**Update (11/23/10): I may have spoken too soon with my earlier update, folks. It seems that over the last day or so we’ve received some conflicting reports about exactly what is & isn’t going on at AMC with these ads. Elyse Anders provides more details over at Skepchick on this – until we have more info, stay tuned & continue contacting the theaters in question.
**Update (11/21/10): It appears the executives at AMC (which owns some of the theaters in question) have listened to the public outcry – they say they have pulled the ad and do not plan to show it. However, some of the other theaters may not be owned by AMC, so please contact them.
It’s time to kick some ass… I just found out that the anti-vaccinationist groups called Age of Autism and SafeMinds are planning on running a public service announcement (PSA) in movie theaters nationwide the weekend following Thanksgiving. I’ve seen the 30 second ad, and it contains the usual thoroughly debunked nonsense regarding “mercury toxins in vaccines” and how this is supposedly dangerous for children. The facts are that there is ZERO evidence that the mercury preservative in vaccines, called thimerosal, is any sort of danger – there are no links between thimerosal & autism, either (a common claim by various anti-vaxxers). In fact, even after the U.S. government removed thimerosal from the vaccine schedule for children the rate of autism continued to rise!
But don’t tell that to the anti-vax crowd, because they don’t give a whit about the science. They believe in their heart of hearts that they know the “truth about vaccines”, and they don’t care one way or the other what the actual evidence is… and they want to proselytize this lunacy to you:
Folks, the purpose of this ad is simple: it is to sow fear & distrust of vaccines in the hopes that you & your kids don’t get them at all – that’s it. These anti-vax groups are, for whatever reason, ideologically opposed to the very idea of vaccinations, and they’ll use every slimy tactic in the book to push it on you. If you can stomach it, here is their ad…
And here is the list of theaters that are currently being targeted by Age of Autism for this dangerous propaganda (with the potential to reach over 500,000 people):
*Empire 25 in New York City
*Long Beach 26 in Long Beach, California
*River East 21 in Chicago, IL
*Boston Common 19 in Boston, MA
*Phipps Plaza 14 in Atlanta, GA
*Tyson’s Corner 16 in McLean, VA
*Northpark Center 15 in Dallas, TX
*Rosedale 14 in Saint Paul, MN
*Pavillions 15 in Denver, CO
We cannot let this stand… I suggest that if you live in any of these areas (or know people who do) that you contact the theater in question to find out whether or not they plan to run this PSA, and if they do plan to do so then make it well known to them that you will boycott that business in perpetuity (and you will encourage everyone you know to do the same) – when it comes to stuff like this, money talks & bullshit walks. I would also notify your local health department and medical doctors’ organization about this, on the chance that they might wish to make some kind of public statement against this idiocy.
And spread the word – the skeptical & pro-science community needs to send a strong, clear message to those who would spread such life-endangering pseudoscience that we will not stand for it. We didn’t ask for this fight, be we will fight it & we will finish it.