The Power Plant and the Assassin
Trader Joe's Cares More than your Doctor

Paul Offit's Lies: What Would You Do?

Make_believeBy J.B. Handley

It was October 2005. Generation Rescue had only been up and running for about 5 months, and we had 125 brave souls who had put their names, locations, and emails on our website to serve as Rescue Angels to help other parents (today we have more than 800) on their journey through biomedical intervention.

On or around October 10th of that year, I heard from a Rescue Angel Mom who was extremely distraught. It turned out that someone, most likely a member of the "ND" community, had blended a post they had seen from her on a message board, her Rescue Angel information, and somehow figured out where she worked. This person had contacted the Rescue Angel's employer and told them something to the effect of, "Your employee is a volunteer of this organization, believes and says a lot of scary things about autism [like that it's triggered by vaccines and is treatable], and why is she allowed to say and do these things and work here?" 

This Rescue Angel mom had just been through a meeting with her employer, which I believe was a public school, where she'd had to respond to this anonymous mudsling, and she was understandably very, very upset.

I, too, was irate. The thought that people were trying to impact the livelihoods of our Rescue Angels was incomprehensible, and I felt personally responsible for the plight of this Mom, having created the group that got her into this whole mess.

Knowing that many of our enemies were avid readers of a public message board where we all congregated, I fired off a warning to the person responsible that read:

Dear N.D. folks monitoring this list:

I have no respect for your "movement".

You are now spending your time actively hassling our Rescue Angels. We are spending out time constructively engaging doctors to help our babies. If you don't like what we have to say, stop listening.

We will bring the full resources of myself and Generation Rescue to stop this. We will sue you for libel and we will go after your homes and assets. My lawyers live to investigate and sue people like you.

This will be your only warning.

Sincerely,

JB Handley

*        *

My message is still up there on the EOH message board, it's message #17717 and you can read it for yourself. Now, you may disagree with the message I wrote, you may disagree with its tone, and you may disagree with my reaction to the situation at hand. But, at least you know the circumstances that surrounded the decision I made, and that's what I really want you to know.

I really want you to know and understand what happened and why I wrote the note I wrote because once you do, you can see what a profoundly dishonest and manipulative liar Paul Offit really is.

You see, this post from EOH, or at least an excerpt from it, actually made it in to Paul Offit's book, that book that will remain nameless, but the one we all know the name of. Yup, a piece of my post from EOH, the one where I was trying to tell the person hassling one of our Rescue Angels at work to back the hell off, made Offit's book.

But, you wouldn't know that from what Offit wrote.

You see, Paul Offit has a passage using a portion of this post, but it's used for an entirely different reason. Rather than try to explain, I'm just going to share the passage from the book that will remain nameless, on page 145:

"SEIDEL WAS ALSO APPALED BY THE GEIRS' AND JB HANDLEY'S constant promotion of chelation therapy as a cure for autism. In 2000, only a handful of children were chelated; by 2005, the number had purportedly climbed to more than 10,000 a year. On her Web site, Seidel pleaded with Handley to stop promoting a "therapy" that had never been shown to work and was potentially dangerous. Handley wrote back: "We are spending out time constructively engaging doctors to help our babies. If you don't like what we have to say, stop listening. We will bring the full resources of myself and Generation Rescue to stop this. We will sue you for libel and we will go after your homes and assets. My lawyers live to investigate and sue people like you. This will be your only warning."

Well, I'll be damned.

A post I wrote on a public message board regarding someone hassling our Rescue Angels was now a response to Kathleen Seidel? A response that never actually took place in an exchange that Offit manufactured from thin air? I threatened to sue her for challenging me on the "promotion" of chelation therapy?

I'll be damned again.

So, there it is folks. Offit made up a conversation that never took place and blended something I wrote on a public message board for an entirely different reason to serve his own purpose.

So, I ask you AoA readers, what would you do if you were me?

And, if you happen to be that Mom who was being hassled, please write me privately through AoA, I made need you for a deposition.

J.B. Handley is co-founder of www.generationrescue.org and a contributor to Age of Autism.

Comments

Melanie

I'm shocked but not surprised. JB, I thought your post on EOH was a perfect response to the situation and I appreciate it as a Rescue Angel and as a Mom who is "out there" in the winds of public opinion. Thank you.

