20 Aug (AGE OF AUTISM) – Recently, the Director of the Autism Science Foundation, Ms. Alison Singer made malicious and defamatory statements about Dr. Andrew Wakefield on the Autism Science Foundation website. Below, Dr. Wakefield responds to those statements.
Note: At last report, Ms. Singer indicated that she would remove the content from the ASFwebsite until such time as she returned from vacation and had direction from counsel.
August 20, 2013
Dear Ms. Singer,
Re: Malicious defamation of Dr. Andrew Wakefield by the Autism Science Foundation. Without prejudice
I am writing to you in light of false and highly misleading, reckless, and defamatory statements made about me on the website of the Autism Science Foundation of which, according to your website, you are a Director. These statements have been brought to my attention today, August 20, 2013.
The offending statements are to be found at www.autismsciencefoundation.org/autismandvaccines.html. For the purpose of litigation, the relevant pages have been captured.
Specifically, I refer to your lead article that, since it is the first hit to come up when one performs a Google search on “Autism+Vaccines”, is likely to have been heavily promoted to the public by you and/or your sponsors.
I refer to your article “Autism and Vaccines”; subheading “History of the Issue”, paragraph 4. You cite from a hearing in the English Courts, the specific purpose of which was for Mr. Justice Eady to rule on whether or not the Claimants [Andrew Wakefield] should be allowed to stay defamation proceedings against Defendants Brian Deer, Channel 4 Television, and Twenty Twenty Productions.
Justice Eady set out by summarizing the “words complained of” by me – potentially defamatory words that had been made by the Defendants against me. In those “words” he deliberately “confined” himself to “identifying” my meaning. Justice Eady stated:“The words complained of consist of very lengthy extracts set out in the particulars of claim from the television programme. For present purposes, I do not think it necessary to replicate them in this judgment. I shall confine myself to identifying the Claimant’s meanings, which were to the effect that he had:
i) Spread fear that the MMR vaccine might lead to autism, even though he knew that his own laboratory had carried out tests whose results dramatically contradicted his claims in that the measles virus had not been found in a single one of the children concerned in his study and he knew or ought to have known that there was absolutely no basis at all for his belief that the MMR should be broken up into single vaccines.”
(ii) In spreading such fear, acted dishonestly and for mercenary motives in that, although he improperly failed to disclose the fact, he planned a rival vaccine and products (such as a diagnostic kit based on his theory) that could have made his fortune.
(iii) Gravely abused the children under his care by unethically carrying out extensive invasive procedures (on occasions requiring three people to hold a child down), thereby driving nurses to leave and causing his medical colleagues serious concern and unhappiness.
(iv) Improperly and/or dishonestly failed to disclose to his colleagues and to the public at large that his research on autistic children had begun with a contract with solicitors which were trying to sue the manufacturers of the MMR vaccine.
(v) Improperly and/or dishonestly lent his reputation to the International Child Development Resource Centre which promoted to very vulnerable parents expensive products for whose efficacy (as he knew or should have known) there was no scientific evidence”.
In the offending article on your website you have deliberately, recklessly, and I believe maliciously, taken these words and presented them to the public as the conclusions of Justice Eady in relation to my alleged guilt. This is evident on any reading of what you have written. Specifically, you state:
“The following year, on October 28th, 2005, the Honorable Justice David Eady concluded that Wakefield:”
“Spread fear that the MMR vaccine might lead to autism, even though he knew that his own laboratory had carried out tests whose results dramatically contradicted his claims in that the measles virus had not been found in a single one of the children concerned in his study1 … In spreading such fear, [Wakefield] acted dishonestly and for mercenary motives in that, although he improperly failed to disclose the fact, he planned a rival vaccine… that could have made his fortune. [Wakefield] gravely abused the children under his care by unethically carrying out extensive invasive procedures (on occasions requiring three people to hold a child down), thereby driving nurses to leave and causing his medical colleagues serious concern. [And] improperly and/or dishonestly failed to disclose to his colleagues and to the public at large that his research on autistic children had begun with a contract with solicitors which were trying to sue the manufacturers of the MMR vaccine.”
The entire ruling can be read here: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2005/2410.html
In a gross distortion and misrepresentation of Justice Eady’s statement you present his summation of the “words complained of” by me, the Claimant – words used by the Defendants – as those “concluded” by Justice Eady. You deliberately omit crucial elements of Justice Eady’s statement in order to achieve your meaning. In this way your article deliberately leads the reader to conclude that the English High Court has reached these conclusion about me, and my alleged guilt. This is entirely false. As such this is an extraordinary, deliberate, and highly damaging act of defamation against me on your part.
There is a great deal more that is false, misleading, and potentially defamatory on your website that will be dealt with in due course. Suffice to say that if this is how those associated with the Autism Science Foundation misconstrue documented facts for public consumption, then in my opinion your website should be removed altogether.
In the meantime the matters referred to above cannot be allowed to stand a moment longer. Given the prominence of your article on the Internet its effects will have been most damaging to me and to my reputation. Your article should be removed from the website and a correction and an apology, the wording of which should be approved by me prior to posting, put up in its place and given equal prominence on your site. Failure to do so will be taken as further evidence of malice and lead to appropriate legal action. You and your fellow Directors will be held jointly and severally liable.
Andrew J Wakefield MB,BS p.s. please acknowledge receipt of this communication.
1 Emphasis added