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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Antivaxxer Shoves Dr. Pan

In The Politics of Autism, I look at the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism.  TwitterFacebook, and other social media platforms have helped spread this dangerous myth.

Melody Gutierrez at LAT:
An anti-vaccine activist was cited on suspicion of assault by the Sacramento Police Department on Wednesday after he livestreamed a physical confrontation with state Sen. Richard Pan, author of legislation to restrict vaccine exemptions.
Pan, a Democrat from Sacramento, was pushed from behind by Kenneth Austin Bennett, who challenged the senator in the 2018 primary but did not qualify for the general election. Bennett filed a recall petition against Pan this year alleging the senator was committing treason by authoring bills to tighten vaccination requirements in the state.
A video Bennett posted to Facebook shows he confronted Pan near the state Capitol and was livestreaming when he struck him. Afterward, Bennett said on the video that “I probably shouldn’t have done that.” The Sacramento Police Department said Bennett was cited for assault and released. The Times was unable to reach Bennett for comment.
This incident is part of a broader pattern. Antivaxxers often engage in cyber-bullyingThey make death threats. Dr. Pan has long been the target of such threats.