Now, go after P.O. with everything you've got. He deserves it.

Willie

JB,

In my humble opinion you should file the legal action against Offit and find out who the ghost writer was that put this together for him, undoubtedly it was probably a blogger and undoubtedly they monitor this site as well. So if you do file the action be prepared for all of these correspondences to show up as well. This will cost you some money as he probably has some big money behind him however you could expose them AND the university he works for as well the last thing a university wants is a loose cannon like Offit who is paid by big pharmacy plagiarizing and then slandering people especially since it is becoming clear to the world everyday that vaccines are a problem. He would be an albatross around their neck and they would get rid of him.

Sylvia

I will gladly contribute to the Paul Offit liable suit fund.

Everytime I think he can't get any lower, he does.

samaxtics

I thought the person who grassed up the teacher was the author of a blog in support of vaccination. From what I remember he didn’t actually have a dog in the fight so to speak; previously he reported on wrestling. But I definitely thought at the time that he, whilst not an ND'er, certainly he came across as a groupie of the ND set. IIRC, the blog went down when the finger got pointed at him and somebody put up a blog with his personal information. (Disclaimer: Due to parent brain and renovation brain, I could be mistaken.)

Ben's Dad

Heck, if it could be done legally, I would put up some money for a friendly community wager with Mr Offit that in 15 years, his wide dismissal of vaccine concerns will be viewed as a mistake by his peers. Would he put his money where his mouth is?

Since he is pledging to donate authors profits to autism research at CHOP, a lawsuit against Offit might be seem as merely cutting into that. I do like the idea of putting pressure on the publisher though. The vindictiveness of the stalker caller account, though not specifically spelled out in the post and omitted in the book, should be highlighted to show how far anti biomed people will go and that the emotional aspect of this discussion is not one sided.

I had not been familiar with the ND folks before this post but having found them now I am beginning to appreciate you concerns.

sign lady

Regarding my previous comment:

Eli Lilly = Reopro
Pfizer = Xalatan
Wyeth = Benefix
Merck = Zolinza

And all of them = Columbia University and therefore Columbia University Press, perpetrator of Offit's lies.

anonymous antivaccinationist

He is definitely part of the ND crowd, and this is why ScienceBlogs hosted a book club blogfest of his book. LBRB, Orac, Kristina Chew - all were guest bloggers reviewing the book, addressing dissent.

The ND crowd is simply part of a bigger picture... bloggers for hire, promoting an agenda, suppressing and ridiculing opposing views under the guise of Science. Never once do they realize that their cult-like behavior is only segregating themselves further into their own deluded conceit. Critical thinking people realize the ramifications of their actions, modern medicine does not. Within those actions lie strongly held beliefs that are in their infancy, and damn the rest of us that might disagree.

I'm an extremely rational individual, and I've tried on occasion to have civil discourse with that crowd, it is impossible.

Amy

The PayPal idea on the GR site for the "Paul Offit Legal Action Fund" is outstanding. Please do this so we parents can contribute in some small way and go after this (expletive of choice) with both barrels blazing!

Kristin

Do everything you can to get this out there--Maybe give Matt Lauer a call. Wouldn't you be great to not only tell our side but show Offit for what he really is. We are all behind you!!!!!

sign lady

Forgive me if this has already been mentioned, but I just came across this Wikipedia entry about Columbia University (with whom Columbia University Press - publisher of Paul Offit's book - is affiliated):

"More than 30 pharmaceutical products based on discoveries and inventions made at Columbia are on the market today. These include Remicade (for arthritis), Reopro (for blood clot complications), Xalatan (for glaucoma), Benefix, Latanoprost (a glaucoma treatment), shoulder prosthesis, homocysteine (testing for cardiovascular disease), and Zolinza (for cancer therapy)[120]."

One can only imagine the Pharma dollars pouring into Columbia - birthplace of the Pulitzer Prize. Nothing is sacred anymore.

(Didn't Amanda Peet graduate from Columbia? I wouldn't be surprised if she got a phone call from her alma mater as well as from her brother-in-law - singing the praises of vaccines.)

Jeanne

My husband has a favorite saying, and I'm not sure who coined it; but...

