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The actress shared some thoughts about vaccines that are way off the mark. (Getty Images)
First things first: I love Chloë Sevigny. I love her hipster Opening Ceremony clothing line. She was revolutionary in Kids. She was Meryl-level extraordinary in Big Love. I wish someone would give me her coffee table book of photos of herself. I forgive her for doing The Brown Bunny.
So now that that’s all out there: Oh Chloë.
In an interview with New York magazine about her performance this season on Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story, she compares her character’s storyline (involving vampires and viruses) to the contemporary problems plaguing our culture what with fears of vaccines and “the autism.”
In her own words:
“But viruses and vaccines, that’s such a big thing. Ryan has two young kids, and it’s such an issue right now. It’s topical, and he likes to do that as well. I don’t have children, so I haven’t really had to face that yet. I can kind of see it from both angles, especially with all the autism now being so prevalent. I could see people being afraid of vaccinations. There are many unknowns.”
Here’s the thing – when it comes to vaccines, there actually aren’t many unknowns. It has been widely, scientifically proven that there is no correlation between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism spectrum disorders. In fact, the only study that asserted any correlation between the two has been widely debunked, the researcher behind it universally discredited.
And the truly dangerous thing about statements like Sevigny’s is that they only add to the mythology, largely perpetuated online, that vaccines are something to be afraid of, a topic of which there are these mysterious “many unknowns” Sevigny references.
In fact, this week researchers from Johns Hopkins published a study in which they looked at nearly 500 anti-vaccination websites, two-thirds perpetuated the claim that vaccines cause autism – despite there being no hard science to back up this allegation.
The researchers also look at the search results on Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask Jeeves for the terms “immunization dangers” and “vaccine dangers” and found that that sites resulting from these were a wide mix of personal sites, blogs, and Facebook pages – and a handful of health websites. In other words, Sevigny’s comments only feed the self-sustaining beast of misinformation perpetuating more misinformation – and being viewed as legitimatized as a result of search engine algorithms. More bad information only begets more, seemingly validated, information.
So Chloë, please keep doing you and being your eccentric, irreverent, hipster goddess self. Your acting and styling skills are top notch. But, help a fan out and don’t let uninformed opinions on the realities of vaccines infringe on your awesomeness.