AMC has killed plans to screen an anti-vaccine group’s paid ads at dozens of theaters over Thanksgiving weekend. The theater giant’s announcement followed a successful protest and online petition started five days ago by Mayo Clinic pediatrician Dr. Robert Jacobson.
After more than 1,000 persons backed Jacobson’s call, an AMC spokesperson left this online message Sunday night: “We are not running the ad now, nor will it run at AMC in the future.”
Dr. Jacobson’s petition read:
As a pediatrician practicing in Minnesota, I am very concerned that the anti-vaccine group “SafeMinds” has purchased paid advertising in many of your theater’s major markets during the Harry Potter showings over Thanksgiving. As a family-oriented business, you should know that your showing a message calling for pregnant women to avoid the vaccine and for parents to avoid vaccinating their children against influenza is irresponsible and unfounded in science, ethics and good business practices.
I urge you to not permit this misinformation. It’s basically shouting “Fire” in a crowded theatre. Remove this anti-vaccine messages from your theaters. Nearly 100 children died last year in the US from influenza. Influenza vaccines are safe and effective in preventing influenza. There are no data to support the SafeMinds’ claims. Please do not add to that number of deaths by airing this wreckless misinformation.
A fringe anti-vaccine website, Age Of Autism, began soliciting donations for the ads on November 10, and reported that celebrity anti-vaccine activist JennyMcCarthy and two others had already donated $1,500 each.
SafeMind’s ill-fated plans called for the 30-second video to be shown at dozens of theaters in Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Atlanta, St. Paul, Chicago and other major markets over the heavily trafficked Thanksgiving weekend. Most, but not all of the theaters are operated by AMC.
It’s unclear whether SafeMinds has actually contracted for the ads, or just assumed that since it had raised funds, the video would be shown. The ad claims, without evidence, that flu vaccines are harmful to pregnant women and babies.
Skepchick has more on the SafeMind ad.
This post by Joseph Albeitz at Science Based Medicine set the record straight on flu vaccines a year ago.
ABC News cluelessly reports “A new video campaign, running with other previews in movie theaters around nine cities nationwide beginning the day after Thanksgiving, will urge viewers — especially pregnant mothers and children — to “demand” your doctor give you a mercury-free flu vaccine this year.”
The story was filed about 10 hours after the AMC announced the videos would not be screened at its theaters.
A spokesperson for Regal Entertainment Group just told me there is no record of a vaccine related ad being booked at any REG theater between now and the end of the year.