"No good deed goes unpunished."

J.B., you and Generation Rescue are life savers to so many families and children. Our kids are getting better! You've helped us give them their lives back (and along the way improved our lives as well).

I am proud to be a part of your organization, and support you 100%.

Jeanne, Proud Rescue Angel

WE SHALL OVERCOME

Paul Offit is a remorseless liar and he would use whatever advantage he could get to spin public opinion to his favor. He would have done well in the populist politics of the recent past, he would definitely be on pair with Karl Rove, so he does not fit the profile of a serious scientist. But his demagoguery is dangerous because he is part of the establishment, from where his opinions put thousands of children at risk every day.

An example of his efforts to spin information is his past reference to animal studies on thimerosal, which he said were not applicable to humans. A few weeks ago, however, he publicly supported an animal research study that, in Offit's words, claimed to prove that chelation was bad for rats so it could not be good for humans. That study is at least a year old (I've read it) and it proves that chelation had negative effects but only to those rats that did not have excessive amounts of metals in their systems to begin with. The rats that did have excessive amounts of metals at the beginning had positive outcomes with chelation. Also, the study only involved the use of one chelating agent (DMPS, I think) and not any of the others more widely used agents (DMSA or EDTA). Twisting and hand picking data makes for horrible science, and Offit's efforts at this are so simplistic that they are just pathetic. After all, none of us is a "peer" reviewer but anyone of us can still pick up his failings.

If it serves any consolation, Offit will go down in the medical history books as a vaccine zealot whose continuous campaigning for vaccines at any cost ruined thousands of lives. You can expect that he will forever keep defending his ideas against mounting evidence that proves him wrong.

Years from now, when society slowly wakes up to the failings of mainstream mass vaccination programs, Offit's camp will try to claim they didn't now what was happening and that they were doing their best for the common good. But we will be there to remind everyone about how they tried to undermine the truth because it did not fit their plans, the records are enormous and have been circulated widely by their authors. Paul: we are still here, we are growing in number (thanks to you in part) and we are not going away.

Tomorrow on the battle think on me ...

Teresa

Karen said-

"Gotta wonder if Paul Offit is buddy buds with the neuro-diverse."

Hi Karen,

I was able to get a free copy of the book as the publisher gave out a bunch for free as part of a future blog. I would never have paid a cent to endorse it.

The book is a collection of Offit drama and fiction and the blog was the neurodiverse (and those who claim they are but have a more vocal issue on provaccine agenda--how did the two issues become one?)thus I did not feel it was objective or had a thing to do with the science of why our kids were so sick.

There is NO question that Offit has a relationship with many of the "ND" personas. The dedication of the book makes that very clear:

TO KATHLEEN SEIDEL, CAMILLE CLARK, MICHAEL FITZPATRICK, PETER HOETZ, AND ROY RICHARD GRINKER: SOME OF THE REAL HEROES--AND TRUE PROPHETS--OF THIS STORY

So the thousands of sick, autistic children are screwed again. Paul does not think they deserve to be mentioned in the dedication nor the search for a cure.
I think that sums up what the agenda is.

karenatlanta

Didn't that whole thing started because the teacher posted Special Ed stats for the county she taught in.
The stats were public domain and already on the web for all the world to see. So the ND (if this is the same post) slandered her to employer over information that was already public record.
I agree, do a James Frey.
Gotta wonder if Paul Offit is buddy buds with the neuro-diverse.

sign lady

J.B.,
Put a Paypal button on Generation Rescue that says "Paul Offit Legal Action Fund" with an icon of an open gift box, inside of which is a folded prison uniform. A little gift tag would say "Doc O"

I think it would be a very popular gift; in fact, I'd click on it and contribute for every autism parent on my list.

I agree with Libby that the book should be withdrawn by the publisher. We as consumers should put pressure on the publisher and on the media to expose this lie (among others).

Publisher: Columbia University Press
e-mail: cup_book@columbia.edu

Mail should be sent to:
Columbia University Press
136 S. Broadway
Irvington, NY 10533

I Like Libby's Idea

Oh yes... I like Libby's idea. James Frey was his name... and people sued the publisher and got their money back for the book if I remember correctly... they may not have had to sue, but I know they got their money back if they wanted it.

