in this outfit? My wife is a bit on the jealous side at times…

  7. “The surprise came when my daughter, 6-month-old Delaney, was displayed for mockery and abuse.”

    Okay. I was totally on your side until, in a blog post seems to hint that you feel threatened by lunatics identifying your daughter through photos posted on the internet…

    You posted a photo of your child…

    … on the internet.

    If you seriously feel like they’re a danger to your child… WTF?

  8. @delphi_ote:

    Ummmm…. so what you’re saying is that since they put my daughter up for ridicule, wishing harm upon her, and threatening me, you’re no longer taking sides because I put a picture up of the girl they’re bullying?

    Yeah…. I wouldn’t want to do something like put a human face on this.

    Don’t worry, I won’t let Delaney roam the streets alone for the next few months.

  9. Christ. These people seem to have no idea what freedom of choice actually is despite the fact that they are obsessed with it.

    Nobody is trying to force anyone to do anything. The only thing that the pro-vaccine, skeptic side is trying to do is provide a counter argument and expose them for what they are. If that results in their message becoming unpalatable to many and losing support then good, but that’s not oppression.

    Persuading someone is not the same as forcing them.

    Unfortunately for them, freedom of expression tends to be a big problem for those who don’t have the facts on their side.

  10. @Elyse

    Transparency is transparency…I’ve tried explaining this to friends of mine (re: why I don’t FB anymore), that it doesn’t matter what you meant, but what happens with the data.

    Don’t get me wrong, I applaud your actions.

  11. @delphi_ote: “Okay. I was totally on your side until, in a blog post seems to hint that you feel threatened by lunatics identifying your daughter through photos posted on the internet…

    You posted a photo of your child…

    … on the internet.

    If you seriously feel like they’re a danger to your child… WTF?”

    I completely disagree with delphi_ote.
    Why can’t you see the difference between having a picture of your kid on your own page, and the same pic being used as part of a violent threatening smear campaign?

    Elyse and her family deserve all the support we can give them, NOW!

  12. Signed! Good luck with everything and know that we all love you for fighting the good fight, Elyse.

    @James Fox: LMAO. I saw that on the original fb post *eyeroll*

  13. Delurking to say: if it hadn’t been for your constant reminders about vaccination and whatnot, I would have forgotten (for the umpteenth time) to go in and get the Tdap. So, for whatever it’s worth, you’re doing good.

    Keep up the good work, and don’t let the bastards get to you, otherwise, they’ve won. And that would be no good.

  14. Delurking to say: if it hadn’t been for your constant reminders about vaccination and whatnot, I would have forgotten (for the umpteenth time) to go in and get the Tdap. So, for whatever it’s worth, you’re doing good.

    Keep up the good work, and don’t let the bastards get to you, otherwise, they’ve won. And that would be no good.

  15. I agree with @delphi_ot. I don’t think it’s bad that you’re putting a face on the situation, and I agree that they shouldn’t be using your picture or issuing threats and giving out personal information. I think facebook should take it down.

    But I do think putting up a pic of your kid on this story is a bit odd due to the stance on privacy you seem to take.

    I guess my question is, if AoA linked to this story the way facebook links to websites, they could easily select the pic for the preview picture of the story, and how would you feel about that?

    If the goal is protection, I think it was a mistake to post the pic of your child.

    All that said, I still support your efforts, and even though I don’t usually sign online petitions because they’re generally worthless and ignored, I’ll sign this one since it’s dealing with an online issue.

  16. Would love to assist but couldn’t understand the petition form. Should I just fill in a fake State and Zipcode?

  17. @Sc00ter: I don’t understand you. Elyse is facing a serious threat. She doesn’t take it laying down. In my book, that means you don’t hide and run, but fight back. That’s what she’s doing, and being a proud mother, Elyse is not going to make it appear as if her own children did not exist.
    It’s AoA which has no right to use the picture of a child as part of a vicious attack against Elyse. And it’s FB which should tell them to stop it!
    You have it backwards, I’m afraid.

