There’s a good chance you heard something out of former Playboy model Jenny McCarthy’s mouth if you’ve even remotely followed anything about autism. While I definitely don’t read too many entertainment articles (I find them to lack substance), but recalling her position on autism’s most controversial subject, I wanted to see what she had to say for the August issue of Cookie Magazine.
Cookie was nice enough to recap her story to this point in case any newcomers drop in. To make a long story short, her son Evan was diagnosed five years ago after suffering a life-threatening seizure and was originally diagnosed with epilepsy. McCarthy’s instinct thought otherwise, and Evan was diagnosed with autism soon after. McCarthy continues to voice concerns parents have about vaccinations causing autism. She joined the board for Generation Rescue last year, an organization calling for the elimination of toxic materials in vaccines and delaying shot schedules, suggesting they can overwhelm a child’s immune system. McCarthy isn’t completely against vaccines, suggesting that they work for some children, but not all. McCarthy also has Evan on a gluten-free diet, which means no wheat or dairy products.
McCarthy also referenced but didn’t really take a shot at fellow actress Amanda Peet for her comments about autisms and vaccines. You’ll find a link to Peet’s interview in the McCarthy article. Peet called parents who didn’t vaccinate their chidren parasites, and McCarthy said she was just like Peet prior to her son’s diagnosis.
Reading this continues to indicate McCarthy’s transition from her early days of Playboy and Singled Out to an activist for a disability that still hasn’t completely saturated the public. In fact, her former identity can prove to be an advantage if the notion is true that men will follow anyone who’s even remotely hot. It also helps to appear on Oprah.
Regarding her vaccination claims, I’m still skeptical as no concrete evidence has come forward to support the claim that autism is caused by materials used in vaccines while several major studies conclude the opposite. But without the skeptics, there’s no incentive to get the science right, so her views on the topic do not affect me. Based on what I’ve read, I have no doubts that her son is autistic. However, because of her son’s reaction to going gluten-free and reports coming out suggesting an increase of human intolerance to gluten and dairy products, whether it’s an actual disease (KARE 11 story) or allergic reaction (WCCO story), the evidence is there to make a theoretical argument that Evan may have an allergy to gluten or dairy products. I’m autistic too, but at 22, I still have yet to develop any food allergies. In fact, I’ll eat just about anything :-).
Overall, the profile story done by Cookie did reveal some things about McCarthy’s plans to ramp up her activism and told me a few things I didn’t know before. In journalism, that’s a sign of the reporter telling a good story.