Push JB! You're MOST EXCELLENT at calling people out on their shiznit!

Angela Warner - Proud to be a Rescue Angel

Libby

Remember the flack that author from Oprah's Book Club got for lying? I think his career is over.

I would contact the publisher immediately and demand the book pulled. I would also contact any media that ran stories about the book (Philadelphia for example) and tell them your story.

Then, sue the pants off him.

Beth

Definitely sue for libel and find out who Offit's ghost writer is and sue that person for libel too!

Man, they're gettin' sloppy, aren't they? I guess that happens in a time of panic with all those pesky parents asking all those doctors all those questions about all those darned shots.

John Stone

Admittedly I have no idea how the law would work out on this one in the US - in the UK it is no more likely to establish the right and wrongs of such an issue than fighting a duel. You watch them as a public entertainment but not to learn the truth.

We need to keep in focus that the reason above all who Offit and his ilk are wrong is that they are incapable of listening. If they were concerned for safety or truth they would listen, and give considered replies. Offit himself considers that he is the target of hatred - and of people who don't listen - but I think above all he is the target of immense frustration, of people who know they are being excluded, and the groundless arrogance behind it.

I don't suppose in this instance that he was aware of eliding details, but it is careless, very careless.

Proud to be a Rescue Angel Karen in Atlanta

Gee, maybe the NIH and Paul Offit should ask themselves why thousands are utilizing chelation therapy.
Could it be... that it works?
My son strung together his first sentence ever with his first dose of DMSA.
Our county school documented he had zero utterances at age 3 entering the school system. (He is in the other room right now singing "A Bicycle Built for Two" at the top of his lungs, as I type!)
His chelation has ALWAYS been supervised by licensed MDs. He has been on an upward trajectory since the first dose.
I think it is criminal to deny metal poisoned children the right to treatment.
Paul Offit is a sham of a doctor.

Go ahead misquote and slam us. At the end of the day, people who see my son say he is such a miracle and question vaccines.
I get the unsolicited phone calls "Should I vaccinate?".
Why do you think that is?
Because I speak from reality and Paul Offit recites Pharmaceutical talking points.
If his assurances are so true, why would parents even question vaccines.
Maybe because they are not living in a gated community playing golf on vaccine patent royalties.
They see the epidemic in schools, churches and anywhere children are today.


Sue M.

What a scumbag (Pr)Offit is ... To have to make up imaginary exchanges with people and make up stories about being "grabbed" by someone is so lame and pathetic. It just shows what a liar he is... Once a liar, always a liar. That pretty much sums it up.

Pamela

J.B.

The more I think about this...If you have a very strong case here, wouldn't winning discredit anything Paul Offit has to say about our community forever.

Winning such a case and getting Offil Paul Proffit out of our way would be a MAJOR VICTORY. Heck, a formal apology and revision by the publisher may be just as effective.

This man will ultimately prove his own worst enemy.

Sorsha Anderson

of course I'd sue him. the publicity would expose the fact that he can't even play it straight to make his arguement. He has to lie, twist words and make up associations where there are none. this is the guy the press lives off of.

Kelli Ann Davis

"I, too, was irate. The thought that people were trying to impact the livelihoods of our Rescue Angels was incomprehensible, and I felt personally responsible for the plight of this Mom, having created the group that got her into this whole mess."

JB:

For the record, I'm *HONORED* to formally be a part "of the group that got her into this whole mess" and I will support you and GR in whatever decision you make in regards to a *slander* lawsuit.

You and Stan are the best and I want to thank you for allowing *me* to put my name next to this trailblazing, awe-inspiring, butt-kicking, movement-making, in-your-face organization!!!

You, my friend are not called the *King of Ruckus* for 'nothin.

Kelli

Ben's Dad

What’s most offensive is what happened to the rescue angel, and I hope that person has recovered from the completely inappropriate harassment they received. The biomed route, in my mind, is very difficult to arrive at and manage, and the angels work in helping other parents is truly that.

Much as I would like to be supportive, I do not think the case is clear enough to escalate into a legal battle and you should probably let it go. The Today show piece had big context errors also such as showing the lots of people in the Green our Vaccines clips but presenting a completely different message. I do not think that putting ourselves on trial to show that we are not the crazies people say we are is going to advance the core messages of environmental harm, vaccine safety and the merits of biomedical care.

