Andrew Wakefield hits up his supporters for cash

Any regular reader of this blog knows who Andrew Wakefield is. He’s the British gastroenterologist who almost singlehandedly ignited a panic about the MMR vaccine (well, not quite single-handedly; the sensationalistic British press helped a lot) with his shoddy, fraudulent research linking the MMR vaccine to “autistic enterocolitis” and then later to autism itself. Ultimately, his support for non-science-based speculation (not to mention his unethical behavior) caught up with him, and he was “struck off,” which is a lovely bit of British verbiage describing his having his license to practice medicine in the U.K. revoked. In the wake of his being struck off, dominoes rapidly fell, as Wakefield was forced out of his position at Thoughtful House, the clinic he helped found to treat autistic children based on the idea that vaccines cause autism, and then saw his Lancet article from 1998 retracted. Since then, Wakefield’s been wandering the wilderness of crank science, enjoying his status as a hero to antivaccinationists everywhere but not so happy that he has been so utterly and thoroughly discredited that he has trouble scoring gigs with the mainstream media anymore (although not, unfortunately, with the likes of Alex Jones).

Wakefield’s latest antic has been to try to sue Brian Deer, the investigative journalist who, through persistent, dogged reporting over several years, dug up the dirt on Wakefield and is therefore most responsible for his downfall. Ostensibly, Wakefield is suing Deer and the BMJ’s editor Fiona Godlee for having published an expose of his fraud in early 2011. Personally, I think it’s a desperate ploy to be relevant again.

Whatever the reason, Andy is apparently asking for your help at a fundraiser to be held in Long Beach:

When: Friday, March 2, 7:00 – 10:30pm

Where: Hyatt Regency, 200 South Pine Avenue, Long Beach, CA
Attire: Casual

Come mix, mingle, eat and drink with old friends and new, along with leaders in both the autism and health freedom communities. This is sure to be a unique and special evening that you won’t want to miss.

Attendees include: Andy Wakefield, Dan Olmsted, Kim Stagliano, Ginger Taylor, David Lewis, Julian Whitaker, Robert Scott Bell and more!

Tickets are $100 in advance, $125 at the door. Seating is limited. Admission includes food, one drink ticket, and a gift bag valued at over $50. Dress California casual. Buy tickets online HERE (www.drwakefieldjusticefund.org), at the AutismOne booth at the Expo or at the door.

Wow! So many antivaccine cranks at a single event! Notice how it’s conveniently timed to coincide with the start of the Health Freedom Expo, one of the largest gatherings of quacks you’ll ever see. Don’t believe me? Look at the speaker list! Then notice that it’s featuring as part of its “movie night” Burzynski The Movie. Not surprisingly, Age of Autism has teamed up with the Health Freedom Expo this year to do a warmup for the AutismOne quackfest that usually occurs in late May in Chicago; so it’s a perfect match.

Man, how I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the ballroom where this “event” is going to be hosted.