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Andrew Wakefield Responds to Emily Willingham and Forbes

Willingham art

 Ms. Emily Willingham

Forbes Magazine

60 Fifth Avenue,

New York, NY 10011.


Re:       Malicious defamation of Dr. Andrew Wakefield

Without prejudice

Dear Emily Willingham,

            It has been brought to my attention that on or about April 30, 2014, Forbes ran an online article authored by you entitled, “Blame Wakefield For Missed Autism-Gut Connection.” The article can be found online at:


In this letter you made demonstrably false and misleading claims that have the effect of defaming me. Your false and defamatory statements are reckless, stated without due regard to the available evidence, and malicious. Accordingly, pending review by my lawyers, you will be sued for defamation.

            Specifically, your article states, as a matter of fact that:

Wakefield’s MMR/autism/gut red herring and the subsequent noxious cloud that his fraud left over any research examining autism and the gut.

            In making this false and malicious allegation of fraud, you erroneously ascribe the above statement to a “cite” from the authors of an article published in the medical journal Pediatrics when you write:

Well, the Pediatrics review by McElhanon et al. happens to cite that reason several times: Wakefield’s MMR/autism/gut red herring and the subsequent noxious cloud that his fraud… The Pediatrics authors state it unequivocally:

            On any ordinary reading, the intent of your statement is clear: to imply that the authors of the Pediatrics paper cite fraud on my part.  What McElhanon et al actually say is substantially different from your false and defamatory allegation i.e.,

It is clear that greater clinical and research scrutiny is needed to increase awareness on this topic and thus support development of the best standards of care. Previous controversy surrounding the MMR vaccine and proposed causal link between ASD and infection of the GI tract probably deterred investigators from dedicating resources to examine GI functioning in this population while fostering uncertainty in the ASD community regarding the validity of this line of inquiry.[1]

            There has been a substantial amount of inaccurate and misleading reporting regarding me and my work in multiple publications.  Some of the most egregious statements that have been made about me appeared in the British Medical Journal and in publications by Mr. Brian Deer.  As you should be aware, I am suing the British Medical Journal, its editor Dr. Fiona Godlee, and Brian Deer for defamation in state District Court in Travis County, Texas.  The case is Cause No. D-1-GN-12-000003, Dr. Andrew J Wakefield v. The British Medical Journal, et.al.  The case is currently on jurisdictional appeal, a matter that is irrelevant to either the factual merits of the case or to the prosecution of defendants such as you, based, as you are, in the United States.

            The pleadings and other papers on file in that case set forth my position regarding numerous statements made by Brian Deer, Dr. Godlee and the BMJ. I have filed affidavits in that case which support my claim that false and defamatory statements have been made about me.  The documents on file are public records to which you and Forbes have had access for some considerable time. These documents demonstrate that the scientific research conducted by me and published in the Lancet Paper was not fraudulent. It appears that you have failed in the most basic process of due diligence by not availing yourself of this information before making your defamatory statements. Your actions show a reckless disregard for the truth and are clear evidence of malice on your part; pending legal advice, you will be prosecuted accordingly.

            Further, you are advised that there is, in fact, a substantial body of peer reviewed and published work that corroborates the presence of gastrointestinal pathology in a substantial proportion of children with autism. The Lancet Paper was the stimulus for this compelling and important. I suggest that you avail yourself of this body of work in anticipation of legal proceedings against you. The microscopic, cellular, molecular, microbial, and pathophysiological changes that have been reported by independent researchers may prove to be somewhat challenging to your flimsy notion of “anxiety.”   

      You are also advised that I live and work in Austin, Texas where my business is headquartered, and that my work is conducted throughout the US. Your defamatory statements about me will undoubtedly cause me to suffer significant personal and financial damage.

            My lawyers are currently dealing with Deer and his co-defendants. They will be turning their attention to you well within the statute of limitations for filing a case against you and Forbes.

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Andrew J Wakefield MB.BS


Bill Parrish

James Moody Esq.

Dawn Loughborough DAIR





 Bob Moffitt

Jenny Observes:

"It's totally beyond my comprehension why three appeal court judges are taking a year (or perhaps more), to decide whether or not Andrew Wakefield's defamation case against (They haven't got bowel disease)Brian Deer, Fiona Godlee, and the BMJ can go ahead in Texas. This seems a simple procedural matter with several legal precedents. Presumably some 'establishment' delaying tactics are in play here."

