In Mindy Kaling’s book Why Not Me? she writes about being at a very famous people party where a very famous popstar got offended when she made a joke about anti-vaxxers as there were several people there who were anti-vaxxers. She has never revealed who that was but I wondered back in 2015 whether it could possibly have been Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel.
If you need to get caught up, Anna Merlan first posted about Jessica “lobbying California lawmakers alongside anti-vaccine activist Robert F Kennedy” yesterday. The Daily Beast then followed up on the story, which went viral, which is why Jessica was trending on social media last night. She was trending just as she and Justin stepped out for dinner last night in New York.
First thing this morning she posted a statement on Instagram:
So… does this make it all go away? Are we all good now? Well…
Jessica may have “clarified” but here’s some further clarification, per The Daily Beast:
… vaccination advocates say that the bill will have minimal impact on those with valid reasons for exemption, citing medical authorities like the bill’s prominent co-sponsors: the California Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, California.
“The children who need medical exemptions will not have a problem getting them if SB 276 becomes law,” said Leah Russin, executive director of Vaccinate California, another co-sponsor of the bill. “People who are on immuno-suppressant drugs will not have a problem getting a medical exemption—and in fact, the people who truly need medical exemptions desperately need everyone else to be vaccinated. That’s why they support this bill. Medical advice should be coming from medical professionals.”
Exactly. For f-ck’s sake, the people who need the exemptions actually NEED everyone else to be vaccinated!
You know what makes me crazy about Jessica’s statement? This sentence:
“I support children getting vaccinations and I also support families having the right to make educated medical decisions for their children alongside their physicians.”
On the surface, this reads like she’s not an anti-vaxxer. But here’s the problem: she’s making it sound like “children getting vaccinations” and “families having the right to make educated medical decisions for their children alongside their physicians” is mutually exclusive.
Children getting vaccinated are actually members of families who are making educated medical decisions for their children alongside their physicians!!!
There is no such thing as vaccinations on one side and those who are making educated medical decisions alongside their physicals on the other side - BOTH ARE THE SAME SIDE. Jessica presenting it as otherwise is STILL IRRESPONSIBLE.
Also? In the middle of this kind of public relations sh-t storm over vaccinations, if she’d vaccinated her own kid? Basic PR 101 would have you just come right out and say it in the statement. That’s the quickest way to put out the fire. Like… calm down everyone, I vaccinated my son and I don’t regret it, I’m just here to xyz, and whatever.
The fact that she uses language as vague as “I support children getting vaccinations” without specificity is, to me, a dead giveaway.
But then again, are you surprised? She’s not the first celebrity to undermine science – hi Gwyneth Paltrow! – and she won’t be the last. That’s the problem, they all huddle together and make each other stupid. Which is why they don’t listen to anyone else, why none of the social media dragging ever makes a difference. Celebrities care the most about other celebrities. And even though the general public shouldn’t listen to celebrities, shouldn’t take health advice from celebrities, they do, whether you like it or not, whether it’s right or not, the fact is it’s already happened, has been happening, continues to happen. And since it’s already happened, the solution isn’t just to yell at people to stop listening to celebrities, because clearly it hasn’t gotten us anywhere. Maybe the solution is to get the few celebrities who are actually informed to yell at the ones who aren’t. Why? Again, because celebrities care the most about other celebrities. You yelling at Jessica Biel with your 500 followers on Twitter isn’t going to make her listen.
So that got me thinking about celebrities who have come out in favour of vaccinations. And the first name that popped in my head: Olivia Wilde.
Otis had his shots and handled it like a boss. So grateful to have access to vaccines that protect him and others. #DontHateVaccinate— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) August 29, 2014
But, as usual, there’s gossip here. Remember when Justin and Jessica broke up for a few months before getting back together, and then engaged, and then eventually married? During the break, he was linked to Olivia Wilde.
OK so, obviously, not Olivia Wilde. Is there a celebrity who can yell at Jessica and Justin Timberlake? I nominate John Oliver who advocated in favour of child vaccination while sharing the experience of his son Hudson, born premature. Here’s the video if you haven’t seen it before.
I’m telling you – regular people don’t have an effect on celebrities because they think they are above us. They are, however, very aware of their own position on the celebrity fame scale and it matters to them what other celebrities think of them. That’s what we need here: a celebrity-on-celebrity policing system. Imagine if Beyoncé was the sheriff?