Hollywood a Major Source of Anti-Vaxxer Hysteria, Notes Daily Beast Writer

February 3rd, 2015 8:24 PM

While the liberal media are hard at work spinning recent statements by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) as some sort of indication of anti-vaxxer hysteria on the right side of the country's political spectrum, the Daily Beast, of all websites, is reminding folks that it is Hollywood liberals who have fanned the flames of paranoia on the matter.

As the Beast's Asawain Suebsaeng noted in his February 3 article, "Blame Hollywood for Anti-Vaxxers," including one of Obama's most famous celebrity endorsers, Oprah Winfrey (emphasis mine): 

We can run down the long list of powerful politicians and influential celebrities who have uttered dumb thoughts about vaccines in America. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain have flirted with autism-vaccine whackiness, so this isn’t an inherently partisan issue. And when you consider Hollywood’s roster of vocal anti-vaxxers, a few names quickly jump to mind:

Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey, Charlie Sheen, Bill Maher, Billy Corgan, Mayim Bialik, Alicia Silverstone.

McCarthy and Carrey have been hated on plenty for their part in this, and deservedly so. So why should Oprah Winfrey get a pass?

Who doesn’t love Oprah? America loves Oprah. The president loves Oprah. Everybody who has ever wanted a free Pontiac definitely loves Oprah. And yet the celebrated talk show host, actress, and political player has a piss-poor track record when it comes to science.

In fairness, Oprah is no anti-vaxxer. She has, however, given one of the movement’s biggest celebrity mouthpieces a national platform. After actress and Playboy Playmate Jenny McCarthy launched her crusade—which included a “Green Our Vaccines” march and rally in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2008—Oprah invited her onto her show.


In 2009, Oprah signed McCarthy to a development deal. This started with a slot on Oprah’s website, and led to chatter that a syndicated talk show, created with Oprah’s Harpo Studios, was imminent. The reaction to this wasn’t all that positive. “Why is Oprah Winfrey promoting vaccine skeptic Jenny McCarthy?” Slate asked, in a piece that noted Oprah’s spokesman insisting that McCarthy’s views were more “nuanced” than people give her credit for. “I knew that Oprah Winfrey was prone to antiscience…But now she’s gone way, way too far,” Phil Plait raged. “Oprah joins list of celebs enabling Jenny McCarthy’s conspiracy crusade,”Gawker sneered.

Fortunately, McCarthy dropped out of the production deal with Harpo Studios in 2011. But she did later get to take her brand and her views to ABC’s daytime talk show The View.