As the saying goes ... Justice delayed .. is justice denied.


I am an adult with a diagnosis of ASD. I have many biochemical similarities with the raft of children diagnosed later and one thing is interesting: I had measles as an infant before vaccination. My GI issues were and are very similar to kids now and so are other things such as mitochrondrial disfunction. I heard Dr. Wakefield speak once and he said, "One thing you don't want is to get measles as and infant..." Well, that did happen to me and I wonder if it somehow mimicked the MMR. It is speculation but interesting, I think.


Way to go! I wish you all the best in your fight to get some decent, well researched, and factual reporting pertaining to your case. It is truly unbelievable.

Liz Butterfield

Following you all the way from Australia Dr Wakefield!! I'm in my own legal battles with my sons father who is trying to push for vaccination after 11 years! He has also cited you and your work in his Affidavit material "Wakefield was shown to have falsified data. His science proved to be fraudulent and riddled with conflicts etc" you've heard it all before! He, like most on the hate campaign, has only drawn from information that meets his cause, and has failed to realise that the Supreme Courts have overturned the ruling against your co-authors; and that there is now an abundance of peer reviewed work supporting the link between the gut and autism. Please keep up the great work; you have many supporters and followers globally. Those critical of you are soon to have egg on their faces and justice will reign. There are so many of us fighting on a daily basis to stand for the rights and health of all children; most of us living under great sufferance and distress; not to mention isolation and hostility from people we once called friends. Friends will come and go; but I only get when crack at raising a healthy happy child. Thank you and God Bless; I will continue to eagerly follow your research.


We stand with you, Dr. Wakefield! Heartfelt thanks for all you have done for our community.


We've been standing with Dr. Wakefield now for almost fifteen years. Without his work our son's medical symptoms would not have been addressed and he would not have gone from a child who incurred vaccine injury in one day after being born a healthy child to young man who has is healthier than the majority of his peers. After he regressed due to his injury he was diagnosed with severe autism, however since that time we've been able to remediate most of that injury via a variety of means, but mostly addressing his underlying medical issues.

In two weeks he will be obtaining his first college degree, having made the Dean's List several times, and will be moving toward achieving his next degree in the fall. He still has challenges, but he's the healthiest one in our family currently overall. He would never be where he is without the initial efforts of Dr. Wakefield and Dr. Rimland. These men are heroes to the autism community for one reason....they cared.

Godspeed to the Wakefield family and please know that many of us have been praying for you all and will continue to supported your efforts.

With much appreciation

Louis Conte

Dr. Wakefield:
Thank you for challenging Willingham and Forbes.

I challenge the rest of main stream media to get back into the investigative journalism business. It is time you became the Fourth Estate again and stopped being another branch of advertising for corporate interests.

Louis Conte

Curtis Johnson

Best wishes with your nearly 20 year efforts Dr. Wakefield.

It took the “earth goes around the sun” people nearly 100 years to get their point across. Should be an interesting procedure as you move on to soon direct the CDC.

I don’t know too much about NYC, but I believe Fifth Avenue is in the nicer part of town.

Denise Ferraro

Dr Wakefield, You are a true hero! We can never thank you enough for what you have been through for simply trying to help our children! You and your family are and will continue to be in our prayers. Godspeed!

Lesa Waldh

We met Andy so many, many years ago and several times since then and he will ALWAYS have our family's support. One day, his work will be vindicated. We are Team Wakefield all the way!

Deborah Heather

Is it not strange that Andrew Wakefield talked of the gut connection many years ago and know these people are trying to take the credit

Frank Mulkearns

Copernicus was also scorned, but now he's revered as a giant. The difference is that he was too afraid to publish his work. In Wakefield's case, it was the medical establishment that branded him a heretic. God bless the man.


I'm puzzled that Willingham says the Pediatrics review "disconnects Wakefield from the picture altogether" when one of the papers included in the review, Horvath and Perman, extensively cites a 2000 paper by Wakefield and eight co-authors.

And from the conclusion of Horvath and Perman:

"The gastrointestinal tract, recently referred to as the second brain, has many abnormalities in patients with autism. Further research is necessary to clarify whether the digestive manifestations are a secondary consequence of the CNS dysfunctions or part of the same pathogenetic process involving both organs. From a clinical point of view, we are able to treat most of the gastrointestinal symptoms of children with autism, and these treatments often have beneficial effects on their behavior."