Carolyn M.

Do not let him get away with lying. What he wrote in his book is libel. Consult an attorney and, if the attorney agrees that you have a good case, sue him.

Demonstrating to the general public that he has lied in his book is highly desirable, but may be considerably trickier. The publicity could increase sales of his book - people may buy it to find out what the argument is all about - and that is something that we definitely do not want.

Did he libel anyone else in his book? If so, maybe that person (or those people) would consider suing him as well.

Amber

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be a Dr. who develops vaccines, like Offit. To know that I actually caused children to DIE because of a shot that *I* created. HIS pet project, rotateq, caused fatal intusseption of the intestines in a baby that died. That's the only specific case I know of, but I'm sure there are more. What kind of man is okay with this?

Yes, I believe in science, but at a cost of human life? Babies are damaged, maimed, and even killed in the name of public health and no one cares. I'll never understand how this can just go on day after day.

Mark is right, Offit portrays us as the crazy, evil ones, when he himself is, well, a baby killer.

Gatogorra

I also suspect it was Seidel who contacted the employer of the rescue angel. Something about the mealy-mouthed, poor-widdle-me innocent act that Offit portrays Seidel as having over the confrontation-that-never-happened with J.B. sets off the radars. Plus, clearly her alacrity in reading that post in EOH and her obvious alarm at it smacks of guilt. I think this could even be "discoverable", which would make any litigation in this direction even more worthwhile.

Any other lies in Offit's book? Anything Merck's stockholders might need to know about?

Richard

They will lie,cheat,slander and do anything imaginable to protect their sacred vaccine god.It just shows how desperate they are.

anonymous antivaccinationist

I have to agree with a previous poster, that you have a case for libel and the suggestion is a fine one.

People should be careful of what they write. Many times, just like bean counters, they simply play the odds. The odds that the disparaged either hasn't the resources, nor the will to pursue justice.

Those in the opposing camp have just wrongfully assumed the same of you.

nhokkanen

Kathleen Seidel has no compunction about rearranging quotes to serve her nefarious purposes. Her Frankensteinian machinations conveniently serve Paul Offit's defensive needs and are gobbled up without closer examination.

Today another of Offit's lies was delivered into my living room from the pouty mouth of actress Amanda Peet. She stated that polio rates are increasing in countries overseas because fearful citizens vaccinate less.

Strange, I had read from various reliable sources that the cheaper oral polio vaccine was spreading polio via fecal contamination -- shedding from the recently vaccinated. Once again the spectre of poor sanitation rears its shadowy head, while WHO and CDC act in ways that are penny wise but pound foolish.

Maurine Meleck

Hey Jeff, I was at that CDC rally too and on the sidewalk there when he walked by. I neveer saw anyone grab him so if you ever need me, I'd be happy to testify.
Thanks for writing this, JB. I hope you locate that original angel.
maurine

Peter

How's about running an ad in his local newspaper exposing his falsehoods and mentioning his role at the children's hospital?

I mean does anyone want a doctor who lies caring for your child?


Barbie Hines

I am not shocked...not even a tiny bit...how sad is that!

You go, JB! People have sued for less slander...and rightfully so. Thank you for constantly defending our lives...even when it involves experiencing unjustified harassment and public slander...you just keep going for us...beyond a Warrior Dad!

Cathy

I like the Offil pun.
If I were you I would consult a trusted, competent attorney.

Jeff R.

J.B. I made the book to, and offit lied about me.

I am the one that Offit wrote about in his book at the CDC protest in the prison uniform. Yes that was me, Offit wrote in his book: "Just before I emerged from the crowd, a man dressed in a prisoner's uniform
grabbed my jacket and pulled me toward him. I don't think he wanted to hurt me; he was just excited to be close to the personification of such evil. I put my hands up in the air and asked him to please let go of my coat, which he did."

