Jenny McCarthy is replacing Elisabeth Hasselbeck as a co-host on The View, and the world is not happy about it.
You may remember Jenny as the former Playmate of the Year who forced some non-consensual kisses onto Justin Beiber’s baby face at the 2012 American Music Awards. Needless to say, she doesn’t have a glowing feminist resume. But her biggest – and likely her most dangerous – impact on the world has been her activism against vaccines, which she believes to be the root cause of autism.
Confused? Me too. Evidence to support McCarthy’s anti-vaccine opinion is pretty skimpy. Here’s a backgrounder on the argument that guides her misguided crusade:
The Anti-Vaccination Side
- In 1998, Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a study linking vaccinations to autism.
- Jenny McCarthy's son was diagnosed with autism in 2005. Based on Dr. Wakefield's work, she decides that vaccinations are to blame.
- She leads an anti-vaccination movement, writes some books, and devotes her life to the cause.
The Pro-Vaccination Side
- Dr. Andrew Wakefield loses his license when his study is exposed as an "elaborate fraud" in 2010, as an investigation discovers that he altered the results of every single patient he used to prove his theory. All of his data was falsified.
- Virtually EVERY SINGLE MEMBER of the pediatric community supports vaccinations, and draws no links between the life-saving vaccines and autism. Basic childcare, yo.
Jenny's view has been challenged (/debunked) time and time again, but she still holds the issue close to her heart. She's been known to use fear and threats to get her points across, refuting scientific data by shouting “bullshit.” Here is a sample of Jenny's debate style:
I belong to a family affected by someone with a developmental disability (affected in truly great ways – I love you, Adam!), and I can understand the desire to pinpoint (needlepoint?) what might make your loved one’s development slightly different from that of your average kid. But McCarthy’s fixation on a retracted theory takes this to the next level. Her sensational views rattle the bones of people far beyond her immediate surroundings, and now her voice has a chance to influence millions of parents every morning as they tune into The View.
A spokesperson for the show says no topics are off-limits, including autism/vaccinations, and The View's "Hot Topic" segment remains unscripted.
It should be said that Jenny is getting messages of support as well, though they're far fewer in number.
Clearly, sharing genes with the badass Melissa McCarthy does not a flawless woman make. Let's hope ABC recognizes that this attempt at boosting The View's ratings is, in reality, a risky and irresponsible choice.
Images via Parade.com and Twitter.