It looks like Holly Robinson Peete is picking up where Jenny McCarthy left off. Holly has penned an open letter to Amanda Peet on Essence.com that takes issue with her public statements dismissing any links between vaccinations and autism.
Jenny, whose son Evan was diagnosed with autism (though she says he has now recovered), and Amanda engaged in a very public debate last year on the issue, exchanging barbs in the media.
Now Holly, who sits on the board of the awareness organization Autism Speaks, has taken up the fight. Her eldest son RJ, now 11, was also diagnosed with autism when he was 3 years old, shortly after receiving vaccinations.
“I firmly believe that it took my son to a place of no return and his body could not handle it,” she writes of the vaccinations. “He had a violent reaction with convulsions and then he stopped talking and slipped into a silence. He no longer said, “Hi, Mommy,” he no longer responded to his name and he no longer made eye contact.”
Amanda, mom to 2-year-old daughter Frances, is the spokesperson for the Every Child by 2 vaccination awareness campaign. Last year she stated in an interview with Cookie magazine that parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids are “parasites.” Though she later apologized for her choice of words, she’s held firm to her insistence that there is no link between vaccinations and autism.
“I’m really disappointed to hear people like Amanda Peet—who have never been affected by autism—make public allegations like vaccinations don’t cause autism,” says Holly. “But I know exactly what she is trying to do and that’s to instill fear: if your child doesn’t get vaccinations, you’re going to make every other child sick.”
She adds, “do you think it’s okay to make a judgment about me based on what I know about my son and the rest of my children physiologically? If your mission is to gain the public’s trust, then you’re not going to get parents to do it by fearmongering. Until you’ve experienced the physical, emotional and financial toll you simply can’t make such public statements.”