H. Kovac

Thank you, Dr. Wakefield, for continuing to speak the truth! I hope that more and more doctors and researchers will have the integrity that you have and start helping the thousands of families with vaccine-damaged children. If you ever set up at fund for legal fees my family would be happy to donate!

Andrea M Clarke

I would like to add - For those who continue to blindly speak against Dr Wakefield, I suggest they tread lightly, research the facts and be cautiously aware of the ones speaking the loudest are most likely "Manchurian Candidates" for the Vaccine Industry and Special Interests. Step back and think to yourself, who has the most financial risk at stake. As always, following the money trail is one major wake-up call to the side of the head. ~ Respectfully, Andrea M Clarke

Andrea M Clarke

Dear Dr Wakefield, It was your hard work along with Dr Rimland that allowed us to get our daughter's gut health under control. For this alone, our family will be forever grateful. You were not concerned with financial reward, you were and continue to be selflessly focused on the health and well being of our families and children. With immense gratitude, Andrea M Clarke

Not an MD

I will be praying for your successful outcome, Dr. Wakefield, and so will my entire family. May justice finally prevail for you. You are a hero to so many people, Dr. Wakefield, but most of all to vaccine-injured children everywhere.

Please be sure to have your attorneys ask for a very kindly worded, very detailed, and very respectful, big ole' retraction article from Ms. Willingham at Forbes as a condition of your settlement award. I think she truly owes that to you, and to all the people who read Forbes articles.

Katie Wright

So well said!!!

Thank you!!

Becky Estepp

Without you Dr. Wakefield, my son would have never been able to go to public school. Your research lead to us to get him treated for his severe bowel issues in pre-school. He is two years away from finishing High School. With any luck, it looks like he has a good chance of exiting high school with a diploma. There truly are no words to express the gratitude our family has for you. Thank you for replying to Ms. Willingham, her article was egregious.

valerie sampson

I am with you too; I live in Austin, Texas and have believed you from day one! You are amongst of the last truth-tellers. Your sacrifices will not be in vain! Godspeed.

Anne McElroy Dachel

Willingham and others at Forbes regularly spew this journalistic fraud to the public. What is so clear to those of us following autism coverage in the news is that reporters will not tell us the truth. There is no aspect of autism that is honestly and thoroughly reported on. Autism is never a crisis, it's a puzzle. There aren't really more kids with autism, it's just better diagnosing. Autistic kids aren't really disabled, they just have communication problems. Autism is nothing new, Mozart and Einstein probably were autistic too. This total cover-up of what autism is doing to a generation of children has one purpose: TO HIDE THE OBVIOUS CONNECTION TO THE DRAMATIC INCREASE IN THE VACCINE SCHEDULE. That's all that matters. If autism hasn't really increased, then it has nothing to do with all the shots kids get today.

Wakefield's work 16 years ago connecting bowel disease and the MMR has been a constant target. Willingham tries to make the gut-brain connection go away by blaming anxiety.

"That in spite of the fact that anxiety is a key feature of autism and that research suggests that autism and anxiety are indeed linked. And that gut conditions like diarrhea and constipation and gut pain are often related to anxiety."

Five years ago a Mayo Clinic study announced: "No significant associations were found between autism case status and overall incidence of gastrointestinal symptoms or any other gastrointestinal symptom category.

"Conclusion: As constipation and feeding issues/food selectivity often have a behavioral etiology, data suggest that a neurobehavioral rather than a primary organic gastrointestinal etiology may account for the higher incidence of these gastrointestinal symptoms in children with autism."

Others eagerly picked up the story:

The NY Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/28/health/28autism.html?_r=2&

WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/news/20090727/gi-problems-and-autism-no-link-found

NBC Today Show http://www.today.com/id/26184891/vp/32168581#32168581

Everyone seemed to agree, kids with autism only have GI problems because of their bad diets.

Then in 2010, the news was another study. This one said that yes, GI problems are more common in kids with ASD, but it was due to genetics. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090302090222.htm

For years the elephant in the room has been the GI issues that come with autism. Experts have long tried to make them go away because THEY VALIDATE WHAT ANDREW WAKEFIELD WROTE ABOUT IN 1998. It seems that Willingham's job is to use every opportunity she can to attack Wakefield. He can't be right. EVER.

