Cake, Coffee, and Misinformation: Inside an Anti-Vaxxer Meeting - 2019-05-14
Rocking babies and munching on cake, hundreds of people—many of them members of New York's Orthodox Jewish community—gathered late Monday night at an anti-vaxxers rally in the Atrium, a ballroom in Monsey, about an hour north of New York City.
The event, advertised on WhatsApp and robocalls as a "Vaccines Symposium" and "a night of science, discussion, and truth," featured mainly secular speakers, including anti-vax YouTuber Del Bigtree, "holistic pediatrician" Lawrence Palevsky, and Andrew Wakefield, the disgraced gastroenterologist and author of a now-retracted 1998 study linking the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism.
"Your news anchors and the media outside this building just want to talk about measles," Bigtree told the rapt crowd. "I want to talk about autism. I want to talk about the greatest epidemic of our lifetime." The audience burst into applause.