  18. @Luciano: Again, let me point out that I’m not saying that Elyse shouldn’t fight back, or that what AoA is doing is right or should be allowed. I 100% back Elyse’s fight to get this post removed from Facebook. I also don’t think that Elyse should act like her children don’t exist.

    Like @delphi_ot said:

    “you feel threatened by lunatics identifying your daughter through photos posted on the internet…

    You posted a photo of your child…

    … on the internet.”

    It just seems counter productive to me. Especially since now they can link to this story on their Facebook page to comment on it, and it doesn’t seem like that would be a violation of Facebook’s policies and they would be able to use the photo in the story in the link based on the way Facebook works when linking to articles. It would also be a lot harder to get that removed since they’re not “stealing a picture” and posting it under their own profile, but just linking to it via Facebook’s own sharing mechanism.

  19. @csrster: No, you should put your real information. People using fake info is EXACTLY why online petitions are not taken seriously and end up being a waste of time and counter-productive.

  20. Signed!

    Seriously, since you put them back on my radar, I’ve been trying to make sense of AoA’s wall posts and blog. My head hurts from all the WTFery. I had some big, sensible thought to do with AoA, the so-called “monkeysphere”, and community customs like grooming, but I forgot it by the time I got home from work last night. All I remember is it probably had something to do with reading a news article about Jane Goodall, gorillas, and polio.

  21. Done, Elyse! In a heartbeat.

    Let me know of anything else I can do to help you. You have my e-mail. :-)

    Drbuzzo: They’re for their “freedom of choice,” no one else’s. Typical cult-like behavior that’s becoming all too common these days.

  22. @Skept-artist:
    You aren’t a Minion® already? You’ve been commenting here a while longer than I have. You should already be up to Henchman® by now.

    By that logic, I should be up to sidekick. I think it’s not so much about seniority, but about accomplishment and skill …

    As for using the photo, well, they could link to this post and use the photo contained within, but then people would have to click the story and possibly READ IT while looking for the full size picture. Which would be exactyly what you’d want, because AoA has no control over the content here like they do over in their own neck of the woods (i.e. no chance of removing facts that conflict with their message and such).

    So yeah, there definitely is a difference.

  23. @exarch: Nobody likes a braggart *wink*

    Misread/misunderstood your statement. (but I was just being silly anyway)

    By your achievement scale, I’d say I’m at about Background Henchman, Flipping Switches on a Control Panel for no Purpose®

  24. Signed, sealed and sent.

    Out of curiosety how does one gain entery to the dorkosphere and and what are the entry requirements to gain acess to your privates?

  25. @exarch:

    I spent a whole day in a hotel room with you… and I saw stars… and we had to shrink wrap the room for protection.

    I think you are at least key grip or something.

  26. I gripped something. It might have been the key.

    Actually, I did have posession of one of the keys to the skepchick party room, so that settles it.

  27. I too am a proud member of The Reject Minion Army of Dorkosphere. I’ve signed and I’ve twittered and will continue to twitter. Slackivism at its finest.

  28. OK right now the petition is up to 554 signatures. Tell your friends, see if it can get over 1,000 by end of the day.

  29. signed and joined!

    And hey, while we’re on the topic of vaccines, are there any resources out there to tell you when you should get boosters as an adult? I visit my doctor regularly, but I never get asked when my last booster shot for anything was. Frankly, the last time I was vaccinated for anything other than the flu was back in university when my school suffered a meningitis (or was it measles?) outbreak. I don’t even know what I need boosters for at this point.

  30. I’ve signed. Also I am a proud parent who has pictures of his kids up on his facebook page because I am proud of them. IF SOME ASSHOLE THINKS THEY CAN USE THAT AS AN EXCUSE TO THREATEN MY CHILDREN THEY ARE WRONG. IF I AM EVER IN PHYSICAL PROXIMITY TO SOMEONE WHO THINKS THEY CAN THREATEN MY CHILDREN I WILL FUCKING BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF THEM. Because you don’t threaten people, especially their kids, because they disagree with you. That is just not cool.

  31. Can I be a Minion? Can I? Can I? PUHLEEZE! Can I? Do I get a matching jump suit?

    (P.S. Signed yesterday.)