Here is what actually happen, I was there to protest so I decided to wear a prison uniform because I believe that if the truth was known there would be a lot of people like Paul Offit in prison, but I was
also there to do the sound for the press conference. There was a couple of hundred or more of us there & Police was everywhere, we even had a Police helicopter & there was a lot of people going into the
CDC, most of the people, if not all, would walk down the sidewalk on the opposite side of the road that we were on about half way through the protest I realized I had my letterman (a tool that has pliers on
it that I use to set up my sound system) on me, no problem but this tool also has a knife on it, I started to take it back to my truck but figured we were on the sidewalk and it was not against the law.

I looked up the sidewalk and saw Offit coming through the crowd, on our side of the road, he was laughing looking like he was having the time of his life taking his time, reading the signs, my first thought
was, be cool you have your letterman on you, has Offit got closer (which took a while because he was speaking/taunting people on the sidewalk) I was calling his name Offit, Offit, he finally looked at
me, grinning looking me up and down, I was holding my prison uniform with both hands by my shoulders and I said "we got one of these for you" he said "it looks better on you" then he walked on.

I ask does anyone believe I would grab his jacket knowing that there was police everywhere and I knew I had a letterman on me.

I have often wondered what Offit will do after everyone excepts that vaccines can cause autism, will he be able to just be forgotten like all those Dr's that said cigarettes does not cause cancer.

He also says in his book: "Since the late 1990s, many studies have shown that the rates of autism are the same in vaccinated and unvaccinated children." Studies, where are these studies, in fact where is A, study that says this?

At least Paul Offit has a voice to tell his elaborate death threat stories. Which is more than I can say for a generation of kids
poisoned under his watch.

My sons last 6 words at 16 1/2 months was "by-by baby, by-by baby, by-by baby" then nothing, for over two years, then he said car. One year later I ask my wide what she wanted for Christmas, she said to
hear my little boy say, "I Love You", it took about 2 months but she got her wish.

PhillyLisa

J.B., your lawyers live to investigate and sue people like this, and I live to see the Offits of this world brought to their knees. I hope you have a case!

ObjectiveAutismDad

First a question: Do these statements hurt your reputation? I think they do, but that's just me. And it appears to be malicious. So it's clearly arguable that this is slander/libel.

My suggestion: write a letter to Offit and copy his attorney (if you know who that is). Demand that a public retraction be made and that future printings of the book be corrected (hopefully there won't be any of these); if these actions aren't taken in good faith then legal action will be taken.

jennifer

I say sue and show it to the Today Show. You have a right to not have your words twisted for his agenda.

drf

After reading this article I can't help but wonder if Seidel was the ND person monitoring the message board and hassling the rescue angel, and then subsequently told the whole story to her buddy Offit, who then twisted the story in his book to make it look like JB responded to Seidel on her website.

Craig Willoughby

J.B. I would have done the same thing. It sickens how some of the Vaccine-thugs would stoop to such deplorable depths to try to stop us from helping our kids.

Now, as to Pauly prOffit's book....yes, that is libel. I think it is an excellent idea to sue him. You need to hit him where it would hurt him most; mainly his pocket-book.

Mark Blaxill

Obviously, part of Offit's strategy is to paint the more active among us as evil and litigious. From what I understand, there's a similar comment about me in the book, one in which Offit found about the only comment I may ever have made that could even be remotely tied to issues of litigation (I once told a researcher for RFK that "The damage caused by vaccine exposure is massive. It's bigger than asbestos, bigger than tobacco, bigger than anything you've ever seen."; I still think that's right) and twisted that comment to make it the single descriptor of my intent. In my case, he's not lying, but obviously looking to score cheap debating points not to seek the truth.

CJ's Mommy

How ironic would it be, if you were to sue & get a portion of the profits of the book that shall remain unnamed and that it turn could be used to further the therapy and information he's so bent on suppressing...

Tanners Dad

It is the same old story that has used in Human resources to cover everything up... "Divide, Lie, and Deny." If you can document it... contact a lawyer. Maybe some of the profits of the unnamed book can actually go to help hurting injured children through Generation Rescue.

pamela

Whether or not you sue, I think you should take your story to every major press outlet, not necessarily with the goal of having them run the story but to show he is not an honest broker.

In my mind the goal in the press would be making sure every journalist out there knows what Offit is capable of so that they think twice before inviting him to promote his piece of trash book and so that they stop relying on him as some sort of unbiased vaccine advocate.

Maria

That twist lie of a passage was just Offil!

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