Hey, Did You Know Jim Carrey Is A Dangerously Unhinged Anti-Vaxxer? Well, You Do Now!

Hey, Did You Know Jim Carrey Is A Dangerously Unhinged Anti-Vaxxer? Well, You Do Now!

After California Governor Jerry ‘Moonbeam’ Brown signed a vaccination law that would make it mandatory for all schoolchildren to be vaccinated against certain diseases, regardless of religious backgrounds or parental beliefs. The law is one of the toughest in the nation and is in response to recent outbreaks of deadly diseases that had been previously dormant thanks to widespread vaccinations. Cases of measles and other diseases have been blamed on parents making the conscious decision to not have their children immunized, based on unfounded beliefs that vaccines are causing a rise in the rates of autism.

A large portion of the parents who believe in this nonsense are well-to-do, educated, white folk in Southern California and other affluent areas of the country. Apparently, thanks to the University of Google and College of Facebook, the continued advocacy for anti-vaxxing by celebs such as Jim Carrey, Jenny McCarthy and others, along with books by noted non-scientists like Robert Kennedy, Jr., these parents have decided that there is enough ‘evidence’ out there that vaccines are harming children and the root cause of autism.

On Tuesday, Carrey went on a Twitter rant about the signing of the law, calling Brown a “corporate fascist” and claiming that he isn’t anti-vaccine but anti-neurotoxin. In his mind, vaccines have too much mercury in them, and it is the mercury that is “poisoning our children.” He also quoted RFK, Jr.



The thimerosal argument has been used by anti-vaxxers for a while now. Also, it is complete bullshit. As Time’s Jeffrey Kluger wrote last year in response to Kennedy’s book about thimerosal, most vaccines haven’t even used the vaccine preservative in well over a decade, and even if it was still used, it is almost entirely harmless and the amount of mercury it contains does not present any danger.


But let’s start with a single fact that ought to be, as the lawyers like to say, dispositive: the thimerosal ain’t there. With the exception of the flu vaccine, it was removed from or reduced to trace levels in all vaccines given to children under 6-years-old 13 years ago. You face a greater mercury risk eating seafood and fish—and even that danger is low enough that the EPA recently recommended that pregnant and nursing women increase their intake of certain kinds of fish because the nutritional benefits outweigh the theoretical dangers.

Kennedy is wrong on basic epidemiology too. Autism diagnoses have indeed risen steadily in the U.S. in recent years, but that has been happening in the same period in which thimerosal levels in vaccines plunged. When your cause goes away and your reputed effect increases, well, you really do need to review your class notes on what cause and effect mean in the first place.

Most fundamentally, Kennedy does not get chemistry. Thimerosal is an ethylmercury product. Mercury in general may be a neurotoxin, but it’s in its methylmercury form that it does its damage—and only in particular concentrations. The quantity of ethylmercury that was once in vaccines was so small that it was actually within acceptable limits for the more toxic, methyl form—but it wasn’t even in that methyl form to begin with.


Lesson to people everywhere. Don’t take your scientific advice from a person whose most noted for literally talking out of his ass. Sometimes, it is actually OK to listen to the experts. Especially when that advice from celebs and children of famous people has led to actual harm being done to children.


Image via The Guardian

Justin Baragona

Justin Baragona

Justin Baragona is the founder/publisher of Contemptor and a contributor to The Daily Beast. He was previously the Cable News Correspondent for Mediaite and prior to starting Contemptor, he worked on the editorial staff of PoliticusUSA. During that time, he had his work quoted by USA Today and BBC News, among others. Justin began his published career as a political writer for 411Mania. He resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife and pets.