  32. Signed, joined, etc. This is certainly a perfectly good fight to be in.

    I hope that Reject Minion Army of Dorkosphere sticks.

  33. As someone who had to file a police report about a threat on my child earlier this week, I understand how difficult it is to draw the line between a public persona and privacy/safety. I find myself withdrawing from FB as time goes on out of fear of what might get passed on to the wrong person (and as the crazy-level ratchets up,) even though Skepchick FB friends are what keeps me going at times. I’ve found that I cannot stop my child’s exposure on the internet simply because I cannot control all the people who feel entitled to have an opinion about her. I live with blog posts about her and me that are filled with the delusions of an ill mind, but like Elyse, I will fight when and where I can. Regardless of what we choose to post, at no point is it acceptable for people to use our communications to threaten or engage in criminal behavior.

    *Hugs* Keep fighting the good fight, Elyse. It’s worth it even in those moments when all you’ve got left inside is the ability to only put one foot in front of the other. Delaney’s picture is a great reminder of why it’s all worth it.

  34. @here_fishy: Check the CDC . (I think you’re Canadian, but we’ll let you look just this once.)

    Following is my best understanding: For the Tdap, you should get it once at age 18+ if you haven’t already had a late teen/early adult Tdap, which is probably true if it’s been 10 or more years since your last tetanus shot. After that, you should get the tetanus/diptheria booster every 10 years. I think you should get the tetanus booster if you have a serious, dirty, penetrating wound (most likely to get exposed to tetanus) and it’s been more than 5 years since your last booster. Don’t know if this includes the diptheria as well.

    I was very bad; I hadn’t had any of these since I was 11, until I got my Tdap the summer before last. So it’s never too late (unless you are already dying of one of these diseases…) I have got my flu shot every year (2 last year, though) ever since I (and my whole company) got the flu about 12 years ago. The company pays for the shots, even when the insurance doesn’t cover it. It’s well worth it in reduced sick time, the payback is more than 100 to 1.

  35. I wish to sign, but I can’t get the petition to open. I don’t know if the site is overloaded, or if the problem is in my own computer/ network, which has been twitchy today.

  36. The facebook thread on the AoA page is now gone. A facebook friend alerted me to this a little while ago.

  37. @Elyse:
    My point was your rhetoric was about your daughter’s safety and privacy. If you actually meant any of that, and wasn’t just empty rhetoric to play with our emotions, you wouldn’t be posting pictures of your kid yourself on the internet.

    If you don’t have any fear of your daughter’s photos being posted here (Google indexed and associated with the entire controversy,) then you clearly don’t actually mean any of the rhetoric in your post. That means you’re using your daughter to make a cheap appeal to emotion to score points in an internet argument.

    So no. I absolutely don’t want to take your side in that.

  38. @delphi_ote:

    Yeah. It’s all just bullshit. They’re really threatening me, but I just want to fuck with you guys by putting my daughter’s picture up.

    It’s not at all that it’s MY daughter. MY pictures. And MY choice to post them. They don’t get to use an unflattering picture of her and use it to smear her. To wish her autism. To wish her poisoned. To call her ugly. They don’t get to post her picture as revenge against me. Never.

    She’s beautiful. And I’m not ashamed of that. And she deserves to have her face shown in a flattering manner. And to have people see the beautiful girl that these people are targeting.

    I’m sorry I’m not running scared enough for you to take this seriously.

    I have a choice. I can hide myself and hide my family and give in to these people. Or I can demand they stop being assholes, and while they do that, go on with my life and stand, unafraid, against them.

    You don’t get to make that choice for me. I’m sorry that you can’t support me and my family and this community because I’m not meek enough to get that sympathy from you.

  39. I’ve been out of town, but I wanted to add my voice in support, Elyse.

    Also, sue the bastards. Literally. Harassment, threats, slander–talk to a lawyer. I’ll pony up a few bucks (by which I mean something in the three or four figures) for the retainer. Remember, the Klan was not wiped out by traditional activism–they were literally sued out of existence.

  40. Dang, I just thanked SafeMinds in a blog post for taking that down. I didn’t realize that it may not have been their choice.