At the top of her column she states, "I write about the science they're selling you."

On that point, she's absolutely right.

Anne Dachel, Media

Jenny Allan

Science is pure. People are corrupt asks:-
"I have always wondered why the initial libel case against the BMJ and Brian Deer didn't also name the media outlets such as CNN that ran the story."

If the Wakefield V BMJ et al defamation case ever gets into a court of law, that CNN Anderson Cooper metaphorical 'lynching' of Dr Wakefield, January 2011, is perfect evidence of the harm Brian Deer's BMJ articles did to Dr Wakefield's reputation in the United States. A few decades earlier and we would have seen a REAL lynching since Dr Wakefield was accused on the programme of murdering children by discouraging MMR measles vaccination. (Dr Wakefield NEVER discouraged vaccinating against measles, but merely suggested a return to single vaccines pending more research.)

The single measles vaccine was in UK use for 20 years prior to the introduction of MMR vaccine. Girls received single rubella jabs at age 11-12. In the UK there have been 2 child measles deaths post MMR vaccine introduction and 4 (admitted) deaths from MMR vaccine.

kathy blanco

We are not going away, EVVAAAAR.

Meadow Davidson

We will continue to stand with you! Thank your for your courageous efforts! We will be praying for justice!

Anne J.

This made my morning! I am so glad to hear that condescending, ignorant, vicious "witch", Emily Willingham, will have to actually answer for all the false information she's been spewing out so freely. I find her so repulsive, whenever I see her name attached to anything, I just skip it. Her total BS is so predictable. It's not worth wasting my valuable time on anything that sorry excuse of a reporter writes.
Doctor Wakefield, you continue to be a true hero to many! Thank you for your huge sacrifice, and for always working for our kids. Our family is so grateful for you, and we look forward to the day your honorable reputation is fully restored. Best of luck and thank you fo all you do!!!

Edward Banks

I support Dr. Wakefield!


The Polito family stands with you, Dr. Wakefield. Thank you for all you and your family have sacrificed for the sake of truth and for the sake of our sick children. We continue to pray for justice to finally be served.


Andrew Wakefield is brilliant and such a compassionate man!

Debbie Voss

You have my heart, Dr Wakefield. I am behind you one hundred and ten percent!


I can think of no other atrocities that specifically targeted children. The vaccine manufacturers went after the market of children. This is by far the most devious corrupt enterprise ever contemplated and carried out by a corporate group. They knew that a certain percentage of children would succumb to the toxins in the vaccines. But they proceeded anyway. Their ever increasing greed has created a deluge of vaccines and the numbers of children harmed are pouring out in a virulent stream.
Thank God for Dr. Wakefield. God help him prevail to stop this madness!


YES! Dr. Wakefield, the Cox family stands behind you 100%. As a Texas resident, I sincerely hope that my native courts determine that Justice outweighs political expediency. Best of luck!


I have read all the legal filings, Andy's rebuttals, the original study and every single scrap of print available to find any shred of evidence that what they accuse Dr. Wakefield of is true. Nothing. I looked hard for it. I EXPECTED it. All of the accusation against him are based on violent massaging of facts and twisting of words. I looked at the associate researchers statements, the parents involved, the lead researchers case (who was cleared of all the identical charges) .....I still couldn't find one single speck of evidence of fraud. Why is it a mom from Florida can make this effort but Forbes can't? It's disgraceful. It took me about two weeks of accumulated time to really dig into the issue. Whatever you have to pay to have someone do what I did might be less expensive than years of legal wrangling. Emily Willingham....why are you so lazy and dishonest?

Emma Flavell

For goodness sake! These mere mortals with no scientific backgrounds always seem to fancy themselves as knowledgeable participants with self indulgent fantasies that prompt them to 'challenge' . I remember in school ( a loose comparison but let's go with it anyway)If you were deemed to be a 'tough kid' there was always some half wit who would see that as a challenge, of course he would end up with a beating now if he had been really smart, he would have got a friend who was a tougher kid to go and challenge the 'tough guy' but sadly, these types of people cannot help themselves and one would feel sorry for them if they weren't so irritating and bitter.

Is there a vaccine protecting us from irritants such as Emily ? If so, rush me a pre filled hypodermic needle filled with the stuff so that I can inoculate .

