Terry Rossio, the screenwriter best known for “Shrek,” “Aladdin,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl,” has some thoughts about vaccines. Responding to a tweet by “The 100” writer Julie Benson, he lamented the plight of parents whose children have been “vaccine damaged” and compared the term “anti-vax” to the n-word. The response has not been favorable.
“My heart goes out to all the parents of vaccine damaged children, who have to not only endure the sadness of their loss, but also the vitriol of ill-informed and insensitive people (such as those here). Anti-Vax is equivalent to calling someone a n****r and makes as little sense,” Rossio wrote, leaving the offending word in question uncensored.
There is no scientific evidence supporting the theory that vaccines cause autism, but the unfounded theory persists. As more and more have latched on to the anti-vax movement in recent years, outbreaks of preventable diseases like measles have increased.
“Do you realize that you are using the equivalent of the ‘n-word’ in promoting memes that tag people as ‘anti-vax?'” Rossio asked Benson in a follow-up tweet. “Do you realize that the same collectivist stereotyping lies behind belittling any group with a label? Do you have no feelings for vaccine damaged kids and parents?”
In 2016, Variety reported that Rossio is working on an adaptation of Andrew Wakefield’s 2010 book “Callous Disregard: Autism and Vaccines – The Truth Behind a Tragedy.” Wakefield authored a fraudulent research paper linking the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism in 1998, helping launch the anti-vax movement. In 2010, a General Medical Council panel found that he had “failed in his duties as a responsible consultant” and acted “dishonestly and irresponsibly.” He has since been barred from practicing medicine in the United Kingdom, and in 2016 directed the poorly received documentary “Vaxxed.”
Rossio’s comment received a response from Dictionary.com:
The n-word is so profoundly offensive that a euphemism has developed for those occasions when the word itself must be discussed.
The same cannot be said for the term “anti-vax.” https://t.co/RF7rdpMx8P
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) November 24, 2018
My heart goes out to all the parents of vaccine damaged children, who have to not only endure the sadness of their loss, but also the vitriol of ill-informed and insensitive people (such as those here). Anti-Vax is equivalent to calling someone a nigger and makes as little sense.
— Terry Rossio (@TerryRossio) November 23, 2018