  41. @Elyse: It may be the unpopular position to take here, but I’m with @delphi_ote in their last comment. Then to go on and talk about how posting unflattering pics is bad.. I still agree that they shouldn’t have taken it and posted it the way they did, but they did use a pic that you yourself posted and even used as your profile pic. It did originally come from you and your posting of it.

    I also see you and others taking this approach that “children are sacred”. I’ve heard many describe this as a logical fallacy. I also see an extreme emotional response from many here. I’m not saying that the situation isn’t emotional, it totally is, but our (as skeptics) arguments shouldn’t be based on them.

    There’s two simple facts about what’s going on here. 1. They used a picture that you owned the rights to without your permission. This alone should be enough standing to get it taken down. and 2. They’re issuing threats against you, and as somebody else stated, you could try to sue them or bring up criminal charges against them.

    The fact that they’re “using your child” and that the photo is unflattering really have nothing to do with what’s going on except to get everybody all emotional and down to their crazy level. It’s best to avoid this situation. And by posting a pic of your child in this story you’re doing just that and undermining your case for privacy if this ever did go to court for any reason.

  42. @Sc00ter: Threats are all about emotions. That’s why I objectively consider threatening a person and their child as a worse offense than threatening just the person.
    Not because of the way it makes me feel, but because of the way it makes the target of the threat feel. It’s the same as the change in perception of threat caused by adding a picture of their front door, mentioning their address, their schedule or their allergy to peanuts. They all, to various degrees, up the ante, and thus should be considered as worse offenses.

    I also disagree that Elyse using a picture of her child in this article is in any way relevant. It’s unreasonable to demand in the electronic age that people stop sharing photos and personal information to avoid it being misused.
    If you think the correct response to a threat as this is to remove all pictures of yourself and your family from the net, you do have a point, but it’s a point I still disagree with. And if you don’t think that’s the correct response you are just plain wrong.

  43. @Bjornar, I think it’s still unfair to say their use of this picture in this instance was “upping the ante”. After all, this was a post on facebook, using Elyses own facebook profile picture.

    One could imagine that in the alternate universe where they actually DID google an image of her without her kid, Elyse might have been upset by the fact they’d gone through the trouble of googling for a better/clearer/larger/more flattering/etc… image rather than just use the one already available on facebook.

    And to be truly fair: the threats came from the commenters. I can’t see anything particularly threatening in the initial post. Just some attempted mockery. Where AoA went wrong is to allow the threats of their commenters to remain and continue.

    After all, Skepchick is not responsible for stuff I post in my comments. And if my comments consisted of threats towards anyone, it would be their responsibility to address them, or remove the offending comments, or ban me outright, or whatever else they feel is apropriate. But they would not be responsible for the threats themselves because they didn’t make them.

  44. @exarch:

    The photo, especially with the caption attached, were an act of intimidation. It was an implied threat. The caption was intended to incite anger.

    To say that Delaney being up there is irrelevant because I would have been upset anyway is ridiculous. YES I would have been upset anyway. Using Delaney makes me MORE upset.

    If it were indeed “news”, a reputable news agency would have taken the public picture and altered it so that the only visible face was mine.

    They didn’t do that.

    They were implicitly threatened my child. The comments were more explicit.

    But you can’t say that they’re not really responsible for the backlash when they used language to incite anger. They called me pro-vaccine-injury. They said I troll regularly. They said I’m taking away the choices they make as parents. That’s pretty emotionally charging.

    THEN they didn’t delete the threats. They didn’t delete my full name. They didn’t delete my workplace info.

    Yes, I would have been angry if they used a picture of me alone. But the picture they chose made it worse. They could have used any picture of me. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of them exist online. They’re not hard to find. They used this one. They used the one that, out of context, made me look like a monster; one that had my daughter in it; and they used the excuse that it was easy.

    By posting my own pictures of my child, I’m letting them know that I will not be intimidated. I’m not pulling pictures of my children off the internet and going into hiding.

    This is my daughter. This is who they are mocking. This is all the more reason to be outraged.

