Generation Rescue in transition?

Six days ago, celebrity spokescouple for the anti-vaccine movement, Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey, announced their breakup over Twitter. Some of us who have been following the antics of “Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey’s Autism Organization – Generation Rescue” have wondered what this would mean for the pro-disease movement pushing the idea that vaccines cause autism. Would Jim Carrey still lend his considerable Hollywood clout, which is at least an order of magnitude greater than Jenny McCarthy’s, to Generation Rescue? We didn’t have long to wait. By Friday, Generation Rescue had completely revamped its website.

Gone is the picture of Jim Carrey, Jenny McCarthy, and Evan from the front page of the website. Gone is any mention of his name, leaving Generation Rescue as now being just “Jenny McCarthy’s Autism Organization – Generation Rescue.” Gone is Jim Carrey from the Generation Rescue Board of Directors. Given the slickness of hte new look, no doubt that this revamp of the website has been a long time in coming, and probably GR simply moved up its originally planned revamp in order to deal with Jim and Jenny’s breakup. More interestingly, all mention of Desiree Jennings appears to have been send down the memory hole. In case you don’t remember who she is, she is the young woman who claimed that a flu vaccine caused her to develop dystonia, a claim riddled with inconsistencies that didn’t stand up to even mild scrutiny. Apparently even GR realized that it had backed a loser, something it had apparently realized relatively soon after its initial promotion of the story, even though it lashed out at people like Steve Novella and myself for having criticized its use of this poor woman for its own purposes.

In any case, as Sullivan points out, it’s interesting to note that the first thing a visitor to the new, “improved” Generation Rescue website sees is a video of Jenny McCarthy literally begging viewers to vote for Generation Rescue in the PepsiRefresh contest, the winner of which will get $250,000 to promote his or her idea. Interestingly enough, Generation Rescue apparently forgot to purge the photo of Jim Carrey from its vote page. One wonders if that’s because it realizes that Jim Carrey has a lot more appeal than Jenny McCarthy. In any case, GR is, as of my writing this, ranked 19th. I hope my readers will try to rectify that situation and drive GR lower in the ratings by voting for other worthy ideas and charities, given that the page states that the $250,000 will be used for “medical grants for children with autism” (Orac’s translation: money to pay for autism and anti-vaccine quackery).

One wonders if Generation Rescue will be able to do as well, now that Jim Carrey is gone. As I mentioned before, his star burned far brighter than Jenny McCarthy’s, and he had far more name recognition, wealth, and pure Hollywood influence, all of which make me wonder how much of Jenny McCarthy’s ability to pull in Hollywood stars to promote fundraisers for GR was due to wanting to curry favor with her now ex-boyfriend. Sure, Jenny can bring in Hugh Hefner and the Playboy mansion, but without Jim can she keep pulling in real stars? Could it be that Generation Rescue has reached its peak of fundraising prowess and can be expected to go downhill?

We can always hope.