Skepticism

Is Jenny McCarthy Expanding Her Bullshit Empire?

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Transcript:

Ah, Jenny McCarthy, the former model and actress who now focuses almost exclusively on helping kids die of preventable diseases. A true humanitarian, so long as you think the most humanitarian act is to hasten humanity to its doom.

For the past ten years, McCarthy has been the face of Generation Rescue, a nonprofit that spreads the debunked idea that vaccines cause autism. They don’t, and never have. I’ll be honest, I haven’t paid too much attention to McCarthy in ages and I was hoping she would just fade into obscurity, but now Generation Rescue is rebranding, as Anna Merlan reported over on Jezebel. And interestingly enough, they appear to be dropping “autism” as their primary concern.

The Generation Rescue website is currently nothing more than a placeholder saying “Stay tuned for what’s next,” they changed their Twitter bio to remove any reference to autism, and their annual summit, which took place in May, no longer focused on autism. The event website read, “Formerly focused solely on providing information on the latest autism treatments, The Elevated Summit expands this focus by providing education and empowering individuals to take control of their health by providing them access to the most cutting edge treatments and therapies to heal the autoimmune spectrum.”

You can look at this in a few different ways. At first I thought, oh, maybe the anti-vaccine racket has finally dried up. Maybe people are finally starting to wise up and give their money to autism-related charities that do actual autism-related work, and don’t just try to get more kids to contract measles. But then I took a look at Generation Rescue’s tax documents for the past few years, and they’re actually doing very well. They took in about a million dollars in revenue in 2011, and that number has steadily risen until 2016, at which point it jumped up to $1.6 million. Clearly funding is not drying up for them.

Merlan suggests that the rebranding may be more sinister: they might be trying to GOOP-ify. After all, why be satisfied with 1.6 million dollars when you could go after a slice of that quarter-of-a-billion-dollar GOOPy pie?

That is absolutely horrifying to me. It’s bad enough that we’re out here dealing with Gwyneth Paltrow telling women to shove eggs up their vaginas — the last thing we need is Jenny McCarthy jumping in with a competing nonprofit.

This move does make sense if you know about McCarthy’s past, of course. She was never only about that anti-vax life — she will also believe in literally any other stupid pseudoscience you can imagine. Just last year she posted on Facebook that a ghost was haunting her house because she heard her Google Home chime.

And, lest we forget, before she claimed her son had autism, she claimed that he was a magical being from another universe known as a “crystal child,” and that she in turn was an “indigo child” who is basically like an angel but smarter. But then she figured that her child’s “blessing” was actually a curse caused by the pharmaceutical industry so the rest is history.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Generation Rescue. Considering how much trouble McCarthy managed to cause humanity just by focusing on one piece of pseudoscience, it could be very bad if she’s planning to diversify. And if you consider Oprah already exists, that means we’re only one horsewoman away from the bullshit apocalypse.

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.

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