    And yet in all of this, I’m the one accused of being manipulative.

  45. @Elyse, I’m not saying they didn’t do anything wrong. Quite the contrary.

    But I still think it’s rather unfair to say that the picture you use to identify yourself on facebook is somehow in bad taste when used by other people wishing to identify you, particularly on facebook. That sounds a bit like a double standard.

    Sure, the intentions behind it were still far less innocent, but I can’t shake the feeling that emotions running high are attaching a far bigger significance to things that might potentially not even have been intentional (although they probably were).

    I don’t have kids, so maybe that’s why I don’t get it. Or perhaps that’s why I’m able to look upon this without the bias of an overprotective parent. Because in the end they’re just empty threats by dumbasses sitting in their comfy chair at their computer replying to a post inbetween sessions of playing farmville. Mostly in the form of “someone should …”, because they’re not gonna get off their lazy ass and do it.

    But I’d happily be proven wrong the day I ever become a father. You can come slap me in the face and say “I told you so” the first time I freak out.

  46. @delphi_ote:

    A person, be they a private citizen or a well known blogger, should be able to use the internet to share pictures of their life (including their children) with friends and family and fans without fear of third parties ganking said pics for the purpose of mockery or intimidation. By your logic, those of us who choose to use the technology available to share pictures should just suck it up when some douchebag decides to steal the pic and use it for their own twisted reasons.

    That is bull shit.

  47. @exarch:
    Elyse’s child Delaney is beautiful and did not deserve to be put up for ridicule and threats by AoA.
    To do this, the scumbag in charge of that page choose NOT to spend 30 secs to find a normal pic of Elyse, but used her FB page pic.
    OK, I have been involved with politics for most of my life (stopping only a few years ago); I know that if you want a serious discussion, you take up the best arguments of your opponents and try to dissect them rationally. On the other hand, if you’re in for a smearjob, you use whatever is available to you (REGARDLESS…) to do a hatchet job, possibly having a few minions of your own get into the fray and use threats and stuff, which you can then get some distance from.
    The latter is exactly what AoA did, just go and read their whole bloody postings against Elyse: the level of venom and the disgusting insults against a woman they don’t know, and against the Skepchick community, are bad enough; but to throw in a little girl… I don’t remember anybody using that kind of stuff, that is really beyond the pale!

  48. @the Procrastinatrix: Yes, this is important. We shouldn’t have to change our online practices out of fear. The least civil and responsible FB users shouldn’t be calling the shots.

    I don’t buy the “You posted the picture, so you can’t complain about how they use it” thing. No way. They put up a picture of Elyse and Delaney, saying “this is who this is, this is why you should hate her, ready, set, go!” to a group of people who have proven continuously to be disturbingly vitriolic. It doesn’t matter where the picture came from, that’s beyond mere jackassery!

  49. “It’s not at all that it’s MY daughter. MY pictures. And MY choice to post them.”
    So this is about ownership of the image and not about being threatened? I guess all that rhetoric about feeling endangered really was a bullshit emotional ploy to win an internet argument after all.

    “Or I can demand they stop being assholes…”
    You can demand all you want. That doesn’t mean Facebook should intervene on your behalf. Welcome to the internet.

    “I’m sorry that you can’t support me and my family and this community because I’m not meek enough to get that sympathy from you.”
    No. I’m not supporting you because you’re crying wolf about something very serious to win an internet argument and making emotional appeals based on the same “mommy instinct” we rail against in the anti-vax crowd.

    Yes, you’re a mother. But that doesn’t mean we shut down the internet whenever you get upset.

  50. @Luciano: “Elyse’s child Delaney is beautiful and did not deserve to be put up for ridicule and threats by AoA.
    To do this, the scumbag in charge of that page choose NOT to spend 30 secs to find a normal pic of Elyse, but used her FB page pic.”

    Let me get this straight. You’re arguing that using a picture of a child too young to even understand these insults is worse than using a photo of a grown woman who can? The little girl can’t even read any of the things the anti-vaxers wrote, but she “doesn’t deserve” this kind of treatment?