Emma Flavell

Elsie Russell

The Russell Family stands with you Andy Wakefield! You have changed the lives of so many children for the better, our son being one of them! Because of you...we found Arthur Krigsman, and someone who believed us! We believe in you!!! God bless you for still standing strong! You are so appreciated!!!


I continue to stand with you Dr. Wakefield. No matter how hard the Pharma shills try to hide the truth and scapegoat those brave enough to stand up for our children will change the simple fact that the 1998 case study of 12 sick children signaled a warning bell that, if heard and acted upon, could have very likely saved many, many children from the devastating effects of autism. Thank you Andy. Get out your checkbook Emily.

Cat Jameson

The Jamesons stand with Dr. Wakefield!

Science is pure.  People are corrupt.

I have always wondered why the initial libel case against the BMJ and Brian Deer didn't also name the media outlets such as CNN that ran the story who wouldn't have had jurisdiction to hide behind.

The case against Forbes should mean that there will eventually be a court hearing in which the truth will be told - with emphasis on the 'eventually'.

Jenny Allan

It's totally beyond my comprehension why three appeal court judges are taking a year (or perhaps more), to decide whether or not Andrew Wakefield's defamation case against (They haven't got bowel disease)Brian Deer, Fiona Godlee, and the BMJ can go ahead in Texas. This seems a simple procedural matter with several legal precedents. Presumably some 'establishment' delaying tactics are in play here.

Whether Willingham likes it or not, the 'genie' is well and truly 'out of the bottle' regarding the clear links between autism and bowel disorders. There have been several well respected studies confirming this. Recently, we were told a vaccine has been developed to ameliorate gut symptoms in austistic children, caused, we are told, by certain gut bacteria targeted by the vaccine. At the same time probiotics containing 'friendly' gut bacteria are strongly discouraged within a medical establishment which simply cannot have this argument all ways.

Blaming Dr Wakefield for the lack of research into bowel disorders in autistic children would be laughable in any other circumstances. After what happened to this well qualified and experienced researcher, simply because he dared to suggest a possible link between autism and bowel disease, most other gastroenterologists were deterred from even expressing an opinion, far less doing any relevant research. Dr Wakefield was crucified for, amongst other things, calling for MORE research into child bowel disorders, and YES possible vaccine links which have NEVER been disproven.

Wikipedia describes Willingham as currently blogging for Forbes.com, where she states she writes about "the science they're selling you," which includes the "disproven link between vaccines and autism." Her qualifications include a biology degree and a PhD thesis on turtles. I could not find any psychiatric or clinical qualifications, which could be used to justify her 'anxiety' diagnosis, but in the 'Alice in Wonderland' world of Forbes, lawyers and journalists are deemed to be the 'new' scientists and what they say is published as gospel truth without an iota of proper scientific reporting.

Good for Dr Wakefield, fighting back, against these malicious masters of misinformation. I hope he wins, for everyone's sakes.


Thank you, Andy. You will always have my support.

 Bob Moffitt

"As always, many thanks to you for your steadfast commitment to our children, which we all know has come at great personal cost to you and your family. We need more doctors like you who care to get to the bottom of this autism epidemic, stop it in its tracks, and properly treat and care for those already affected. God bless you and your family, Andy."


Eileen Nicole Simon

“Peer” promoted research on autism has been stalled for the past 60 years at least. Getting this research into the courts may finally help get the “autism puzzle” pieces into place. I have also suggested that actuarial scientists might come up with reasons for the increasing prevalence.

I responded yesterday to Anne Dachel’s review of Willingham’s blog on Forbes. I am on vacation in Europe, and my comment on the Forbes website stalled and never made it. Never mind, all the trolls were blasting away there, and since they have to register their real names, addresses, etc. on Forbes, perhaps they should be included in your law suit.

I will have more to say on the science later. Subacute sclerosing pan encephalitis is something I came across doing research for my doctoral dissertation back in 1975. Measles as well as rubella is very likely responsible for encephalopathies underlying autistic disorder.

Laura Hayes

Go Andy! I will be praying that you win BIG against this malicious woman and the unprofessional, propaganda-spreading magazine for which she writes that allows such false allegations and other rubbish to be published on a regular basis by her.

As always, many thanks to you for your steadfast commitment to our children, which we all know has come at great personal cost to you and your family. We need more doctors like you who care to get to the bottom of this autism epidemic, stop it in its tracks, and properly treat and care for those already affected. God bless you and your family, Andy.

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