    Unless you actually fear that someone will carry out these threats, there is zero impact on the daughter. None at all. Unless you believe the “negative emotions” will travel through the wires. Am I reading this right? Skeptics who fear some kind of sympathetic magic?

  51. @the Procrastinatrix:
    “By your logic, those of us who choose to use the technology available to share pictures should just suck it up when some douchebag decides to steal the pic and use it for their own twisted reasons.”

    No. That’s not my argument at all. Don’t tell me you feel threatened when you clearly don’t just to win an argument.

  52. @delphi_ote:

    “No. That’s not my argument at all. Don’t tell me you feel threatened when you clearly don’t just to win an argument.”

    You’re saying that she didn’t actually feel threatened, that she just *said* she felt threatened to win an argument?

    I say you just *think* you’ve figured out what she actually felt. I say I’ll take her word over your guess about how she actually felt.

  53. @delphi_ote:

    The entire post was a threat. It was a power play to threaten and intimidate me. By posting these pictures, I am telling them that they will not intimidate me. They will not threaten me into submission.

    I think it’s sad that you can’t see that they can threaten me, I can feel threatened, I can report the actions to the police and still not ACT intimidated. I think it’s sad that you think that a person is not actually being threatened unless they cower in a corner sobbing about how afraid they are.

    The threats to my daughter aren’t about making my daughter feel scared. They’re about making ME feel scared. They’re threatening my daughter to make ME feel inadequate. To make me feel like I cannot protect her. To tell me that I need to stop.

    And here’s the thing, I may be doing it wrong. I don’t know. I didn’t read the handbook on what the proper emotional reaction is when you and your family are threatened by nut jobs.

    Their use of Delaney’s picture isn’t about ownership of the photo. It’s about them trying to take away my sense of safety by using it.

    How the fuck did I become the bad guy?

    They posted my picture.
    They posted my daughter’s picture.
    They posted that picture as bait for their angry dogs to attack.

    My response was that I won’t back down.

    Your response is that this whole this is made up because I’m not being the right kind of victim.

    Sorry, dude. I’m not going to be bullied into being properly bullied.

  54. @the Procrastinatrix:

    No, I lied about FEELING threatened when I was ACTUALLY BEING threatened because those two things are generally mutually exclusive and I just use FEELING threatened to make people take my side about BEING threatened.

    Doesn’t it make sense now?

  55. @delphi_ote: FYI personal attacks are not used by reasonable and rational people in arguments. When the good folks at AoA made a concerted effort to make Elyse look bad they were engaging in a smear campaign, which led to threatening statements being made by their supporters. They knew full what they were doing and having a discussion or trying to win an argument was not their intent whatsoever nor was it part of the equation for any of us supporting Elyse.

  56. @Elyse: A poster named ‘isles’ over at the LBRB blog (Autism news science and opinion) made the following comment about AoA using your photo that I thought you’d like to see.

    “Even crying, that is one extremely cute baby. Elyse is setting a sterling example of how adults should act by seeing a societal problem and acting to set it right. Her daughter is lucky to be growing up with Elyse as her model.”

  57. @the Procrastinatrix: Again, that is not what I said. I’m amazed how people do not understand what @delphi_ote and I are saying.

    YES, what AoA did was wrong, YES, the image should be removed, YES Elyse was being threatened.

    People should not be allowed to use your picture without permission, threats should not be tolerated and the post on I AoA should be (and has been) taken down. I don’t see anywhere that I’ve said otherwise.

  58. @scooter – You wrote above.

    “Again, that is not what I said. I’m amazed how people do not understand what @delphi_ote and I are saying.”

    Further up, delphi_ote wrote the following:

    “You can demand all you want. That doesn’t mean Facebook should intervene on your behalf. Welcome to the internet.”

    That would certainly seem to suggest that he doesn’t feel that posting such comments in reference to Elyse’s daughter is something that should be prevented. It seems to me the argument being made with such a comment is that because you are on the internet and have pictures of yourself posted you are therefore open to whatever ridicule, harrassment, and/or bullying may come your way without any actual recourse. Do you think such an analysis of that statement is incorrect? If so, why and how would you interpret his statement above?

    As you say that you agree what AoA did was wrong and that the picture should be removed, it would also seem that you disagree, at least to some degree, to the argument that he is presenting.

    Personally, I think it is that same exact kind of thinking that allows various levels of bullying to continue on in schools across the US, especially in regards to LGBT students.

  59. @Sc00ter:

    I’ve re-read all your comments here, trying to glom onto what you think I’ve misunderstood.

    Here’s what I think you’re saying: We should not post pictures of our children on the internet. If we do, we can’t be too surprised or upset if some asshole ganks the picture for their own twisted uses.

    If that is not what you’re saying, please clarify your point. I don’t want to argue against a straw man. Or get too emotional.

  60. @the Procrastinatrix: No, that is not what I said at all. Let me list my points.

    1. AoA using the pic is wrong. Not because it’s a pic of her kid (I agree it’s bad, but that’s not what makes it wrong, just stupid), but because they don’t own the rights to the pic. By uploading the pic to their photo gallery on facebook they have to agree that they own the rights to the pic.

    2. The argument should be that they used a copywritten pic without permission, and that they’re issuing threats. What the pic is, and who the threats are against shouldn’t matter.

    3. By Elyse posting a pic of her kid on this specific article AoA can create a link to it on facebook and use that pic as the preview picture. This would be a lot harder to get FB to remove due to the fact that are using is based on the facebook linking thing and that’s the way it’s meant to work.

    4. They are using the pic with her kid to make things all emotional, that seems to be part of Elyse’s argument in her post. But then she uses a pic of her kid to make her appeal just as emotional. You can’t condem somebody’s actions, only to use those same actions to further your own goal. Note, that I’m not saying that this argument can clearly get emotional, it can, and has. But to “stoop to their level” in a way doesn’t help. There’s more than enough facts to win this argument that you don’t need to pull the “what about my child” card.

    You should be allowed to post pics anywhere you want, just make sure you don’t give up any rights to that image as a result.

  61. @Sc00ter:

    Thanks for the clarification. :-)

    1. Agreed.

    2. Disagree: It was *one* of the things that mattered to Elyse. You (or I or anyone else) can’t say it shouldn’t matter and that she has to leave it out of her argument for her argument to be valid.

    3. Disagree: Yes they can link to this post, but they could also link to anything she posts. So by saying she shouldn’t have put the picture in *this* post because they could link to it, it seems like you’re saying she shouldn’t post pictures of the kids at all.

    4: Disagree that she used the picture as an emotional appeal. I think (don’t know, just guessing) that she used the pic to demonstrate that she gets to choose where and when her baby’s picture is used. I also think/guess she used it to show off the new Hug Me t-shirts and hopefully sell a few more of them and very skillfully turning this whole fucked up business into an opportunity to do some good.

    The problem that I see with your argument and that of delphi-ote is that you’re telling her she “doing it wrong”. There are gray areas to this situation, and you seem to want to keep it black and white. It’s not that I’m misunderstanding you, it’s that I’m disagreeing with you.

  62. @Sc00ter:

    “You can’t condem somebody’s actions, only to use those same actions to further your own goal.”

    But Elysse didn’t at all use those same actions to further her own goal. The actions used are a little bit more complicated than simply an appeal to emotion. The appeal to emotion used on the FB post was to a very specific emotion, malice.

    Elysse condemned the action of using her daughter’s photo to incite hatred, bullying, and intimidation towards. In contrast, Elysse used the photo of her daughter on her own website to elicit the opposite emotion, would you not agree? So, can you really argue that Elysse was doing what she was condemning AoA for doing? If she did what she condemned AoA for doing, she would have posted a picture of a child of an AoA member with the intention of having that picture ridiculed. That would have been performing the same action that she was condemning.

    Emotions and even appeals to emotion are not necessarily bad, even for skeptics, depending on the context in which they are used. We aren’t talking here about using an appeal to emotion to try to argue against scientific data showing that thimerosal exposure does not correlate with autism, are we?

    I have to agree Ms. Procrastinatrix above that you are trying to maintain a black and white view on an issue that is really made up of several shades of gray.

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